Dental articulators are mechanical instruments that allow you to recreate the relationship of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) with the jaws, by mounting the upper and lower impression models on the instrument.
The articulator simulates the patient's mandibular movements; providing the static and dynamic relationships in order to observe malocclusions or dysfunctionalities extraorally. Thanks to this, the dentist can study way the treatment guidelines without causing fatigue or discomfort for the patient.
Some examples include the creation of discharge splints for bruxism or their use in collaboration with the dental prosthetist who can make partial and total prostheses that adapt to the particularities of each patient. Do you want to know the different types of articulators and recommended brands? KEEP READING.
What types of dental articulators exist?
Articulators can be classified by different classes according to the spatial movements and trajectories they can perform and therefore the greater complexity of treatments they will achieve.
Non-adjustable articulators (Class I)
Also known as hinged occluders or hinges, they cannot really be considered articulators, as they are simple support instruments. They only reproduce the static relationship with the mounted model, their advantage is that they are small instruments and allow an easy and quick organisation of the models.
An example of this type of articulator is the quick-fixing articulator, designed for quick and immediate articulation (composites, dental clinic...), without the need to use plaster or any other type of material to fix the model to the tray. This articulator has the following characteristics:
- Simplicity of use.
- Easy to fix the models.
- Ideal tool for jobs that require immediate articulation.
- Available for partial or complete models.
Non-Adjustable Articulators (Class II)
Class II articulators allow horizontal and vertical movements, but are still unable to reproduce the patient's natural temporomandibular joint relationship, and is the intermediate step to the next type. The set-up time of this version is much shorter, however, it does not reproduce eccentric movements and the occlusal relationships may not be accurate. Examples of this type of articulator include:
Articulator for dental prostheses, has the following characteristics:
- Hinge type.
- Rounded base.
- Easy assembly, even of the upper jaw.
- Chrome-plated colour.
- Allows lateral movements and self-return to primary position.
- Upper jaw with screw adjustment.
Articulator made of brass and stainless steel:
- Spring installed in the centre of the upper jaw.
- It allows displacement and then returns to its original position.
- The upper jaw is held in a horizontal position.
- The upper jaw can be raised to form a 115° angle to facilitate the assembly of the upper model.
- Available for bridges.
The Semi-adjustable Class III Articulators are the most common in the dental clinic as they allow the majority of dental treatments to be carried out. They are the most suitable for training and dentistry studies.
They are able to simulate condylar trajectories, using patient-equivalent values for almost all mandibular movements. Transmission to the models in relation to the patient's temporomandibular joints is achieved by transfer with the facebow.
We can further divide them into ARCON Articulators and NON-ARCON Articulators.
They have condylar articulation movement equal to the human articulation; with the glenoid cavity located in the upper branch and the condyle in the lower branch. They are the most recommended for beginners and are in often used in university prosthetic practices thanks to their adaptability and ease of use. Below we'll show you some of the most popular ones:
The Arquimedes PRO semi-adjustable chest-type articulator has been created following a study of the needs of modern prostheses. Its robust structure made of aluminium guarantees great stability. Its light weight makes it easy to handle. Its open shape provides a great visibility of the model whatever the angle at which it is studied. It has the following characteristics:
- The lower part is designed to be able to work at a 45° angle.
- Able to calibrate several articulators (optional calibrator).
- The parts that make up the articulator can be acquired separately.
- Pine for support of the upper limb in open position.
- Regulation of the condylar guide.
- Adjustable Bennet angle .
- Material: Aluminium.
- Available without bow, or also with elite or standard bow.
The A7 PLUS E articulator is ideal for the dental practice as well as for dental students and university internships.
This is thanks to its features, meaning most dental prosthetic cases can be solved:
- Fixed intercondylar distance (110 mm).
- Condylar guide adjustment.
- Bennet angle adjustment.
- Bilateral locking system. Spring stabilisation system.
