In the present work the structural behaviour of a mandible with a dental implant, considering a unilateral occlusion, is numerically analysed by means of the Finite Element Method (FEM) and the Boundary Element Method (BEM). The mandible, whose CAD model was obtained by computer tomography scans, is considered as completely edentulous and only modelled in the zone surrounding the implant. The material behaviour of bone is assumed as isotropic linear elastic or, alternatively, as orthotropic linear elastic. With reference to the degree of osteo-integration between the implant and the mandibular bone, a partial osteo-integration is considered; consequently a nonlinear contact analysis is performed, with allowance for friction at the interface between implant and bone. A model of a commercial dental implant is digitised by means of optical 3D scanning process and fully reconstructed in all its geometrical features. Special attention is drawn to the mathematical reconstruction of the CAD model in order to facilitate the meshing process in the BEM environment and reduce the geometrical imperfections generated during the CAD to CAE translation process. The results of FEM and BEM analyses in terms of stress distribution on the mandible are compared in order to benchmark the two methodologies against accuracy and pre-processing efforts.
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