Maestre-Ferrín L, Romero-Millán J, Peñarrocha-Oltra D, Peñarrocha-Diago MA. Virtual articulator for the analysis of dental occlusion: An update. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2012 Jan 1;17 (1):e160-3.
The future of dental practice is closely linked to the utilization of computer-based technology, specifically virtual reality, which allows the dental surgeon to simulate true life situations in patients. The virtual articulator has been designed for the exhaustive analysis of static and dynamic occlusion, with the purpose of substituting mechanical articulators and avoiding their errors. These tools will help both odontologists and dental prosthetists to provide the best individualized treatment for each patient.
The present review analyzes the studies published in the literature on the design, functioning and applications of virtual articulators. A Medline-PubMed search was made of dental journals, with the identification of 137 articles, of which 16 were finally selected.
The virtual articulator can simulate the specific masticatory movement of the patient. During mandibular animation, the program calculates the sites where the opposing teeth come into contact. The studies made to assess the reliability of the virtual articulator show good correspondence in visualization of the number and position of the dynamic contacts.
The virtual articulator is a precise tool for the full analysis of occlusion in a real patient.