Unlike the first articulator, it has the condyles in the upper part of the articulator and the glenoid cavity in the lower part of the instrument. This type of articulator is less used. An example of this type of articulator is the "Balance" from Hager Werken. It has the following features:
It is a functional dental articulator for full and partial dentures as well as for crowns and bridges.
- Consisting of 3 heights of 95 millimetres, 105 millimetres and 116 millimetres (measured without the bars).
- Designed for crown and bridge work as well as for full and partial dentistry.
- Practical, comfortable and safe.
- 25° inclination of the condyle.
- Includes: articulating organ, Incisal table, Incisal pin, plates (2), rubber bands and spanners.
Fully adjustable articulators allow the independent adjustment of each condyle and duplicate the trajectory unilaterally and its path through the transmission of the movement registered by the pantograph as if it were the patient's own mouth.
These instruments, together with the pantographs, are able to record and measure the exact axis of rotation by means of a kinematic locator and the intercondylar anatomical distance. They can measure lateral and protrusive movements, their nature, condylar inclination, time and extent of movement and Bennet's angle.
Due to its high learning complexity its use is almost restricted to the most severe and difficult cases of malocclusion, since it allows the preparation of restorations that are precisely adjusted to the occlusal needs of the patient. Therefore, a stable and anatomical interocclusal relationship is obtained. However, it also has some drawbacks, including the fact that it is much more expensive and requires more time to transfer patient information correctly. Similarly, simple restorations do not justify its use. In these cases, semi-adjustable articulators can be used and their limitations can be compensated for by adjusting the restorations in the patient's mouth.
Which is the most recommended articulator at Dentaltix?
Before answering this question, we would like to clarify that each articulator is different and your choice will depend on your needs!
At Dentaltix, we have a highly recommended articulator with a 5 star rating on our website, the Mestra Lightweight Balanced Articulator is an instrument made from high quality, lightweight alloy materials.
It recreates the movements of the jaw on the basis of the average registers obtained from clinical diagnostics. It has springs that allow the upper jaw to be displaced and then returned to its original position. It is made up of removable aluminium bases so it's possible to work with several models at the same time.
What is the difference between an articulator and an occluder?
It's easy! We tell you:
- Dental articulators are instruments that allow the dentist to simulate the relationship of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) with the jaws. They do not duplicate the movement, but recreate it. They are able to simulate jaw movements and relate maxillary and mandibular movements.
- The occlusor belongs to the dental articulator family. It is a single hinged instrument and only allows opening and closing movements and unlike the articulator, it only recreates the occlusal relationship.
The main differences are the clinical working time (the occluder has a shorter working time) and the recreation of movements.
If I am a dental student, which articulator is the most recommended for me?
At Dentaltix, it's obvious! Without a doubt, the best rated articulator for students is the Arquimedes Protusal Arch A7 Plus. It is a dental articulator with arch and case from the brand Mestra by bio-art, prepared to make very precise movements in the jaw.
To start using it, it provides great advantages as it is very comfortable and precise and the movement can be stabilised. Also, this articulator is available with both standard and elite arches.
What is the difference between the Standard and Elite facebows?
Both arches are anatomical and can be used manually without the need for another instrument.
- In the standard archwire the archwire must be completely fixed in the articulator, unlike the elite archwire, where it's not necessary to fix it in the articulator.
- The elite bow with the infraorbital indicator allows height adjustment for highly accurate registration.
- With the elite facebow the work will be easier, but for your uni, a standard facebow is completely suitable.
What are the factors in choosing the most suitable articulator?
As you may know, the choice of articulator type depends on many factors:
- Skill of the clinician.
- Knowing the advantages or limitations of the system.
- Knowing the centric relationship of the patient, or their maximum intercuspidation.
It's fair to say the most commonly used articulators are the semi-adjustable articulators with an anatomical facebow, however, it will depend on the requirements of each particular case, which should be evaluated.
Are you a dental student? Be sure to take a look at our special section for students!
If you have any questions about instruments or products, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, you can visit us and follow us on our social networks, so you can share information with all your friends and colleagues. See you soon!