Inside Dental Technology
PalaMeter® Measuring Instrument
The innovative and cost-effective measuring tool
Technicians apply art, science, and technology in fabricating dental appliances. When all three come together, along with fit, function, and esthetics, it is amazing how the results can have a renowned effect on the well-being and overall health of a patient. In this effort, it is not often a new tool comes along without investing a lot of money or completely changing how technicians arrive at known ideologies or techniques while saving valuable time. Dr. Andreas Polei, along with Heraeus Kulzer and dental technicians, developed a new and simple instrument—the PalaMeter®. The goal was to have an all-encompassing measuring tool that could do many functions in one.
The PalaMeter is a simple and flexible measuring instrument ideal for a number of applications. Color-coded for easy use, it features a purple 100-mm ruler that has a gap for the oral frena at the end; a green Probe in 1/10-mm increments; a compass with two scales: a blue scale that ranges from 0° to 90° and a black arch gauge that measures from 0 to 100 mm; a transparent gray millimeter grid; and four cutouts for use at 90° and 22.5°. The PalaMeter can be used for taking a variety of measurements (like a conventional flexible rule) including the esthetic curve, from cuspid-to-cuspid on the curve, teeth on a card, anterior vertical dimension of the occlusal rim (Figure 1), and incisal length (Figure 2).
Eight Additional Functions of the PalaMeter
To determine the width of a space between teeth, simply insert the PalaMeter Probe in the extraction site between the contact areas of the two adjacent teeth and read the width on the scale (Figure 3). This is helpful in temporary therapy, partials, and implants.
Measure Teeth on an Arch
A conventional flexible ruler gives you a measurement that is actually longer than the arch because rulers do not conform accurately to the arch (Figure 4). In contrast, the PalaMeter arch gauge flexes to give you a precise measurement of the teeth on a curve and the length of the arch. Simply place the “0” of the arch gauge on the compass on a desired location (such as the cusp tip as shown in Figure 5), flex the gauge to conform exactly to the arch, and measure the reference point opposite in millimeters (Figure 6).
Identify the Occlusion Center
The occlusion center is a point on the mandibular arch. To identify it, look at the cast from an oblique view and position the occlusal table parallel to your line of sight. Mark half way between the crest of the anterior alveolar ridge and two-thirds up the retro molar pad. Use the PalaMeter ruler and a blue pencil to make a line 90° to the occlusal table on the side of the cast (Figure 7). The occlusal center is easily identified with a black line marked on either side of the blue line—repeat on both sides of the mandibular cast. This reference point—also referred to as the molar line or center of occlusion and is often observed as the lowest point on the alveolar ridge—can be easily transferred to both casts with the ruler.
Determine the Stop Line
Often overlooked by technicians, the stop line is useful in that it provides a way to determine where the posterior teeth cause greater dislodging forces than mastication. The angle to determine the stop line uses an engineering optimal standard of 22.5°. The theory behind this standard is that you want to maintain a 22.5° angle or fewer angles between the two arches. If the working lingual mandibular cusp moves laterally to the lingual aspect of the lower lingual cusp and the area of contact is greater than 22.5° in relation to the occlusal table, it creates an anterior dislodging effect. To identify the stop line, the retro molar outline is transferred to the side of the lower cast with a modified divider (Figure 8). A line is then made parallel to the occlusal table under the retro molar outline (Figure 9). Simply position the horizontal line of the PalaMeter on the transferred occlusal line. Place the 90° line of the compass over the blue occlusal center line you have made. With a red pencil, mark where the retro molar line intersects the 22.5° angle through the cut out on the compass (Figure 10). Mark the stop line 90° to the occlusal table in red (Figure 11).
Determine the Cross-Bite
With the compass, you can evaluate the position of the mandibular arch in relation to the maxilla. Mark the crest of the ridges of the articulated upper and lower casts and with the articulator closed, place the PalaMeter behind the lower cast with the horizontal line parallel to the occlusal plane, and observe the angle from the mandibular ridge crest to the maxillary ridge crest (Figure 12). If the angle from the mandibular ridge is greater than 80° in relation to the maxillary ridge, the case may function better in cross bite because it would violate the 22.5° theory discussed previously and create a lateral dislodging force
Evaluate the Curve of Wilson and Campers Plane
Place a straight handpiece bur horizontally across the occlusal surface of a mandibular tooth. Then place the PalaMeter compass posterior and horizontally to the occlusal plane and use the bur to read the angle of the plane (Figure 13).
Evaluate the AP Spread for Implants
In the center of the arch gauge, there is a grid that can be used to evaluate the AP spread (Figure 14). The distance between the most anterior and most posterior implants is easily observed through the transparent grid. Then simply determine 1.5 times that distance and mark where the appliance will end posterior to the implants.
Define the Mid-Line
With the PalaMeter grid, the casts can be easily analyzed for symmetry and a mechanical pencil can easily be placed through the 90° cutout to mark the mid-line (Figure 15). A line can then be made using the ruler (Figure 16).
Craig Nelson, CDT is the laboratory technical manager at Heraeus Kulzer.
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Disclaimer: The preceding material was provided by the manufacturer. The statements and opinions contained therein are solely those of the manufacturer and not of the editors, publisher, or the Editorial Board of Inside Dental Technology.