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Are we biting off more than we can chew? – Patient specific dental enamel modelling.


Department of Mechanical Engineering

About the Project

The enamel on the teeth is the hardest and most highly mineralised substance in the body. It covers the outer layer of each tooth and it is the most visible part of the tooth. Enamel plays a very important role in protecting your teeth from decay. It forms a strong barrier that protects the inner layers of your teeth from the effects of acids and plaque. Enamel also insulates the teeth from potentially painful temperatures and chemicals. Unlike a broken bone that can be repaired by the body, once a tooth chips or breaks, the damage is done forever.
Dental enamel is a complex and highly anisotropic material with heterogeneous micro-structure. With years of use dental enamel experiences various types of loading, from impact-type to fatigue-type loading. In this project we will model the behaviour of dental enamel with respect to its strength, toughness and wear, and thus predict its response due to applied loading in different real life scenarios, bearing in mind patient specific particularities (e.g. existing micro-cracks and micro-imperfections).

Through a multi-scale approach, we will develop patient-specific models which take into account the particular microstructure of the dental enamel, allowing us to access the current state of teeth and, if needed, recommend possible dental treatment to improve the current conditions, and thus eventually, improve the quality of patient’s life.

Funding Notes

1st or 2:1 degree in Engineering, Materials Science, Physics, Chemistry, Applied Mathematics, or other Relevant Discipline.

Previous experience / requirements: Finite element modelling

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