The clever people at Disney have developed a way of realistically reconstructing teeth from just a few photos or a video from your smartphone.
Designed to recreate digital versions of actors, the innovation can also be used in dentistry to digitally reconstruct teeth – even when some of them are hidden.
Apparently, it has proved difficult until now to reconstruct the translucent enamel and the underlying dentine of our gnashers in a lifelike way.
It’s also difficult to get people to open their mouths wide enough to provide phone cameras with an unobstructed view.
Though imaging teeth in great detail is technically difficult, the researchers developed a way to recognise the areas where teeth meet each other, meet the gums and meet the lips.
With these outlines, obtained from several photos from different angles of a person’s mouth in a natural pose or from video taken while moving a smartphone from side to side, the model can be fitted to the person's teeth.
In this way, the entire tooth row – including teeth entirely blocked from view of the camera – can be reconstructed from the model.
In a final step, natural colouring of the person's teeth can be overlaid on the teeth reconstruction, providing a realistic looking set of teeth.
And speaking of digital imaging, new reports predict a global rise in the use of dental cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) – ideal for planning any complex dental treatments.
The appeal of CBCT for you is that it offers a relatively low exposure to radiation compared to X-rays, which makes this a whole lot safer.
It also means that dentists can assess the health of your teeth and gums and soft tissues and nerves accurately before you undergo any cosmetic procedure, such as the placing of dental implants or root canal treatment.
It allows for more precise treatment planning and, because it captures high-quality 3D images of the soft tissues and bone structure of a mouth in a single scan, it means less time in the chair for your patient, which means a minimal level of exposure to radiation.
With many clinics recognising the important of patient comfort and safety, CBCT is increasingly being incorporated to diagnose and treat dental conditions.
CBCT enables dentists to:
• Check your suitability for dental implants
• Check bone quality prior to placement of dental implants
• Find the most suitable area in the jaw bone to place a dental implant
• See a 3D view of the sinus cavities to assess the need for sinus lifts
A CBCT scan is painless and non-invasive and a compact, faster and safer version of a regular CT scanner.
The technology will also help to avoid any unnecessary dental procedures and any potential failure of any cosmetic treatment.