Virtual Endodontics: Three-Dimensional Tooth Volume Representations and their Pulp Cavity Access

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The purpose of this study was the application of both digital three-dimensional image processing and virtual reality techniques in endodontics. Three-dimensional volume representations of 2 teeth from each tooth category, 16 teeth in total, have been reconstructed. All teeth were embedded in polyester resin, and serial cross-sections 0.75-mm thick were taken from each tooth by using a special microtome. Each section was studied under a stereoscopic microscope, and its microscopic image was directly digitized using a videocamera. The surfaces of hard dental tissues were segmented from each section. Semiautomatic alignment and frame interpolation were performed on the sequence of tooth sections by using appropriate digital image processing techniques. Three-dimensional volume representations from each tooth were achieved in this project to produce the final three-dimensional teeth models, on which virtual accesses of pulp cavities have been performed. Three-dimensional teeth volume representations and virtual tooth “drilling” could serve as perfect educational tools under certain circumstances.

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