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Dental Occlusion Glossary of Terms

Angle Classification A classification of different types of malocclusion based on the mesio-

distal relationship of the permanent molars upon their eruption &
Anterior guidance Protrusion of the mandible for anteriors to touch, affecting/guiding
the molars
Articulating paper Creates marks on the points of contacts between teeth
Articulation The contact relationship of occlusal surfaces during jaw movement
Articulator Mechanical device that enable dental models of patients to be related
so that diagnostic and restorative procedures can be carried out away
from the patient
Axial alignment Recorded positions of the mandible in regards to the maxillary
Balancing side The non-working side condyle during lateral movement
Bennett angle Angle trace by the non-working side condyle in relation to the sagittal
plane during lateral movement
Bennett movement Lateral movement of the mandible or the working side condyle
Border movement

Border Movement Tracing of the maximum vertical and antero-posterior movements of
the symphysis point
Bruxism An oral parafunctional activity grinding
Buccal segments All premolar & molar in a particular quadrant
Canine guidance Lateral movements of the jaw, when upper and lower canines touch,
posterior teeth should be guided apart
Centric occlusion Occlusion of opposing teeth when mandible is in centric relation
Centric relation Mandibular relation in which the head of the condyle is situated as far
anterior and superior as it possibly can within the
mandibular/glenoid fossa
Centric stops The stable points of contact between occluded max & mand teeth.
Located in central pits, marginal ridges and buccal & lingual cusps of
posterior teeth, incisals & lingual of anterior teeth
Chewing cycle The process of mastication
Condylar guidance The angle at which the condyle moves away from a horizontal
reference from condylar rod along the articular eminence of the
mandibular fossa
Contralateral Relating to the side of the body opposite to where the particular
structure/condition occurs
Cross-bite Reverse overjet. Where a tooth/teeth is more buccal/lingual than the
opposite arch
Curve of Spee Curvature of the mandibular occlusal plane
Cusp The raised points of the crowns of teeth
Cusp angle The angle made by the slopes of a cusp
Cusp interference An opposing tooth contact which prevents the mandible from
attaining a centrically related closure
Diastema A space/gap between teeth
Disclusion Not in occlusion
Edge-to-edge An occlusion in which the anterior teeth of both jaws meet along their
incisal edges when the teeth are in max intercuspation
Embrasures V-shapes notches/valleys between contacting teeth below, above,
buccal and lingual
Envelope of motion The 3D space circumscribed by border movements and by occlusal
contacts of a given point of the mandible
Facebow Devices that relate a patients maxillary arch to the intercondylar axis
and the point orbitale and enable these relationships to be
transferred to an articulator where they can be produced
Freeway space The space between the teeth when you are sitting at rest (teeth are
not usually in occlusion)
Group function The simultaneous contact of opposing teeth in a segment or group.
The sharing force on contacting surfaces of the teeth on the working
side only
Guidance A mechanical or other means of controlling the direction of
movement of an object
Guiding cusps The non-supporting cusps buccal cusps for max & lingual for mand
Intercondylar distance Distance between the rotational centres of the mandibular condyles
Intercuspal occlusion Maximum occlusion of opposing teeth
Intercuspal position Occlusal position with the teeth in maximum intercuspation
Intercisal angle The antero-posterior angle made by the intersection of the long axis
of the max central incisor with the mand central incisor
Interocclusal distance The vertical distance between the max & mand teeth when the mand
is in its rest position
Interproximal contacts Points of contact mesio-ditally of adjacent teeth in the same arch
Ipsilateral On the same side
Masticatory musculature Muscles of mastication
Maximum hinge opening Maximum opening of the mouth
Maximum lateral
Maximum lateral movement of the mandible
Mesial drift The tendency of teeth in buccal segments to move mesially
Monsons curve An ideal curve of occlusion in which each cusp and incisal edge
touches the surface of an imaginary sphere
Myofascial pain
dysfunction syndrome
Chronic pain caused by multiple trigger points and fascial
Neutral zone Position of the teeth where the force is from the lips and cheeks are
balanced from the forces from the tongue
Nociceptors Pain receptors
Long centric
Occlusal analysis A study of the relationships of the occlusal surfaces of opposing teeth
Occlusal curvatures Occlusal curves such as curve of Spee, Wilson & Monsons
Occlusal stability The equalisation of contacts that prevents tooth movement after
Occlusal table The occlusal or grinding surfaces of the premolars & molars
Occlusal vertical
The superior-inferior relationship of the maxilla & mandible when
teeth are in maximum intercuspation
Occlusion The relationship between how the upper and lower teeth come
together when closed
Open bite Lack of occlusion of the front teeth when the jaw is closed normally
Overbite The overlapping of the lower teeth by the upper
Overeruption The physiological movement of a tooth lacking an opposing force out
of the line of occlusion
Overjet The extent of antero-posterior overlap of the maxillary central
incisors over the mandibular
Parafuntion Any function of the masticatory system that is outside normal use
Propriceptors Pressure receptors
Proclined Inclined forward
Rest position The position of the mandible when the jaws are in rest
Rest vertical dimension The vertical dimensions of the face with the jaws in rest
Retroclined Tipped backwards referring to incisors
Retruded hinge axis A hinge axis that is posteriorly placed.
Hinge axis an axis that passes through the L & R mandibular
condyles & coincides with the centre of rotation of the mandible
Retruded relation A relation which is more posterior than usual
Retrusion The state of being located posterior to the normal position
Scissors bite Where the incisor teeth in the upper jaw are in contact with but
slightly overlap the lowers
Supporting cusps The cusps which provide support in occlusion in the central fossa,
marginal ridge regions of the molars palatal cusps of uppers and
buccal cusps of lower molars
Vertical dimension Superior-inferior relationship of the maxilla & mandible when the
teeth are in maximum intercuspation
Wilsons curve The curvature of the teeth as projected in the frontal plane
Working side The working side of the condyles