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Programme directors

Dr Carolina Loch,  Dental biomaterials and biomechanics

Professor Warwick Duncan,  Oral implantology

Programme staff

Key personnel, postgraduate students and collaborations

Programme overview

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

Dental biomaterials and biomechanics

Led by Dr Carolina Loch (2020 IADR Centennial Emerging Research Leader), our group carries out experimental and observational research in biomaterials. Originally, our research in oral biomechanics had a special focus on prosthodontics (such as failure mechanisms and adhesion of dental restorations and materials). In recent years, it has expanded to include the mechanical behaviour of natural biological materials such as bone, teeth and keratinised materials.

Members of the group also contribute to other areas of research such as forensic science (forensic odontology, wounding and ballistic blood splatter analysis) and intra-oral pressure dynamics. Our achievements in research into dental biomaterials and biological materials, craniofacial biology, and forensic biology have gained international recognition. Our research group has strived for an innovative application of biomaterials and biomechanical analyses to broad research questions in dentistry and oral biology, to elucidate the underlying structure and function of biological materials that can be clinically translated.

BBOI chairside milled zirconia crownWorkflow of a chairside milled zirconia crown (courtesy of Louisa Chiong, BDS 2021 graduate)

Research carried out by this group includes:

  • Development and laboratory testing of new dental materials;
  • Micromechanical testing of dental materials and dental hard tissues;
  • Measurement of occlusal stresses and tooth mobility;
  • Prosthodontic rehabilitation of patients with missing teeth;
  • CAD/CAM and 3D printing for the fabrication of dental appliances and prostheses;
  • Investigation of failure mechanisms and adhesive failures in bi-layered materials;
  • Development of microelectronic tools and devices;
  • Effectiveness of bioactive materials in caries management;
  • Effects of silver diamine fluoride on mineralized tissues, collagen, and biofilms;
  • Structure and evolution of dental hard tissues in fossil and extant species;
  • 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

The Oral Implantology group, led by Professor Warwick Duncan, has expertise in conducting clinical (human) and preclinical (animal) trials and laboratory-based research in oral implants.The main aim is to develop evidence-based treatments that reduce the interval between oral implant placement and loading. This can be achieved by optimising the implant design and the surgical and prosthodontic protocols and materials.

Research is currently being conducted into different oral implant systems, materials, surfaces, superstructures, and surgical and restorative protocols, as well as supporting biological and regenerative products.

BBOI sinus defects modelSinus defects model in sheep (courtesy of Prof Warwick Duncan)

Within the area of oral implantology our research focuses on:

  • Surface treatments of implants for enhanced osseointegration;
  • Novel medications for treatment of peri-implantitis;
  • Effects of titanoplasty on structural integrity of implants;
  • Bone grafts and bone regeneration prior to implant placement;
  • Histomorphometry of implant treatment in small and large animal models;
  • Ultrasonography for early diagnosis of peri-implant disease;
  • Computerised tomographic analysis of peri-implant conditions.

More information

Our Biomechanics, biomaterials and oral implantology programme profile (linked at right) contains more details on our current research projects, collaborations funding highlights and recent publications.

Carolina Loch imageDr Carolina Loch, co-director of our Biomaterials, biomechanics and oral implantology research programme.

Professor Warwick Duncan thumbnailProfessor Warwick Duncan, co-director of our Biomaterials, biomechanics and oral implantology research programme.

BBOI 3D printed implant surgical guideSurface matching colour maps of a 3D printed implant surgical guide on a maxillary reference cast (courtesy of Zaiyou Chen - BDS (Hons) 2021 graduate)

BBOI Bite force transducerBite force transducer in the calibration jig on the Universal Testing Machine (courtesy of Dr Ludwig Jansen van Vuuren)

BBOI polar bear enamel prismsDetailed view of enamel prisms in the Polar bear (courtesy of Dr Carolina Loch)

More information

Biomaterials, biomechanics and oral implantology programme profile
(Extract from 2019-2020 SJWRI Research Report)

Key personnel, postgraduate students and collaborations

Until 2014, the theme of oral biomechanics was led by the late Professor Jules Kieser (1950-2014). A Trust in Professor Kieser's name has been inaugurated as a tribute to his work and contribution.

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