“Well-I never!…and so should you!” The Occlusal Instrumentation Holy Wars

It seems that whenever discussion of occlusion & instrumentation comes up, dentists get quite polarized into two groups. On one side of the spectrum, there is the “Occlusion is way too complex and overrated-I just use a triple tray every time and those who don’t are dumb. I sold my articulator for beer money the day I graduated!” On the other side of the spectrum, there is the “If you don’t use a fully adjustable articulator on every case, every time… at every opportunity-you are not a quality dentist!”

Funny thing is-both opinions are extremist while neither side seems to think so. As is generally the case, the extremes define the norm and the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

If we can stop thinking about occlusal instrumentation the way some discuss sports teams, politics and/or religion, perhaps we can look at the subject a little bit more logically. The instruments that we use, whether it be an articulator or a triple tray, they should simply be regarded as what they are: tools to help us accomplish a goal and outcome. How long will it take us to take the full arch impressions, facebow and articulator? How quickly can we simply take a triple tray impression? Those questions of course must be balanced with how much time it will take us to insert and adjust the restorations.

When we’re making a decision on which tool to use, wouldn’t it make sense to choose the tool that is the easiest, quickest and least expensive-as long as we can achieve an excellent result? We shouldn’t let the dogma of the extremes hold us back from being logical, efficient and productive in our restorative care.

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