3D Tooth Arrangement
The 3D tooth arrangement program is the first of its kind that allows users to set complete denture teeth in a virtual environment. The program opens with maxillary and mandibular edentulous casts mounted in a semi-adjustable articulator. The articulator is capable of opening and closing and also making protrusive, right and left lateral movements. The casts can be related to each other in accordance with Angle Class I, Class II, and Class III edentulous jaw relationships.
Record bases with their wax occlusion rims can be made to appear and disappear with the click of a button as can the articulator and edentulous casts. The transparency/opacity of the record bases and wax rims along with the casts is controllable through a slider bar to enhance visibility of the teeth and view their relationships to the edentulous casts.
Three types of complete denture occlusions can be created by selecting from either a cross-arch balanced occlusion, a lingualized occlusion, or a monoplane occlusion. The user selects the desired type of teeth and they appear on the computer screen. As each tooth is selected using either the international or universal numbering system, it can be positioned near its appropriate location in the wax rim with the click of a button and then 3-dimensional controls are used to move it to the desired final position. As opposing teeth are set into occlusion, eccentric mandibular movements can be made to see if the teeth are properly related to each other. The program is designed so adjacent and opposing teeth can “move through each other”, thereby showing the degree of overlap present between adjacent teeth and the degree of occlusal interference present between opposing teeth during eccentric mandibular movements. This overlapping is advantageous in helping students visualize the amount of change that needs to occur to create the proper relationships between adjacent and opposing teeth. A button can be clicked that produces a cross-sectional view of the opposing teeth and their degree of interdigitation to aid in assessing occlusal relationships.
“Tooth setups” can be saved and subsequently retrieved for the purpose of demonstration or examination. For instance, teeth can be arranged in one-half of the “mouth”, the file saved, and then the saved arrangement retrieved and used as a guide for teaching students how to set teeth virtually in the other half of the “mouth”. Performing the procedures virtually before actually setting teeth helps students to understand and visualize the 3-dimensional relationships they need to achieve. For examination purposes, tooth setups with defects can be created and saved for subsequent use as competency examinations that require users to identify and subsequently correct the defect(s).
In addition to being able to set teeth in their proper relationships for complete dentures, the program can be used to teach esthetics as it relates to tooth position and orientation in the arch.