A possible biomechanical role of occlusal cusp–fossa contact relationships

Authors

  • M. WANG,

    1. Department of Oral Anatomy and Physiology and TMD, School of Stomatology, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, China
    2. Department of General Dentistry, Craniofacial Pain Headache and Sleep Center, International Relations, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
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  • N. MEHTA

    1. Department of General Dentistry, Craniofacial Pain Headache and Sleep Center, International Relations, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
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Mei-Qing Wang, Department of Oral Anatomy and Physiology and TMD, School of Stomatology, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an 710032, China. E-mail: mqwang@fmmu.edu.cn

Abstract

Summary  Biomechanical features of occlusal contacts are important in understanding the role of the occlusion contributing to masticatory function. Cusp–fossa contact is the typical pattern of occlusion between upper and lower teeth. This includes static relations, such as that during clenching, and dynamic relations when mandibular teeth contact in function along the maxillary occlusal pathways, as during mastication. During clenching in the maximum intercuspal position (ICP), cuspal inclines may take the role of distributing the occlusal forces in multi-directions thus preventing excessive point pressures on the individual tooth involved. During chewing movement on the functional side, the mandible moves slightly from buccal through the maximum ICP to the contralateral side. The part of the chewing cycle where occlusal contacts occur and the pathways taken by the mandible with teeth in occlusal contacts are determined by the morphology of the teeth. The degree of contact is associated with the activity of the jaw muscles. To obtain repeatable static and dynamic occlusal contact information provided by the morphology of the teeth, maximum voluntary clenching and chewing movements with maximum range are needed. In conclusion, in addition to the standard occlusal concepts of centric relation/centric occlusion and group function/cuspid protection relation, biomechanics in static and dynamic cusp–fossa relationships should be included to develop an understanding of occlusal harmony which includes no interfering or deflective contacts in functional occlusal contact.

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