A hands-on method for instrument-based occlusal analysis with digital technology is presented using a patient case example. The method is based on new software for digital occlusal analysis that includes a new measuring system for recording mandibular function (Jaw Motion Analyser Optic System/oJMA). With the new system, occlusal contact patterns in the real movement function of the mandible are captured and analyzed digitally with regard to occlusal interferences or a suitable therapeutic position of the mandible. For this purpose, scans of both jaws are brought together with the movement recordings by means of a special coupling tray and then visualized together as one complete image. Since the movement paths of the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) are also captured, the new system makes it possible to define a suitable therapeutic position specifically aimed at relieving the TMJs, and a therapeutic change in the jaw relation can be adjusted, for instance, by using an occlusal splint. Dedicated software modules provide a layer-by-layer analysis of the intercuspation relationship and the generation of ‘envelopes’ for occlusal gliding movements. This system is used to gain a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between the structure and function of the occlusion. Interfaces to CAD software have also been established.
Keywords: instrumental analysis of occlusion, digital occlusion, CAD/CAM