The word ‘occlude’ means ‘to come together’. Isn’t it ironic that there is still no consensus among dentists about a unified concept of occlusion? The subject is controversial and can be intimidating at times. Nonetheless, dental professionals must finally come together, despite their various occlusal approaches, for the sake of their patients.
Occlusion, or the process of coming together in the stomatognathic system, can be compared to a multidimensional anatomy puzzle with interlocking pieces that should fit perfectly but do not always.
Dynamically measuring the force exerted on contacting surfaces is part of the strategy that will help solve any occlusal puzzle. Force scans instantaneously do that:
- They measure force and intensity
- They pinpoint location
- They reveal contact sequence and patterns
- They indicate where the force exerted by bones and muscles is transfered on the teeth and/or on the prosthetics
- They communicate the significance of articulating paper marks.
Force scans graphically depict the interrelationship of structure and function. Force scans allow us to visualize the manner in which the pieces of the puzzle come together, no matter which occlusal philosophy we adhere to.
Force scans viewed in 2D and in 3D make cranial anatomy transparent. Computerized occlusal analysis, Digital Occlusion for short, will not only improve diagnoses and treatment plans but it will allow dentists to monitor the impact of their treatments.
So, come together, has a double meaning. It refers to the art and science of intraoral occlusion and suggests that computer-assisted diagnosis may reconcile diverging viewpoints on occlusion by blending prevailing concepts. Imagine a time when dentists will agree on the meaning of all the terms used to define concepts in occlusion . . . concepts that unite us and no longer divide us.