Setting Condylar Guidance

July 13, 2017 Lee Ann Brady DMD

One Easy Method That Will Increase Restoration Accuracy by Customizing An Articulator to the Actual Angle of the Eminence

When we rely too heavily on ‘assumptions’ to determine the angle of the eminence during a restoration, we risk creating a faulty end result for a significant amount of patients.

About 80-85% of patients will not present an issue. You can set the angle of the condylar path on the articulator, basing your efforts on a design assumption that most patients have an eminence with a steeper angle. The lab creates posterior disclusion on the articulator and there is equal or greater disclusion.

Problems arise when you end up with a patient who falls into one of two eminence categories.

Two Types of Patients Who Need Customization to the Angle of the Eminence

For 15-20% of the patients you treat, customization is necessary. These patients often fall into two categories:

  1. Eminence is flatter than the assumption.

The restorations did not touch on the articulator, yet you’ll have to remove posterior differences chairside in these patients.

  1. Eminence is steeper than the assumption.

These patients tend to experience less chewing efficiency. They complain that bits of snack food pack onto their restorations. This packing occurs on the occlusal table.

In both cases, a solution is needed. Creating posterior excursive disclusion or interferences relies on how well the angle of the eminence works with the angle of the anterior guidance. To achieve great results for patients outside the norm, there are two options.

How a Photograph Can Enable Restoration Customization

Accuracy is the ultimate goal for final restorations. Many dentists who find themselves dealing with a patient in the less common eminence percentile decide to take a protrusive bite record. My advice is to choose an alternative option that requires less effort.

The easier way also uses a semi-adjustable articulator. You still customize the articulator to match the patient’s actual angle of eminence. But instead of the protrusive bite record, send the lab an end-to-end retracted photograph.

For this image:

  • The incisors should rest on the incisal edges.
  • The second molars should be visible and in focus.

The lab can use this image to create posterior disclusion. They simply dial the condylar setting to match the photograph and use a sharpie to record it on the model.

What method do you prefer for customizing the articulator? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!



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About Author

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Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

2 thoughts on “Setting Condylar Guidance

  1. i would love to add “Who needs it?”-100% If you are going to go to the trouble of mounting, why not take the extra 30 seconds to record and program?”

    1. I agree Mike. This is something so easy to do, and it really increases the accuracy of what we see and do on the articulator in the excursvie movements.

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