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Wear 249 (2002) 980–984 Wear behaviour of human teeth in dry and artificial saliva conditions

Wear 249 (2002) 980–984

Wear 249 (2002) 980–984 Wear behaviour of human teeth in dry and artificial saliva conditions H.

Wear behaviour of human teeth in dry and artificial saliva conditions

H. Li a,b , Z.R. Zhou a,

a Tribology Research Institute, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610031, PR China b College of Stomatology, University of Sichuan, Chengdu, Sichuan 610036, PR China

Received 11 December 2000; received in revised form 12 July 2001; accepted 31 July 2001

Abstract

Wear tests on human teeth, opposing 52100 steel and pure titanium ball, have been carried out in dry and artificial saliva conditions. To better simulate friction of a pair of teeth, small amplitude (500 m) reciprocating sliding wear tests, instead of traditional pin-disc friction tests, have been performed with a modified fretting machine. Friction coefficient, wear depth, wear mechanism have been analysed and compared. Experimental results show that the friction pair composed of pure titanium and natural tooth has a better tribological behaviour. This preliminary investigation should be very useful for clinical applications. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Human teeth; Artificial saliva; Wear behaviour; Pure titanium; 52100 steel

1. Introduction

As a result of physiologic and pathologic function of the oral cavity, wear of teeth texture, one of most important tribological problem in human body, has received much attention in the medical field [1–7]. Wear of teeth, either natural or artificial, is very tiresome but unavoidable. Ex- cessive wear may lead to a lack of perfect contact between opposite teeth, disturbance in the efficiency of the mastica- tory system, and obliteration of chewing surfaces. A great amount of investigations have been performed on the tribological behaviour of dental materials in the last 50 years. However, a traditional pin-disc test rig was used in most works with which masticatory motion cannot be realistically simulated. In recent years, a more complex bit- ing apparatus [5] has been devised to study wear behaviour. However, variation of friction force versus motion ampli- tude could not be recorded as a function of test time. With the lack of kinetics characteristics, it is difficult to study the wear mechanism during testing. In addition, a literature review has shown that most of researchers come from the medical field rather than from tribology. In these studies, wear volume measurement after test has often been empha- sised while wear mechanisms have rarely been taken into account. Therefore, in order to correctly select a friction pair with better matching properties, it is most the important to understand wear behaviour of natural or artificial tooth.

Corresponding author. Tel.: +86-28-7600-715; fax: +86-28-7600-971. E-mail address: zrzhou@home.swjtu.edu.cn (Z.R. Zhou).

2. Experimental materials and methods

To simulate masticatory motion, a reciprocating sliding wear test set-up consisting of a metallic ball opposite to a human tooth as a flat sample with small displacement stroke has been built on a modified, computer-controlled [8], fret- ting test machine. As shown in Fig. 1, a given reciprocating movement was imposed to the ball specimen, which was connected to a piston. The flat specimen was fixed to the machine frame via an adjustable trolley allowing the ap- plication of the normal load (dead weight) by the pulley system. Variation of tangential force versus displacement amplitude is recorded during the test. Samples of human teeth have been taken mainly from children undergoing orthodontics treatment. Such teeth had been freshly extracted and wear-free. To avoid dehydration, the tooth had to be placed in the formalin solution be- fore sample preparation. Under water-cooled condition, the tooth was cut into four parts at the long axis direction. From the cross-section, we found that a layer of enamel with different thickness (<2 mm) covered dentin. The dental specimens were then embedded into steel-made mold with self-setting plastic. The tooth surfaces were exposed after careful mechanical polish. The value of hardness (Hv 50g ) measured from the contact surface varied between 250 and 350, depending strongly upon both individual difference and measured position. Here, it is noted that dentin is not a homogeneous material. Optical microscope examinations have shown that contact position was mainly localised at the dentin surface in spite of a little residual of enamel after mechanical polish.

0043-1648/01/$ – see front matter © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved. PII: S0043-1648(01)00835-3

H. Li, Z.R. Zhou / Wear 249 (2002) 980–984

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H. Li, Z.R. Zhou / Wear 249 (2002) 980–984 981 Fig. 1. Test rig. For the

Fig. 1. Test rig.

