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Page last updated at 10:06 GMT, Friday, 24 September 2010 11:06 UK
Hull scientists get their teeth into denture research
Hull University scientists
Dr Neil Curtis (L) with research team leader Professor Mike Fagan

Hull University scientists are carrying out research into why people with dentures and dental implants do not injure themselves when they eat.

Teeth have nerve endings and ligaments that allow feedback on bite pressure.

Denture and implant wearers do not have this, and so it is a mystery as to how they can bite correctly without injury.

The research team is studying a lizard-like animal from New Zealand called the Tuatara.

The reptile's teeth are fused directly into its jaw-bone; in a similar way to denture and implant users.

After months of research, the scientists now believe that there is an additional feedback mechanism in the joint of the jaw-bone. This gauges the force of the bite.

Dr Neil Curtis is a researcher with the team. He said the findings will have practical uses:

"This would allow us to design better dental implants, and in particular, the way they are fixed to the jaw could be improved if we understand this feedback mechanism."

The team of scientists plan to expand their skull studies into other areas of medical research.

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