No single occlusal morphology, scheme, or material will successfully treat all patients. Many patients have been treated, both successfully and unsuccessfully, using widely varying theories of occlusion, choices of posterior tooth form, and restorative materials. Therefore, experience has demonstrated that there is no one right way to restore the occlusion of all patients. Partially edentulous patients have many and varied needs. Clinicians must understand the healthy physiologic gnathostomatic system and properly diagnose what is or may become pathologic. Henderson  stated that the occlusion of the successfully treated patient allows the masticating mechanism to carry out its physiologic functions while the temporomandibular joints, the neuromuscular mechanism, the teeth, and their supporting structures remain in a good state of health. Skills in diagnosis and treatment planning are of utmost importance in treating these patients, for whom the clinician's goals are not only an esthetic and functional restoration but also a lasting harmonious state. Perhaps this was best stated by DeVan  more than 60 years ago in his often-quoted objective, "The patient's fundamental need is the continued preservation of what remains of his chewing apparatus rather than the meticulous restoration of what is missing, since what is lost is in a sense irretrievably lost." Because it is clear that there is no one method, no one occlusal scheme, or one material that guarantees success for all patients, recommendations for consideration when establishing or reestablishing occlusal schemes have been presented. These recommendations must be used in conjunction with other diagnostic and technical skills.
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