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A Virtual Reality Interface to an Intelligent Dental Care System

Jens Herder, Karol Myszkowski, Tosiyasu L. Kuniigif - Masumi Ibusuki gif


The design and fabrication of teeth restorations in dentistry rely increasingly on CAD/CAM techniques. We present an approach for interactive design of the occlusal surface of teeth based on simulation of jaw articulation and computer-aided diagnosis of occlusal disorders. To bridge the cognitive gap between the dentist and the computer system, we propose a virtual reality user interface, which applies the metaphors of tools and techniques known in dentistry. This makes the restoration design more intuitive for dentists. The system uses Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) and HTML standards to generate a treatment report and exchange data in an electronic form.

The simulation of jaw articulation requires fast calculation of multi-point contacts and detection of collisions between surfaces of teeth and restorations. We have developed a distance maps technique which exhibits realtime performance for objects with complex geometry and is suitable for other virtual reality systems dealing with complex contacts. The characteristics of contacts between teeth acquired during lower jaw motion are compactly represented as accumulated distance maps. These maps are then used for automatic removal of interferences between the restorations and the opponent teeth, and provide the dentist with information for further manual adjustments of the occlusal surfaces.

Jens Herder
Sun Aug 13 22:33:32 JST 1995