Types of Dental Articulators: Semi-Adjustable and Adjustable
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.
What types of dental articulators exist?
Articulators can be classified by different classes according to the spatial movements and trajectory 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, they are simple support instruments. They only reproduce the static relationship with which the model is mounted, 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 transfer 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.