Virtual articulation makes it possible to overcome the limitations of mechanical articulation. Novel visualization techniques have great advantages. In this study, the occlusal surfaces of the upper and lower teeth were digitized with a 3D scanner, and real functional movements of the mandible were recorded using the Jaw Motion Analyzer (JMA), an ultrasonic measurement system. A coupling component designed for clinical use in the patients mouth was utilized for precise referencing of the movement and scan data. Similar to a two-sided impression tray, the coupling tray is used to take a joint impression of the upper and lower arches. The JMA records the positions of the mandible and the coupling component in space. The virtual articulator was designed for visualization of jaw relationships during mastication. For analysis of intercuspation, the system generates dynamic images on which closing movements/ dynamic occlusion and contact areas are highlighted. The jaw movement data are plotted to create an envelope surface representing the maximum possible space occupied by the mandible. Such an envelope surface is a type of virtual FGP (functionally generated path) bite registration. It can be applied to design virtual tooth restorations and helps to quantify the occlusal space in a virtual environment. This system can be used to individually register and utilize the variability of occlusal function.
Keywords: virtual articulator, virtual occlusion, dynamic occlusion, occlusal contacts, occlusion, variability; virtueller Artikulator, virtuelle Okklusion, dynamische Okklusion, okklusaler Kontakt, Okklusion, Variabilität