For the sake of both ball sample preparation and similar hardness value as dental prosthetic materials (Go–Cr alloy, Ni–Cr alloy, ceramic, etc.), a 52100 steel ball (Hv 50g = 850) was used. Moreover, pure titanium (Hv 50g = 240), which has an excellent biocompatibility, better corrosion resistance and good mechanical properties, was machined as a ball sample. The diameter of both 52100 steel and pure titanium balls was 40 mm. Their main chemical components are listed in Table 1. The choice of the other experimental conditions was based both on clinical experience and previous works. The para- meters were estimated as follows: normal load F n , 20 N; stroke length , 1 mm; frequency f, 2 Hz; number of cycles N, from 1 to 15,000 cycles. Wear tests were performed under dry condition and artifi- cial saliva lubrication in an air-conditioned laboratory. The composition of artificial saliva is indicated in Table 2. All the sample surfaces were cleaned with alcohol be- fore testing. The artificial saliva placed in the container was applied on both specimens prior to putting them into contact. Variation of tangential force versus reciprocating displacement was automatically recorded as a function of cycles. Wear scars were examined by various microscopic methods such as OM, SEM and EDX.

Table 1 Main chemical compositions (wt.%) of materials

3. Results

3.1. Contact between 52100 steel and human living tooth

In dry condition, typical friction logs [8] describing varia- tions of tangential force versus displacement amplitude and number of cycles, and corresponding coefficient of friction calculated from the amplitude extremity are shown in Fig. 2. Microscopic examination shows that degradation of human living tooth can be divided into four stages. Lower tangential force and coefficient of friction are obtained at the early stage (A–B). The coefficient is about 0.3 and remains constant up to 1000 cycles. The tooth struc- ture is slightly pressed. No detached particle is observed except for some slight scratches. Wear marks have shining appearance. In the second stage, some white particles are gradually detached at the two edges of contact accompanied by a rapid increase in coefficient of friction (B–C) from 0.3 to 1.2. More and more particles are detached. The coefficient is not constant but takes a higher value at the final stage (C–D) (between 0.8 and 1.2). Some dental tissue appears brown or gelled due to friction heat at local zone. Particles were continuously detached while some were pressed and broken during friction. An important feature at this stage

 

C

Si

Mn

Ni

Cr

Mo

V

H

P

O

S

N

Fe

Ti

52100

1.00

0.25

0.30

0.20

1.50

0.05

0.15

0.02

0.02

Base

Titanium

0.10

0.15

0.02

0.20

0.05

0.30

Base

Table 2 Composition of artificial saliva

 

NaCl (g)

KCl (g)

CaCl 2 ·2H 2 O (g)

 

NaH 2 PO 4 ·2H 2 O (g)

 

Na 2 S·9H 2 O (g)

Urea (g)

Distilled water (ml)

0.4

0.4

0.795

0.78

0.005

1

1000

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H. Li, Z.R. Zhou / Wear 249 (2002) 980–984

982 H. Li, Z.R. Zhou / Wear 249 (2002) 980–984 Fig. 2. Variation of coefficient of

Fig. 2. Variation of coefficient of friction as a function of number of cycles in dry condition, ball/52100 steel, = 500 m, F n = 20 N.

is that some dental tissue are burnt and carbonised. Some local black area with black debris is observed under optical microscope. In addition, some red oxidised debris detached from the 52100 steel surface is obtained. The coefficient of friction slightly diminished (D–E) owing to the accommo- dation of the important third body [9]. SEM analysis shows cracks on the surface of natural tooth (Fig. 3), as well as detached “platelets” particles. In addi- tion, EDX examinations on the surface of tooth indicate that the base is composed of Ca, P, C, O elements (Fig. 4a), while additional Fe element and more O element (Fig. 4b) is obtained within the debris due to material transfer from the opposite specimen and further oxidation. To simulate mouth environment, wear tests have been performed under artificial saliva condition. The other ex- perimental parameters were the same as above. A repre- sentative variation of the coefficient of friction is shown in Fig. 5. Compared to that in dry condition, some differences in wear behaviour in artificial saliva condition are observed as follows.

1. The coefficient of friction is slightly lower (0.2) due to lubrication effect at the early stage, but a period with lower coefficient is shorter in artificial saliva conditions. In addition, the coefficient varies between 0.9 and 1.1 after 100 cycles, and appears to be more stable.

0.9 and 1.1 after 100 cycles, and appears to be more stable. Fig. 3. SEM examination

Fig. 3. SEM examination on the dentin surface.

more stable. Fig. 3. SEM examination on the dentin surface. Fig. 4. EDX examination on the

Fig. 4. EDX examination on the (a) dentin surface and (b) worn dentin surface.

2. After test, dental tissue is less burnt and carbonised. This means that artificial saliva plays a role, not only of a lubricant, like water, but also as a coolant.

