Previous studies suggest the orientation of the incisor teeth to the path of jaw movement pronouncedly affects their efficiency of action. To test this hypothesis, upper and lower incisal portions of a study model with ideal Asian occlusion were mounted on a mechanical tester and impressed into rectangular blocks made of 15.3% w/w starch gels or Cheddar cheese. At varying angulations of attack between the long axis of the teeth (defining the orientation of the tooth crown) and force direction, the teeth were driven into the blocks for 4-6 mm until fractures had grown in the foods. Both the angle of attack and the work divided by fractured area produced in the food, termed 'work to fracture', were measured. The food type (cheese or gel), incisal type (upper or lower pair) and angle of inclination were significant effects on the works to fracture. The minimal work was for angles slightly proclined to the vertical, although only angles of proclination >40° were significantly higher than all other angles. Retroclination or large angles of proclination made little difference to the work done, but produced markedly off-axis cracks. It is suggested that human incisors act most efficiently at small gapes and that orthodontic corrections will thus offer definite functional benefits.
- Food fracture
- Incisal orientation