Clinical studies indicate that loosening or fracture of dental implant prostheses occurs in 5% to 45% of cases during the first year. The nature of loosening or displacement of prosthetic components is complex, since it involves cycling fatigue, oral fluids, and varied chewing patterns and loads. A finite element contact analysis method was used to study the load-transfer mechanism between prosthetic components caused by torque application to the threaded fasteners used for assembly. Screw elongation is achieved while allowing for elastic recovery of the screw to produce a clamping force on the fastened elements. Clamping forces were additive along the axis of the prosthetic components. When the gold retaining screw is fastened into the abutment screw, clamping force on the implant is increased at the expense of decreasing the clamping force at the abutment screw-abutment interface by 50%. Maximum tensile stresses in the screws after preload were less than 55% of the yield stress.
Keywords: biomechanics, contact analysis, finite element analysis, implants, prosthetics