New tooth wear simulation device 

New tooth wear simulation device 
Design illustration by Dimitri Alkarra

The machine is being designed and built at NIOM.



The device is designed with the intention to simulate
tooth wear.

NIOM’s new mechanical masticator performs wear simulation of oral conditions. It mimics attrition in acidic environments, on a variety of different materials: human teeth and dental materials such as resin composite, glass ionomer and porcelain.

“To simplify, we call it the tooth wear machine” NIOM researcher Aida Mulic says.

To produce attrition, the machine simulates a bite with a downwards force typical of an average human, with an impact of about 20 Newton. It then increases the force to 70 Newton as the teeth, or dental material specimens, glide against each other horizontally, mimicking human chewing patterns.

“We can do this with the specimens submerged in acidic liquids to simulate erosive wear, or in artificial saliva, which would be a more clinically relevant situation” Mulic says.

NIOM design

The machine is designed and built at NIOM. Mulic and her research colleagues, Ellen Bruzell and Ida Refsholt Stenhagen, determine the features needed to improve wear test methodology. Engineers Erik Kleven and Dimitri Alkarra then make the construction drawings, build and modify the device.

“We’re fine-tuning it as we speak” Mulic says.

How it all connects

The machine allows researchers to mount specimens of different materials, including teeth, in the moving or fixed holders. This makes it possible to observe the effects of material combinations.

“By combining simulated tooth wear with other methodologies, such as abrasion that mimics tooth brushing, we can investigate how attrition, erosion and abrasion interact. With the new machine, NIOM has the methods to simulate an oral environment. We can see the whole picture” Mulic says.

Researchers at NIOM hope to gain new insight into combined tooth wear influences under various conditions, and its influence on dental material characteristics.