Dental articulators are mechanical instruments that recreate the relationship between the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the jaws, by mounting upper and lower print patterns on the instrument.
The articulator simulates the movements of the patient's jaw; it provides static and dynamic relationships to observe these malocclusions or dysfunctional movements of extraoral form. Thus, the dentist can study the treatment guidelines without fatigue or discomfort for the patient.
Examples include discharge gutters for bruxism or its use in collaboration with the dental prosthetist who will be able to perform partial and total prostheses that adapt to the particularities of each patient.
What are the types of dental articulators
Articulators can be classified into different classes according to the spatial movements and trajectory that they can perform, resulting in greater complexity of treatments.
Non-adjustable articulator (Class I)
Also known as occlusive hinges or hinges, they can not really be considered articulators, they are simple support instruments. They reproduce only the static relation with which the model is mounted, their advantage is that they are small devices and allow an easy and fast organization of models.
The ease of use and ease of fastening the models make this articulator the ideal tool for work where an immediate articulation is desired. This dental articulator is designed for quick and immediate articulation (repairs, dental clinic,...) without using plaster or other materials to secure the model to the tray. Articulators Features:
- Ease of use.
- Ideal tool for jobs that want to be articulated immediately.
- Multiple reculations thanks to its ball-and-socket type.
- Available for partial or complete.
Non-adjustable articulators (Class II)
Class II allows movements in the horizontal and vertical plane, but still can not transfer the relationship of the natural temporomandibular joint of the patient, it would be the intermediate step to the next type. The assembly time of this type is much shorter, however, it does not reproduce eccentric movements and the occlusal relationships may not be precise. As an example of this type of articulator we have:
Articulator for dental prostheses, it has the following features:
- Chanela type.
- Rounded base.
- Easy assembly, including the upper jaw.
- Chrome color.
- It allows lateral movements and auto return to primary position.
- Upper jaw with screw regulation.
Articulator made of brass and stainless steel:
- The upper jaw allows to move it and then it returns to the original position.
- Spring installed in the center of the upper jaw.
- The upper jaw remains horizontal and is adjusted in height with a screw.
- Available for bridges .
- The upper jaw its able to elevate equally forming an Angle of 115º to facilitate the assembly of superior model.
Class III Semi-Adjustable Articulators are the most common in dental clinics because they can perform most dental treatments, they are most suitable for training and patient development of dental studies.
They are able to simulate condylar trajectories, using values equivalent to those of the patient for almost all jaw movements. Transmission to the models in relation to the temporomandibular joints of the patient is performed by transfer with the device facebow.
We can divide them in turn into ARCON Articulators and NON ARCON Articulators
They are the most recommended to start and are in demand in university prosthetic practices thanks to their adaptability and ease of use. Here are some of the most popular::
The Archimedes PRO semi-adjustable chest-type articulator has been created after a study on the needs of modern prosthetics. Its robust structure made of aluminum guarantees great stability. Its light weight facilitates handling. Its open shape provides great visibility of the model whatever the angle of study of it. It has the following characteristics:
- The bottom part is designed to work with an angle of 45°.
- Possibility of identically calibrating several articulators (optional calibrator).
- The parts that make up the articulator are available.
- Pine for supporting the upper branch in open position.
- Regulation of the condylar guide..
- Adjustable Bennett angle.
- Material: Aluminum.
- Available without bow, or also with elite or standard bow.
A7 PLUS E articulator is ideal for the clinic and also for dental students and university internships.
This is possible thanks to its characteristics, being able to solve the majority of dental prosthesis cases:
- Semi-adjustable / Arcon
- Fixed intercondylar distance (110 mm).
- Condylar guide adjustment.
- Bennett angle adjustment.
- Flat condylar guide.
- Bilateral locking system.
- Pin for supporting the upper branch in open position.
- Movement stabilising with spring system.
NON ARCON Articulators
Unlike the first, it has the condyles in the upper part of the articulator and the glenoid cavity in the lower part of the instrument. These types of articulators are less used. However, Dentatus has within its range of articulators the ARL articulator which is perfect for the registration of occlusal relations and can also be adjusted in a calibrated way for protusive and retrusive. It has the following characteristics:
The ARL articulator has an adjustable upper jaw component, and with the CALIBER LOCK the articulator can be adjusted to accentuate the mutual conformity of the upper and lower jaw components.
- Bennett's regulation is variable continuously.
- Segmented table and flat pointer.
- Individually adjustable condylar mechanisms.
- Incisal pin adjustable in height.
- Calibrated regulation for protusiva and retrusive.
- Calibrated extensible pin for face arch mounting.
Fully adjustable articulators allow independent adjustment of each condyle and manage to unilaterally duplicate the trajectory and its trajectory by transmitting the movement recorded by the pantograph as if it were the mouth of the patient.
These instruments as well as the pantographs are able to record and measure the exact axis of rotation by means of a kinematic locator and the interdylar anatomical distance. They can measure laterality and protrusion movements, their nature, condylar inclination, time and range of motion, and Bennet angle.
Because of its great learning complexity, its use is almost limited to the most serious and difficult cases of malocclusion. Therefore, a stable and anatomical interocclusal relationship is obtained. However, it also has some drawbacks, including being much more expensive and time-consuming to transfer patient information correctly. Similarly, using it for simple restorations does not justify its use. In these cases, semi-adjustable articulators can be used and their limitations compensated by fitting the restorations in the patient's mouth.
What are the factors to choose the most suitable articulator?
The choice of the articulator will depend on many factors:
- Clinician skill.
- Know the advantages or limitations of the system.
- Know the centric relationship of the patient and them maximum intercuspation.
We can say that the most used articulators are the semi-adjustable ones with an anatomical facial bow in general, however, it will depend on the requirements of each particular case that must be previously evaluated.
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