So why do we use an articulator?
When we are trying to work out models two-dimensionally and three-dimensionally, what are the correct solutions for our patient? And simply it is just a mechanical device that gives us a way to be able to observe and work out what is actually happening in our patients.
Key things an articulator gives us.
One is, we are able to start and set from centric relation, which is where we want to build our foundation for our function. The second thing it does is it gives us the arc of closure because patients don't close vertically, they close on an arc. The face bow gives us the arc of closure, so we can start making decisions on how the teeth are going to fit, and especially with vertical.
Another thing that the articulator lets us do, is to help set up the condylar path. So the condylar path is very, very important because we know that we need posterior disclusion as we go into our eccentric movements.
There are two things that give us the posterior disclusion.
One is anterior guidance in the front, and the second is the steepness of the eminence in the back. Being able to set that up on an articulator then allows us to design or evaluate an occlusion, to see if we can get that posterior disclusion.
It also allows us to evaluate the lateral excursive pass on our patient, again, to get the back teeth out of the way when we go into excursive movements.
And also allows us to do the custom incisal guide table when we are doing restorations, so that the laboratory can mimic what we have hopefully worked out to ideal occlusion, so we can have that in our definitive restorations when we are done treatment.