3. Profile measurement shows that the depth of the wear mark and its area are much smaller, as shown in Fig. 6.

3.2. Contact between pure titanium and human living tooth

Wear tests have been carried out on human living tooth opposite to pure titanium. The other experimental para- meters were the same as the above. Fig. 7 shows the variation of coefficient of friction in dry and saliva conditions. The

coefficient of friction in dry and saliva conditions. The Fig. 5. Variation of coefficient of friction

Fig. 5. Variation of coefficient of friction as a function of number of cycles under artificial saliva condition, ball/52100 steel, = 500 m, F n = 20 N.

H. Li, Z.R. Zhou / Wear 249 (2002) 980–984

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H. Li, Z.R. Zhou / Wear 249 (2002) 980–984 983 Fig. 6. Profile measurement on the

Fig. 6. Profile measurement on the wear mark: (a) saliva condition and

(b) dry condition.

the wear mark: (a) saliva condition and (b) dry condition. Fig. 7. Variation of coefficient of

Fig. 7. Variation of coefficient of friction as a function of number of cycles, ball/pure titanium, = 500 m, F n = 20 N.

friction coefficient is about 0.1 before 100 cycles, increases smoothly between 100 and 200 cycles, and then remains at 0.52 in the saliva condition. However, in dry condition, a big variation of that coefficient is observed between 10 and 500 cycles, and then it remains almost constant. Microscopic examination shows that some titanium and dentin particles are observed at the tooth contact surface. However, neither burning nor carbonising of teeth texture is observed either in dry or saliva condition after 0.5 × 10 4 cycles. Profile measurements show that wear depth is much smaller in saliva condition than in dry condition (Fig. 8).

smaller in saliva condition than in dry condition (Fig. 8). Fig. 8. Profile measurement on the

Fig. 8. Profile measurement on the wear mark: (a) saliva condition and

(b) dry condition.

4. Discussion

As indicated above, dentin is not homogeneous. In addi- tion, mechanical properties of dentin depend strongly upon individual differences (e.g. age, sex, physical condition) and contact zone. Therefore, not only a great difference in hardness is observed, but also their tribological behaviour is quite different. For instances, for either friction pair in dry or saliva condition, the number of cycles with lower coefficient of friction at the early wear stage is very disper- sive. It may vary from 10 to 1000 cycles. Moreover, wear depth or volume is difficult to compare if same tooth of a same patient is not used. The brunt appearance of the tooth surfaces observed in the dry testing was mainly resulted from higher friction heat at local contact zone. Such phenomenon is extremely unlikely to be reproduced in vivo owing to natural saliva lubrication. Due to mechanical polish for the preparation of sample contact surface, the enamel was often removed and wear re- ally occurred at the dentin. To simulate wear of enamel, more careful experimental method and analysis need to be done.

5. Clinical significance

Both dentists and patients wish to have restorations sim- ilar to the natural teeth, from the viewpoint of aesthetics and mechanical properties. Above results, obtained from in vitro investigation may help clinician understand the wear behaviour of the human teeth and choose appropriate dental restorative materials. The mechanical properties are closely associated with individual differences. However, after natural evolution of long time, the natural teeth have better tribological prop- erties with lower coefficient of friction at the early stage. Therefore, texture of natural teeth should be kept as much as possible during dental treatment and restoration. One of the effects of the saliva is lubrication. Natural teeth are effectively protected owing to saliva lubrication during masticatory motion. This is why that rapid wear at the teeth surface will occur in the absence of saliva, such as xerostomia, saliva gland tumour and irradiation therapy. Except for a natural tooth opposite to natural tooth, the other two types of friction pairs are often obtained: natural tooth/artificial tooth and artificial tooth/artificial tooth. For these last two cases, the right choice of friction pair is very important. For example, an artificial tooth made of a hard restorative material can result in severe wear for the natural tooth. On the contrary, the natural tooth can also lead to a rapid wear of artificial tooth with a lower hardness.

6. Conclusion

An in vitro investigation on wear behaviour of human teeth has been carried out. As indicated in the discussion,

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H. Li, Z.R. Zhou / Wear 249 (2002) 980–984

even though much remains to be done, some general features have been found from this preliminary study.

1. The coefficient of friction is lower at the early wear stage, but the duration of that stage depends upon many factors such as individual differences.

2. The artificial saliva can play both a cooling and lubricant effect during wear process. Risk of burn of tooth texture may be greatly reduced under artificial saliva condition.

3. Pure titanium and human living tooth contact pair has a better tribological behaviour than 52100 steel and human teeth contact pair. In the case of the former friction pair, coefficient of friction in the early wear stage is lower, with less burning risk at the subsequent stage.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No: 59725513) for their support to this research.

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