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A virtual articulator is a system currently being developed for dentistry. It is supposed to virtually determine teeth antagonists and the occlusion surfaces between them. In contrast to state-of-the-art mechanical articulators, it should use 3D dentition models acquired with highly precise 3D scanners for this. These models, however, describe not only teeth surfaces. Neighbouring surfaces such as teethridge are also included in them. Thus, the first and unavoidable step in designing a virtual articulator is the segmentation of teeth from 3D dentition models. In this paper, we present a robust solution to this problem. First, 2D sectional images of the 3D models are generated and binarised. Second, 2D teeth outlines are estimated using active contours and summarised to 3D segmentation results. The algorithm has provided excellent experimental results and will be used in the industrial realisation of the virtual articulator.
Date of Conference: 26-29 Sept. 2010