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Open Access Research article

Periodontal biomechanics: finite element simulations of closing stroke and power stroke in equine cheek teeth

Vanessa Cordes13*, Matthias Lüpke2, Moritz Gardemin2, Hermann Seifert2 and Carsten Staszyk13

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Anatomy, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Bischofsholer Damm 15, Hannover, D-30173, Germany

2 Institute for General Radiology and Medical Physics, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Bischofsholer Damm 15, Hannover, D-30173, Germany

3 Department of Veterinary-Anatomy, -Histology and -Embryology, Faculty for Veterinary Medicine, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Frankfurter Str. 98, Hannover, Giessen, D-35392, Germany

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BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:60  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-60

Published: 20 May 2012



In equine dentistry periodontal diseases, especially periapical inflammation, are frequently occurring problems. Anachoresis is believed to be the most common cause for the development of such disorders. Nevertheless, there is still no substantiated explanation why settlement of pathogen microorganisms occurs in equine periodontal tissues. It is expected that excessive strains and stresses occurring in the periodontal ligament (PDL) during the horse’s chewing cycle might be a predisposing factor. In this study this assumption was examined by finite element (FE) analyses on virtual 3-D models of equine maxillary and mandibular cheek teeth, established on the basis of μCT datasets. Calculations were conducted both under conditions of closing and power stroke.


Results showed a uniform distribution of low stresses and strain energy density (SED) during closing stroke, whereas during power stroke an occurrence of high stresses and SED could be observed in the PDL near the alveolar crest and in periapical regions.


The concentration of forces during power stroke in these specific areas of the PDL may cause local tissue necrosis and inflammation and thus establish a suitable environment for the settlement of microorganisms.

Finite element analysis; Horse; Periodontal ligament; Tooth; Chewing cycle; Periodontal disease; Periapical infection