CAD/CAM methods are also being used ever more frequently to produce fully anatomical restorations. These automated, computer-assisted methods play an outstanding role in generating occlusal surfaces. This study examines whether such computer generated occlusal surfaces are comparable with those which an experienced dental technician functionally waxes-up in the individually controlled articulator. A comparison of the occlusal surfaces in twelve posterior teeth of eleven functionally healthy patients showed differences ranging from 380 to 530 μm related to the mean difference in volume between both types of occlusal surface. Furthermore, a mean pixel deviation of the superimposed occlusal surfaces of 5.12 ± 1.951 μm (min: 2.49 μm, max: 9.16 μm) was observed. These deviations were found for both functionless surfaces and occlusal surface areas of the functional occlusion. Thus, comparable occlusal surfaces can be achieved with computer generated methods, but they do not quite achieve the result of functionally waxed-up occlusal surfaces in the individually programmed articulator.
Keywords: functional occlusion, dynamic occlusion, occlusal surface design, computer generated occlusal surfaces, CAD/CAM method, CAD/CAM occlusion