Strengthening of a model composite restoration using shape optimization: A numerical and experimental study

H. Li, X. Yun, J. Li, L. Shi, A. S. Fok, M. J. Madden, J. F. Labuz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: This study aims to validate a cavity shape optimization approach for improving the debonding resistance of dental restorations by carrying out fracture tests on restored model teeth with standard and optimized cavity designs. Method: The bio-mimetic stress-induced material transformation (SMT) optimization method was incorporated into the finite element (FE) program ABAQUS as a user material (UMAT) subroutine. The method uses stress minimization to optimize the cavity shape of a MOD restoration in an artificial premolar with special reference to the tooth-restoration interface under occlusal loads. The mechanical performance of the optimized design was first verified through FE analysis and then compared with that of the conventional design using fracture tests on model teeth. Results: The SMT optimization process indicated a T-shape cavity as a more favorable design for the MOD restoration in the artificial premolar. Compared with the conventional parallel wall, or undercut design, the T-shape cavity was shown numerically to reduce the interfacial stresses by up to 69%, and experimentally to increase the mean debonding resistance of the model teeth by 23% (p < 0.05). Significance: Cavity shape optimization can help increase the debonding resistance of restored teeth by reducing the interfacial stresses between tooth and restoration under occlusal loads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-134
Number of pages9
JournalDental Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Grant-in-Aid program of the University of Minnesota . The authors would like to acknowledge the Minnesota Dental Research Center for Biomaterials and Biomechanics (MDRCBB) for providing the testing devices and the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) for providing the computing services for this study.


  • Cavity shape
  • Debonding resistance
  • Dental restoration
  • Finite element method
  • Shape optimization


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