BackgroundThe objective of the study was to validate biomechanical characteristics of a 3D-printed, novel-designated fixation plate for treating mandibular angle fracture, and compare it with two commonly used fixation plates by finite element (FE) simulations and experimental testing.MethodsA 3D virtual mandible was created from a patient’s CT images as the master model. A custom-designed plate and two commonly used fixation plates were reconstructed onto the master model for FE simulations. Modeling of angle fracture, simulation of muscles of mastication, and defining of boundary conditions were integrated into the theoretical model. Strain levels during different loading conditions were analyzed using a finite element method (FEM). For mechanical test design, samples of the virtual mandible with angle fracture and the custom-designed fixation plates were printed using selective laser sintering (SLS) and selective laser melting (SLM) printing methods. Experimental data were collected from a testing platform with attached strain gauges to the mandible and the plates at different 10 locations during mechanical tests. Simulation of muscle forces and temporomandibular joint conditions were built into the physical models to improve the accuracy of clinical conditions. The experimental vs the theoretical data collected at the 10 locations were compared, and the correlation coefficient was calculated.ResultsThe results show that use of the novel-designated fixation plate has significant mechanical advantages compared to the two commonly used fixation plates. The results of measured strains at each location show a very high correlation between the physical model and the virtual mandible of their biomechanical behaviors under simulated occlusal loading conditions when treating angle fracture of the mandible.ConclusionsBased on the results from our study, we validate the accuracy of our computational model which allows us to use it for future clinical applications under more sophisticated biomechanical simulations and testing.