Digital dentistry: How virtual jaw measurements make prosthetics more efficient
The digital future has not bypassed dental medicine. An example: Prosthetics is more efficient with CAD/CAM. Among other things, jaw movements can be recorded even better via virtual measuring. This makes the production of dental restorations easier. We asked Prof. Dr med. dent. Bernd Kordass from the Greifswald University in Germany about this topic.
Professor Kordass, you are regarded as one of the leading experts in electronic measurement of mandibular function. What does this mean and why is it good?
Prof. Dr. Bernd Kordass: This is the use of a sensor-based system, which records and quantifies the patient’s individual mandibular 3D movements - for example during intercuspidation and during translatory or gliding movements as well as whilst speaking, chewing and grinding. The data recorded serves as a basis for the design of the occlusal surfaces of restorations or dentures to be produced. If the dental restoration is produced via digital workflow with CAD/CAM, the digital models can be displayed and analyzed in real time on the computer screen. All of this helps in producing custom-made dental restorations with a far more accurate occlusion.
That sounds innovative and modern. Is this a new approach?
Prof. Dr Bernd Kordass: No, this isn’t a new approach. I have been involved in this procedure since the 90’s. However, the type of digitalization that is now available finally offers the possibilities that we had hoped for in the past. In concrete terms, we are now able to functionally optimize the occlusal surfaces automatically according to movement patterns. Thanks to CAD/CAM, the occlusal surfaces adapt almost completely automatically to their environment in terms of function. This has not been possible until now. The results are even more accurate and better.
Thanks to new systems and increasingly sensitive sensors, we are able to find our way through the maze of occlusal data without limitations. One example is the new visual measuring system “zebris JMT” from Zebris Medical GmbH in Germany. This system was presented for the first time at IDS 2017 and visualizes areas within the occlusion that are otherwise invisible because they are inbetween the occlusal surfaces. It is the virtual world which makes certain processes accessible to us. And now we can even check the occlusion in real time.
Please summarize the most important advantages of digital occlusion analysis.
Prof. Dr. Bernd Kordass: More accurate measurements and analysis in real time. An insight into processes that have been hidden until now. Better insights lead to more precise results, or better fitting and more accurately functioning dental restorations. Users are able to work more efficiently. They are able to acquire the correct data quickly and easily and have them permanently available on-demand. Patients benefit from even better functioning dental restorations.
Another must-read by Prof. Dr Kordass can be found in the latest Reflect issue entitled "Digital Dentistry: How virtual jaw measurements make prosthetics more efficient".