This website is based on the culmination of two decades of study, observation, and experience in the field of computerized occlusal analysis and management. I have been privileged to learn from and observe many good teachers and colleagues. As I introduce Digital Occlusion, I acknowledge being able to do so because of the pioneering work undertaken by Dr. Harry C. Lundeen and Dr. Charles H. Gibbs in the 1970s, by Dr. William L. Maness in the 1980s, and by Dr. Robert B. Kerstein from the late 1980s to this day.
During the course of a University of Florida project which lasted from August 1974 to April 1985, doctors Charles Gibbs and Harry Lundeen developed a gnathic replicator which offered possible ways to measure human chewing movements and record data for future interpretation. Their measuring system simultaneously recorded force and integrated EMG activity and vertical displacement of the mandible while chewing foods of varying consistencies.
In 1987, a group led by Dr. W. L. Maness published Computerized Occlusal Analysis: a New Technology. It featured real-time force measurements recorded by the first T-Scan intraoral sensor which had been introduced in 1984 at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.
Dr. Robert B. Kerstein, who graduated from Tufts in 1985, embraced the T-Scan technology from the very start. At that time, he was interested in myofacial pain dysfunction syndrome and its relationship to occlusal force and timing which led to the development of an equilibration technique named Immediate Complete Anterior Guidance Development described in The Journal of Craniomandibular Practice in 1993. Kerstein’s early research had focused on the relationship between disclusion time reduction and myofacial pain which was also a strong interest of mine because of my relationship with Dr. Janet Travell. My primary focus in the late 1980s was in the posterior force in relation to the lateral pole of the TM joints, and equilibration techniques prior to prosthodontic reconstruction.
In 1995, the Windows-based version of the original system maintained the real-time recording capacity of the original T-Scan I while displaying the occlusal contacts in various formats and introducing the Center of Force (COF) target and marker. These new features allowed me to discover repetitive patterns of force engagement in 1997 which would verify and illustrate the jaw movement and engagement findings from the Lundeen-Gibbs project.
Over the lifespan of an occlusion, the functional adaptation of the TM joints, muscles, teeth and their supporting structures, airway, and neck posture can be physiologic, pathologic, or both. Whenever the stomatognathic system is engaged, it generates a sequence of force with a traceable origin, direction, intensity transfer, and pattern signature. The mapping and recording of force measurements produce a repeatable, color-enhanced shape and distribution pattern. Recorded force data of envelope of function engagement cycles produce a repeatable signature which I have named Digital Occlusal Force Distribution Patterns (DOFDPs).