Visualization of the dynamic occlusion is one of the central tasks in both clinical dentistry and dental engineering. Many aspects of dynamic occlusion, such as the interocclusal function in the posterior region, cannot be seen directly clinically and at best can be recorded with contact paper. Therefore, analyses of the dynamic occlusion using mounted models in the articulator are unavoidable in many cases for reproduction of dynamic occlusion. However, the reproduction of dynamic occlusion in the mechanical articulator has clear restrictions inherent to the process, but also caused by biological variability. Virtual articulators can expediently supplement mechanical articulators, since with them it is possible to display in relation to time unusual and extraordinary perspectives, such as sectional images and flowing, sliding contact points. One of the latest developments in the field of virtual articulation is the 3D virtual articulation system module of the Zebris company, D-Isny. By means of a specially developed coupling tray, 3D-scanned rows of teeth can be matched with computerized motion recordings of mandibular function. The software displays the movements of the 3D-scanned rows of teeth not only with jaw motion but also with chewing motion – therefore movements under chewing pressure – in real time and facilitates special analytical methods transcending mechanical occlusion analysis in conventional articulators: This includes displays of the strength of the contact points and surfaces, the occurrence of the contact points in relation to time, sectional images of the dentition, analyses of the interocclusal gap in the occlusal region, etc. This software and its possibilities are described and explained by reference to individual cases.
Keywords: virtual articulator, virtual occlusion, dynamic occlusion, occlusal contacts, occlusion