Digital articulation provides a possibility of overcoming the limitations of mechanical models. With the help of electronic measuring systems such as the Jaw Motion Analyzer, masticatory movements can be traced even while force is applied and the movement patterns can be displayed in a digital articulator. Thus, real chewing movements can be assessed, which could be of advantage in the future for the computer-assisted creation of restorations that will be more and more customized. New approaches for visualization will be possible that will not only enable the display of the contact points, but also deliver extensive data on the occlusal space during closing movements or the changes of the interocclusal distance in function.The occlusal surfaces of the mandibular and maxillary dental arches were digitalized using a 3D scanner, and real mandibular movements were recorded with the ultrasonic measuring system Jaw Motion Analyzer. A coupling component designed for clinical use in the patients mouth was utilized for precise referencing of the movement and scan data. The aim was to visualize the jaws during mastication. To analyze intercuspation, the system generates dynamic images, on which closing movements/dynamic occlusion and contact areas are highlighted. The mandibular motion could also be used to create an envelope surface to reproduce the maximum possible spatial expansion of the mandibular motion tracings. Such an envelope surface is a type of virtual functionally generated path (FGP) bite registration. It can be applied to design virtual occlusal surfaces and it enables the ability to quantify the occlusal space firmly, while considering the variability of occlusal function. Early results will be presented and illustrated with a case study.
Keywords: digital dental articulator, dynamic occlusion, functional bite registration, functionally generated path, jaw motion, occlusal contacts, occlusion, variability, virtual FGP, virtual occlusion