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Refuat Hapeh Vehashinayim (1993). 2007 Jan;24(1):56-64, 85-6.

[Occlusal schemes of complete dentures--a review of the literature].

[Article in Hebrew]

Author information

Dept. of Oral Rehabilitation, The Hebrew University Hadassah School of Dental Medicine, Jerusalem, Israel.


Occlusal scheme is defined as the form and the arrangement of the occlusal contacts in natural and artificial dentition. The choice of an occlusal scheme will determine the pattern of occlusal contacts between opposing teeth during centric relation and functional movement of the mandible. With dentures, the quantity and the intensity of these contacts determine the amount and the direction of the forces that are transmitted through the bases of the denture to the residual ridges. That is why the occlusal scheme is an important factor in the design of complete dentures. Three occlusal schemes are viewed in this review: bilateral balanced occlusion, monplane occlusion, and linear occlusion scheme. Each scheme represents a different concept of occlusion. Comparisons between these schemes are also reviewed and analyzed. The reasoning underlying the bilateral balanced occlusion scheme is that stability of the dentures is attained when bilateral contacts exist throughout all dynamic and static states of the denture during function. Anatomic teeth are used: the upper anterior teeth are set to satisfy aesthetics, and the posterior teeth are arranged in a compensatory curve and a medial curve. This scheme is adequate for well developed residual ridges, with skeletal class I relation. With highly resorbed residual ridges, the vectors of force that are transmitted through anatomic cusps will dislodge the lower denture and thus impair the comfort and efficiency of mastication experienced by the patient. In order to accommodate to the special needs posed by highly resorbed residual ridges and skeletal relations that are not class I, the monoplane scheme of occlusion was designed. This scheme consists of non anatomic (cuspless) teeth, which are set so that the anterior teeth provide the aesthetics, the premolars and the first molars are used for chewing, and the second molars do not occlude (although sometimes they are specifically used to establish bilateral contacts in lateral movements). Linear occlusion scheme occludes cuspless teeth with anatomic teeth that have been modified (bladed teeth) in order to achieve linear occlusal contacts. Linear contacts are the pin-point contacts of the tips of the cusps of the bladed teeth against cuspless teeth that create a plane. The specific design of positioning upper modified teeth on the upper denture and non anatomic teeth on the lower one is called lingualized occlusion. It is characterized by contacts of only the lingual (palatinal, to be more accurate) cusps of the upper teeth with the lower teeth. The lingualized occlusal scheme provides better aesthetics than the monoplane occlusion scheme, and better stability (in the case of resorbed residual ridges) than bilateral occlusion scheme of anatomic teeth. The results of studies that compared different occlusal schemes may well be summarized as inconclusive. However, it does seem that patients preferred anatomic or semi-anatomic (modified) teeth, and that chewing efficiency with anatomic and modified teeth was better than with non anatomic teeth. Similar results were found in studies of occlusal schemes of implant-supported lower dentures opposed by complete upper dentures.


There isn't one occlusal scheme that fits all patients in need of complete dentures, in fact, in many cases more than one occlusal scheme might be adequate. Selection of an occlusal scheme for a patient should include correlation of the characteristics of the patient with those of the various occlusal schemes. The characteristics of the patient include: height and width of the residual ridge, aesthetic demands of the patient, skeletal relations (class I/II/III), neuromuscular control, and tendency for para-functional activity. The multiple characteristics of the occlusal schemes were reviewed in this article. Considering all of those factors in relation to a specific patient, the dentist should be able to decide on the most suitable occlusal scheme for the case.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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