Mechanical static traction has been adopted as one of the treatment procedures for joint diseases and fractures. The effect of mechanical vibration on the mechanical traction of the temporomandibular joint was studied in six human subjects. A mechanical traction force of 2000 gf was applied as a dynamic traction force with mechanical vibration or as a static traction force. The dynamic traction force with vibration was applied for 5 min to the right temporomandibular joint using a vibrating-traction apparatus which generated mechanical vibrations of 1000, 3000 or 4000 Hz. Application of a static traction force for 5 min was used as a control condition. Vertical condylar displacement was mathematically evaluated from the deviation of the mandible using Eddy current displacement sensors which were attached to the maxillary dental arch. Among the three vibration frequencies, 3000 Hz resulted in the maximum vertical condylar displacement for all six subjects, showing the mean condylar displacement of 668 + 242 μm. In contrast, vibrations of 1000 and 4000 Hz showed a smaller traction effect. Application of the static traction force for 5 min resulted in a mean vertical condylar displacement of 5.7 ± 4.9 μm, showing almost no traction effect to the joint. From the results of this study, it was revealed that vibrating traction could distract a joint more effectively than could static traction and that the traction force necessary for effective vibrating traction was less than that for static traction.
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