Digital Imaging of Occlusal Contacts in the Intercuspal Position

Ronald L. Sakaguchi, Gary C Anderson, Ralph DeLong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to develop an approach to the measurement of occlusal contact area and location using digitized video images of occlusal records. Five occlusal records in the intercuspal position were made using a polyvinylsiloxane material on five subjects with intact, natural dentition. In regions of occlusal contact, the material showed a minimal film thickness without perforation. A dental cast of the mandibular arch was video digitized and followed by digitization of each of the five occlusal records in place on the cast. An impression of a calibration stepwedge was video digitized to provide the relationship between impression material thickness and pixel density. Contact surface areas ranged from 0.02 to 3.16 mm2 between subjects. The contact positions on a single tooth determined in five records from a single individual showed coefficients of variation between 7.4% to 36.1%. Large variations in contact size were found in this group of five records from a single individual (coefficient of variation ranged from 10.8% to 156.7%). The large difference in contact size between records may be due to variations in biting force at the time the records were made. When the cast position was changed and records redigitized, the mean area of the contact was not significantly different (P > .20) from measurements at the original position. For the small sample evaluated, a large variation in occlusal contact size was found in the five records. The occlusal contact location was consistent in the five records. The measurement method developed seems to provide reliable measures of occlusal contact surface area and location.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-197
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Prosthodontics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1994


  • image processing
  • occlusal contact
  • occlusion
  • wear


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