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Biomechanics, biomaterials and oral implantology

Programme directors:

Dr Carolina Loch Santos Da Silva (Dental biomaterials and biomechanics)
Professor Warwick Duncan (Oral implantology)

Deputy programme director: 

Professor Neil Waddell  

Key personnel, postgraduate students and collaborations


Our work has three main areas of focus, namely dental biomaterials, biomechanics and oral implantology.

Dental biomaterials and biomechanics

Led by Dr Carolina Loch (IADR Centennial Emerging Research Leader 2020), our group carries out experimental and observational research in biomaterials. Traditionally, our research in oral biomechanics has had a special focus on prosthodontics (failure mechanisms and adhesion of dental restorations and materials), and in recent years it has included the mechanical behaviour of biological materials such as bone, teeth and keratinised materials. Members of the group also contribute to other areas of research such as forensic science (in vitro modelling of blunt force trauma, forensic odontology, wounding and ballistic blood splatter analysis) and intra-oral pressure dynamics. Our achievements in research into artificial saliva, dental hard tissue structure and evolution, intra-oral pressures during swallowing, craniofacial biology, paediatric dentistry and also forensic biology have gained international recognition. Our research group has strived for an innovative application of biomaterials and biomechanical analyses to research questions in dentistry and forensic biology, to elucidate the underlying structure and function of biological materials that can be clinically translated.

Research carried out by this group includes:

  • Dental materials – development of new dental restorative materials for dental CAD/CAM systems.
  • The use of 3D printing in the fabrication of dental appliances and prostheses.
  • Craniofacial biomechanics - prosthodontic failure mechanisms and adhesion of dental restorations and materials.
  • Sub-concussive brain injury research – in vitro modelling of the effects of blunt force trauma to the head on accumulative damage to the brain.
  • Dental hard tissue structure and evolutionary oral biology – using animal teeth to gather a wide range of information about the biology, evolution and interactions with the environment of fossil and recent species.
  • Forensic biology – in vitro modelling of blunt force trauma, forensic odontology, wounding and ballistic blood splatter analysis, development of simulant materials for forensic modelling.

Implantology and associated superstructures

Our Oral Implantology group, led by Professor Warwick Duncan, have expertise in conducting clinical (human) and preclinical (animal) trials and laboratory-based research relating to oral implants.

The aim of this research is to develop evidence-based treatments that reduce the interval between oral implant placement and loading. This is achieved by optimising the implant design and the surgical and prosthodontic protocols and materials. Research is being conducted into different oral implant systems, materials, surfaces, superstructures, and surgical and restorative protocols, as well as supporting biological and regenerative products.

Graduate student research includes immediate placement and/or loading of single implants and implant-supported over-dentures, fit of zirconia prostheses, implant analysis using micro-CT, and analysis of different implant systems and bone placement grafts in sheep femur and maxillary sinus models.

Within the area of oral implantology our research focuses on:

  • Grafting and regenerative therapies.
  • Surface treatments of implant fixtures for enhanced osseointegration.
  • The effects of implant fixture corrosion products on periodontal structures.
  • Developing ultrasonic diagnostic devices for dentistry.
  • Silver and gold nanomaterial technology - developing nanoparticles for use in a range of therapeutic technologies.
  • In vitro modelling of masticatory forces on implant overdentures, their supporting sub-structures and surrounding bone.

More information

Our Biomechanics, biomaterials and oral implantology programme profile (PDF extract from 2017-18 SJWRI Research Report, 2.7 Mb) contains more details on our current research projects, collaborations funding highlights and recent publications.