Chapter 13. Design Strategies of Human Teeth: Biomechanical Adaptations

  1. Prof. Dr. Edmund Bäuerlein
  1. Paul Zaslansky and
  2. Steve Weiner

Published Online: 20 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9783527619443.ch57

Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation

Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation

How to Cite

Zaslansky, P. and Weiner, S. (2007) Design Strategies of Human Teeth: Biomechanical Adaptations, in Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation (ed E. Bäuerlein), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, Weinheim, Germany. doi: 10.1002/9783527619443.ch57

Editor Information

  1. Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, Department of Membrane Biochemistry, Am Klopferspitz 18 A, 82152 Planegg, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 MAR 2008
  2. Published Print: 25 MAY 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527316410

Online ISBN: 9783527619443

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Keywords:

  • human tooth function;
  • whole-crown deformation;
  • enamel cap;
  • dentino-enamel junction (DEJ) interphase

Summary

Human teeth are exquisitely designed to fulfill their essential functions in mastication. They are composed of complex hierarchical and graded structures that function together in an integrative manner. Although tooth materials, specifically enamel and dentin, have been well investigated, surprisingly little is known about the details of how whole teeth function mechanically when compressive loads are applied. Studies using strain gauges, photoelasticity and simulation methods show that the enamel cap acts as a stiff, but deformable, body. More comprehensive mapping of the crowns of human premolars by electronic speckle pattern-correlation interferometry (ESPI) confirm these observations and highlight details of the design strategies of the enamel cap. The crown not only deforms but also rotates under load. Much of the load is transferred onto a crucial interphase in dentin just below the dentino-enamel junction. This relatively soft zone compresses asymmetrically when loaded. The root also has asymmetric mechanical properties, that presumably reflect the manner in which it functions under stress. Many key questions remain to be addressed before a more complete understanding of the design strategies of whole teeth is obtained.