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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

John C. Wataha
RES D 516
Seattle Campus

P-Introduction to Occlusion

Lecture/laboratory in the determinants of occlusal functon. Application of occlusion principles via additive wax technique on tooth preparations of adjacent and opposing teeth. Offered: W.

Class description

This lecture-preclinical laboratory course introduces first-year dental students to the occlusion of permanent teeth. In the didactic portion of the course, students will learn how maxillary and mandibular teeth contact in normal and abnormal schemes, and how the anatomy of the teeth, maxilla, and mandible interact to dictate how teeth function together in health and disease. In the preclinical lab, students will apply these principles in waxing exercises that are designed to help them fully understand occlusal concepts, refine motor skills developed in ResD 515, and learn to candidly self-assess their work.

Student learning goals

Understand how teeth contact in maximum intercuspal position and how this position differs from centric relation;

Understand and interpret how maxillary and mandibular teeth move relative to one another and contact during excursive movements of the mandible;

Understand how excursive movements are influenced by the morphology of the teeth, mandibular condyles, muscles of mastication, and temporomandibular joint anatomy;

Describe and interpret the envelopes of mandibular motion in the saggital, frontal, and occlusal planes and understand why these envelopes have the shapes they have;

Understand how articulators are used to approximate occlusal function and the strengths and weaknesses of different types of articulators in this regard

Develop sufficient motor skills to apply the principles of occlusal function in constructing appropriately contoured wax replicas of permanent teeth in appropriate occlusal function; Develop the ability to self critique and assess their work.

General method of instruction

Lecture topics include: fabrication of master case models, articulator use and function, contacts in centric occlusion, centric relation, tempormandibular joint function, mandibular excursive movements, mandibular envelopes of function, and how anatomical determinants influence occlusal function in all anatomical planes.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Attendance at all lectures and laboratory sessions is expected. The student must accurately mount two sets of casts, then demonstrate skill in waxing appropriately contoured teeth into correct occlusal function in four separate graded waxing exercises during normal course time. In addition, the student must pass two waxing practical examinations by demonstrating independently their waxing skill and ability to apply principles of occlusion. The student must pass written midterm and practical examinations and pass daily quizzes given in class. Finally, upon the completion of the course, the student must visit the online course evaluation site and complete the online evaluation or state online that they do not choose to complete this evaluation. Throughout all lectures and labs, professional and ethical behavior is expected.

Grading is a composite of didactic knowledge (40%) and competency in motor skills and self evaluation (60%).

There will be: Written weekly quizzes; calibration quizzes, 4 major tooth waxing projects; 2 major competency exams.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by John C. Wataha
Date: 02/12/2011