Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

An evolutionary compromise for long tooth preservation

24.07.2013
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt have conducted stress analyses on gorilla teeth of differing wear stages.

Their findings show that different features of the occlusal surface antagonize tensile stresses in the tooth to tooth contact during the chewing process. They further show that tooth wear with its loss of dental tissue and the reduction of the occlusal relief decreases tensile stresses in the tooth. Thus, when the condition of the occlusal surface changes, the biomechanical requirements on the existing dental material change as well – an evolutionary compromise for tooth preservation.


Maximal principal stress distribution observed in three gorilla teeth of an unworn (left), a lightly worn (middle) and a worn (right) condition. © MPI f. Evolutionary Anthropology

First, the researchers created 3D digital models of three gorilla lower second molars differing in wear stages. In a second step they applied a Software tool (Occlusal Fingerprint Analyser) developed in the Senckenberg Research Institute to precisely determine tooth to tooth contacts. They then used an engineering approach, finite element analysis (FEA), to evaluate whether some dental traits usually found in hominin and extant great ape molars have important biomechanical implications.

The results show that in unworn and slightly worn molars (with a well-formed occlusal relief that is most effective for processing food) tensile stresses concentrate in the grooves of the occlusal surface. In such a condition, the different crests of a molar carry out important biomechanical functions, for example, by reinforcing the crown against stresses that occur during the chewing process. Due to a loss of tooth tissue and a reduction of the occlusal relief the functionality of these crests diminishes during an individual’s lifetime. However, this reduced functionality of the crests in worn teeth is counterbalanced by an increase in contact areas during tooth to tooth contacts, which ultimately contributes to a dispersion of the forces that affect the occlusal surface.

This suggests that the wear process might have a crucial influence in the evolution and structural adaptation of molars enabling to endure bite forces and to reduce tooth failure throughout the lifetime of an individual. “It seems that we observe an evolutionary compromise for long tooth preservation. Even though worn teeth are not as efficient they still fulfill their task. This would not be the case if they were lost prematurely“, says Stefano Benazzi of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. He adds: “Tooth evolution and dental biomechanics can only be understood, if we further investigate tooth function in respect to the dynamic changes of tooth structures during the lifespan of individuals”.

“The results have strong implications for understanding the functional biomechanics of dental traits, for deciphering the evolutionary trend of our masticatory apparatus and might have important implications in modern dentistry for improving dental treatments”, says Jean-Jacques Hublin, director of the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. [SJ]

Original publication:

Stefano Benazzi, Huynh Nhu Nguyen, Ottmar Kullmer, Jean-Jacques Hublin
Unravelling the functional biomechanics of dental features and tooth wear
PLOS ONE, July 23, 2013, http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069990
Contact:
Dr. Stefano Benazzi
Department of Human Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Phone: +49 341 3550-362
Email: stefano_benazzi@­eva.mpg.de
Dr. Ottmar Kullmer
Department of Palaeoanthropology and Messel Research
Senckenberg Research Institute, Frankfurt/Main
Phone: +49 69 7542-1364
Email: okullmer@­senckenberg.de
Press relations offices:
Sandra Jacob
Press and Public Relations
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Phone: +49 341 3550-122
Fax: +49 341 3550-119
Email: jacob@eva.mpg.de
Regina Bartel
Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Phone: +49 69 7542 1434
Email: regina.bartel@senckenberg.de

Dr. Sören Dürr | Senckenberg
Further information:
http://www.senckenberg.de/presse
http://www.mpg.de/7474328/tooth-preservation?filter_order=L&research_topic

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A novel socio-ecological approach helps identifying suitable wolf habitats
17.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht New, ultra-flexible probes form reliable, scar-free integration with the brain
16.02.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>