Struggling with vertical dimension or curious how to maximize your technique in this complex area of dentistry? Keep reading for Dr. Chris Catalano’s dental insight into this captivating topic we touch on in our upcoming Ultimate Occlusion Level 2 (UO2) course.

Making vertical dimension changes in dentistry is one of the most challenging procedures. It requires a complex understanding of occlusion, TMJ, esthetics, and function. It is the “double black diamond” of dental reconstruction.

Our goal when performing this procedure is a successful outcome for the patient. This can be accomplished by wielding techniques that are predictable and easy to use. This blog (and Part 2) will address one key ingredient for taking control of the occlusion. Sounds easy enough but how do we do it? The answer is the proper utilization of “control bites.”

What Are Control Bites and How Do We Use Them for Vertical Dimension?

A control bite can be defined as a bite registration product that accurately and repeatedly reflects the new vertical dimension change in the mouth during preparation. It can be used by the laboratory in a similar manner. This control bite must be made from a product that is stiff and dimensionally stable. Wax and soft or flexible bite registration materials are not recommended. You want a rigid material that does not compress or distort with pressure. The material we recommend is Kettenbach’s Futar D Fast Set.

The control bite must also be physically stable on the teeth and have the ability to stay in place consistently. This requires the material to fully cover the occlusal table of the teeth being used as the control bite. I label my control bites right and left, maxillary and mandibular with a Sharpie marker for ease of placement. Remember that this material must also relate to the stone models in the lab…

Check out Part 2 of this vertical dimension and control bites series later in the week on Gold Dust Dental Lab’s blog. Have any questions for Dr. Catalano? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!