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.Methods:
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.Results:
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.Conclusions:
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.