Design and wear testing of a temporomandibular joint prosthesis articulation

J.-P. van Loon*, G.J. Verkerke, M.P. de Vries, L.G.M. de Bont

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


As part of the development of a total temporomandibular joint prosthesis, a prosthesis articulation was designed. The articulation consists of a spherical head (ball) of the mandibular part, rotating against an enveloping ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) disc with a flat cranial side, which slides along the opposing skull part. The aim of this study was to determine the in vitro wear rate of the articulation, and to predict the in vivo wear rate from the results. Based on a disc thickness of 5 mm and a ball diameter of 8 mm, the stresses within the disc were calculated by means of a finite element computer model. The wear rate of the ball-disc articulation was determined by in vitro wear tests, with a stainless-steel ball rotating against a UHMWPE disc in a serum-based lubricant. Eight discs were tested for seven million cycles each. The in vitro wear rate of the disc-skull part articulation was calculated from the test results of the ball-disc articulation. The maximum Von Mises' stress was less than the yield strength of UHMWPE and, therefore, was sufficiently low. The in vitro wear rate of the ball-disc articulation was 0.47 mm3 per million cycles. The in vivo expected total wear rate is 0.65 mm3 per year, corresponding with a yearly decrease of disc thickness of 0.0094 mm. Although it is difficult to judge whether this wear rate is sufficiently low, because the influence of UHMWPE wear particles in the TMJ region is unknown, both the expected wear rate and the decrease of thickness appear to be acceptable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-721
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes

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