An articulator is a mechanical device used in dentistry to which casts of the maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) teeth are fixed, reproducing recorded positions of the mandible in relation to the maxilla. An articulator assists in the fabrication of removable prosthodontic appliances (dentures), fixed prosthodontic restorations (crowns, bridges, inlays and onlays) and orthodontic appliances.
Adjustable dental articulators are necessary in a dental lab to fabricate prosthodontic and orthodontic restorations and appliances, also is an important dental equipment. One important aspect when purchasing an adjustable dental articulator is to make sure it is split-cast compatible. Some adjustable dental articulators are better for simple, uncomplicated restorations, while others are targeted toward more complex and demanding dental restorations. For these complex restorations, some adjustable dental articulators enable the technician to individually set the joint angles to exactly match patient measurements to get the perfect fit. Some adjustable dental articulators boast magnetic mounting plate attachment, precise calibration derived from patient x-rays and accurate transfer of casts from one articulator to another. Be sure to choose an adjustable dental articulator that fits best with your dental laboratory.
A non-adjustable articulator allows fixation of casts of the maxillary and mandibular teeth, showing recorded positions of the mandible in relation to the maxilla. These measurements assist in the fabrication of various dental appliances. Non-adjustable articulators only open and close in a fixed horizontal axis, they can simulate lateral and protrusive jaw movement. Various mounting plate attachment options include screws, magnetic, plaster and disposable plastic screws. Different non-adjustable articulators are better suited for certain procedures, so whether you will most likely be using it for single crown and minimal unit bridge fabrication or orthodontics and splint fabrications, be sure to choose the best fit for your laboratory.
Stone Base – An articulator system in which a model of the patient’s teeth for the maxilla and mandible are each mounted on a stone base with the use of dowel pins. The two are then brought together and articulated using a disposable articulator to act as the condyle. This requires having to make two pours. The first one is to get the model from the impression taken by the dentist. The other pour is for the stone base made from a rubber mold.
Single-Pour - The single-pour system eliminates the need for a stone base. When the impression is poured up, it is directly mounted on a plastic base or tray that already has a built-in condyle to form a complete articulator when the two halves are joined. By eliminating the need to pour up a stone base, the single-pour is a much faster system than the Stone Base system. There are varieties of single-pour systems that use dowel pins, and there are some that omit the need for dowel pins by creating the model completely out of die stone.
An articulator which is adjustable in one or more, but not all of the following areas: condylar angle, Bennett side-shift, incisal and cuspid guidance, and shape of the glenoid fossae and eminintiae. By nature, this sort of articulator's use is only meaningful if the position of the maxillae are duplicated with respect to the hinge axis of the mandibular condyles. Normally this is achieved by the use of a face-bow.