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Something to smile about: 3D graphics are revolutionizing oral health care

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Computer graphics and all the computer-aided drawing and manufacturing (CAD/CAM), scanning, and imaging technology is changing dentistry. Invisalign is a technology that straightens adult teeth using a series of clear, plastic, nearly invisible aligners. Though proprietary CAD/CAM software that does 3D modeling, the company creates the fixtures for orthodontists. For dental implants dentists make a study cast of the area where the abutment will be placed. They then scan the cast into the computer using a 3D optical scanner, creating a 3D point cloud. Technicians create a polygonal surface from the point cloud. They use proprietary software to virtually assemble the digital teeth data with an unmodified (or template) version of their product. This template is a 3D model of an ideally shaped dental abutment. The computer generates the tool path and sends it to the milling machines that create the titanium abutment. Maxillofacial surgery repairs physical malformations resulting from disease, injury, burns, birth defects, or aging. In these cases, a maxillofacial surgeon must make changes that often include removing bone and replacing it with modeled implants. A surgeon uses computer graphics to solve these problems in his practice. The common thread among the examples of oral health care techniques discussed is the CAD/CAM software they use from Raindrop Geomagic

Published in:

Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 4 )