The purpose of this study was to analyze the displacement and the magnitude and the mode of distribution of the stresses in the lower overdenture, the mucous membrane, the abutment tooth and the mandibular supporting bone when various denture base materials, such as acrylic resin and 0.5mm metal base, and various denture base designs were subjected to different loading schemes. For this study, the two-dimensional finite element method was used. Mandibular arch models, with only canine remaining, were fabricated. In the first denture base design, a space, approximately 1mm thick, was prepared between the denture and the dome abutment. In the second denture base design, contact between the denture and the dome abutment was eliminated except the contact of the occlusal third of the abutment. In order to represent the same physiological condition as the fixed areas of the mandible under loading schemes, the eight nodes which lie at the mandibular angle region, the coronoid process and the mandibular condyle were assumed to be fixed. Each model was loaded with a magnitude of 10 kgs on the first molar region(P1) and 7 kgs on the central incisal region (P2) in a vertical direction. Then the force of 10 kgs was applied distributively from the first premolar to the second molar of each model in a vertical direction(P3). The results were as follows. : 1. When the testing vertical loads were given to the selected points of the overdenture, the overdenture showed the rotatory phenomenon, as well as sinking and the displacements of alveolar ridge, abutment and lower border of mandible under the metal base overdenture were less than those under the acrylic resin overdenture. 2. The maximum principal stresses(the maximum tensile stresses) being considered, high tensile stresses occured at the buccal shelf area, the posterior region of the ridge crest and the anterior border region of the mandibular ramus. 3. The minimum principal stresses(the maximum compressive stresses) being considered, high compressive stresses occured at the inferior and posterior border region of the mandible, the mandibular angle and the posterior border region of the mandibular ramus. 4. The vertical load on the central incisal region(P2) produced higher equivalent stress in the mandible than that on any other region(P1, P3) because of the long lever arm distance from the fixed points to the loading point. 5. Higher equivalent stresses were distributed throughout the metal base overdenture than the resin base overdenture under the same loading condition. 6. The case of occlusal third contact of the abutment to the denture produced higher equivalent stresses in the abutment, the mandibular area around the abutment and the overdenture than the case of a 1mm space between the denture and the abutment. 7. Without regard to overdenture base materials and designs, the amounts and distribution patterns of equivalent stresses under the same loading condition were similar in the mucous membrane.
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