In-vivo determination of critical force levels using an intraoral electromechanical device to measure nonpathologic tooth mobility

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An electromechanical device was used to experimentally characterize the movement of a single tooth within the periodontal ligament space. The force magnitude leading to the complete compression of the periodontal ligament is considered a critical force and is designated Fc. We investigated the effectiveness of the electromechanical device to repeatedly determine the critical force magnitude Fc.


The study comprised 12 tests conducted on 11 subjects. Alternating labial and lingual forces were applied to a maxillary incisor by the device. The resulting immediate intra-alveolar tooth displacement was recorded in real time. Data processing was used to determine the tooth mobility curve for 193 push-pull cycles. The critical force Fc was mathematically determined for both the labial and lingual displacements of the tooth.


The tooth mobility curve could be characterized for all 12 tests. A total of 386 values of Fc were calculated for the 12 different teeth. Values of Fc for each test ranged from 10.47 to 20.18 g in the lingual direction, and from 12.56 to 21.72 g in the labial direction.


The electromechanical appliance was successful in repeatedly determining Fc in vivo. The ability to experimentally determine the extent of periodontal ligament compression at a given force magnitude could shed new light on the question of an optimal orthodontic force and open new avenues of orthodontic research and treatment.

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