Finite Element Analysis
The biomechanical performance of a dental restoration is determined by its response to the imposed strains and stresses. The distribution and magnitude of these strains and stresses depend on a combination of factors: loading and attachment, material and tissue properties, geometrical and anatomical features, and history. The finite element technique is used to integrate the interaction between these factors so that stress and strain patterns can be analyzed for complex clinical processes. Examples of processes studied are: residual stress development during polymerization of restorative composites or during endodontic treatment, crack propagation during fracture or fatigue, and bone remodeling around implants.
When combined with modern shape optimization techniques, the method can be used to design longer lasting restorations by more evenly distributing the stresses over their volume as well as their interfaces with the surrounding tissues.