Author(s): Walilko T, Bir C, Godwin W, King A
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Abstract A test system was developed establishing the feasibility of collecting biomechanical data as they relate to the use of mouthguards. Previous experimental studies have examined the physical and mechanical properties of mouthguard materials. This information has been used as a guide for establishing material standards and specifications for the fabrication of mouthguards, but it lacks the key biomechanical parameters required for a thorough mouthguard evaluation. The current study was designed to assess whether the impact force, condylar deflection, and strain superior to the temporomandibular joint region could be measured. A drop test was conducted on a cadaveric specimen to simulate loading at the chin point. To measure the force of impact, an accelerometer was attached to an impactor of known mass. High-speed biplanar (1000 frames per second) radiographs were used to determine condylar displacement. Radio-opaque markers were inserted into the bone at predetermined locations. Total displacement of these markers was determined in reference to anatomical landmarks. Strain gauges were attached to the mandible and skull to monitor the effects of the condyle impacting the base of the skull. Based on the data collected, forces were calculated by determining the product of the time-based acceleration and known mass. A measurable change in force between the mouthguards and the control (no mouthguard) was demonstrated. The average condylar displacement was successfully measured and indicated as an increase in total deflection for impacts conducted with mouthguards. Quantifiable strain was measured in the region above the mandibular fossa with and without the insertion of a mouthguard at all impact conditions. However, it was determined that additional gauges would provide critical data. Key biomechanical parameters for chin-point impacts were determined in the current study. The technique demonstrated that both displacement within the mandibular fossa and loading of the condyles occur during the impact event. Although the current study established a technique that can be used to examine the relationship between mouthguards and jaw-joint injuries, the role, if any, mouthguards play in the reduction of injuries cannot be established until a thorough analysis is completed.
This article was published in Dent Traumatol
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies