Form follows function? Do I really know what it means?
Apparently not! I hear this phrase all the time when I was in graduate school. But I really didn’t appreciate its meaning until I see enough of my own anterior restorations failing and breaking. It is really about understanding what is anterior guidance for that particular patient. Unfortunately no two patients will have the same anterior guidance and so every individual has to be treated differently.
My best advice is to observe how the patient moves the jaw in excursive movements naturally. Take a look at the wear facets. They are like the footsteps left behind by the patient’s jaw movement. They didn’t arrive like that for no reason.
And if you ever want to improve these teeth for any aesthetic reason, make sure you take into consideration of the jaw movement. If you intend to make big changes, try them out first in the form of provisional restorations. Wait and see how the patient responds. If the patient is not comfortable, or the provisional restorations break easily….that’s a red flag that you have violated the patient’s function. Your form (provisional restoration) does not follow function.
I have extracted part of a video from my lecture where I share my own failure; a case that I failed to pay enough attention to the patient’s functional path leading to a porcelain fracture. I hope this post will give you new insight on what to look for when you are considering your anterior aesthetic cases. Thanks for your time.