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Electromechanical Impedance Method to Assess the Stability of Dental Implants



In this paper we illustrate the application of the electromechanical impedance (EMI) technique, popular in structural health monitoring, to assess the stability of dental implants. The technique consists of bonding a piezoelectric transducer to the element to be monitored. When subjected to an electric field, the transducer induces low to high frequency structural excitations which, in turn, affect the transducer’s electrical admittance. As the structural vibrations depend on the mechanical impedance of the host structure (in this case the implant secured to the jaw), the measurement of the PZT’s admittance can infer the progress of the osseointegration process. In the study presented in this article we created a 3D finite element model to mimic a transducer bonded to the abutment of a dental implant placed in a host bone site. We simulated the healing that occurs after surgery by changing the Young’s modulus of the bone-implant interface. The results show that as the Young’s modulus of the interface increases, i.e. as the mechanical interlock of the implant within the bone is achieved, the electromechanical characteristic of the transducer changes. The model and the findings of this numerical study may be used in the future to predict and interpret experimental data, and to develop a robust and cost-effective method for the assessment of primary and secondary dental implant stability.


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