Construction of Electronic Dental Casts

A. Ardeshir Goshtasby

(Funded by National Institute of Dental Research)

There has been a remarkable increase in the use of computers in dentistry in the last decade. The major driving force has been the development of computer-assisted design and computer-assisted manufacturing of dental prostheses. With the increased use of implant borne prosthetic devices, determination of spatial relationships between teeth and between teeth and gingival tissues has become increasingly important. In this study an electronic alternative to traditional stone dental casts is being developed for clinical applications. Specific aims of this research are:

  1. To apply range finding technology to digitization of stone dental casts for input to computers
  2. To create in the computer memory a 3-D model of a cast by fusing multiple-view range images of the cast.
  3. To design computer algorithms for high resolution stereoscopic viewing of dental casts in 3-D.
  4. To develop software tools for measurement of the shape, size, position, and orientation of each tooth and distances and orientations of different teeth with respect to each other.

The system being developed in this research has a multitude of applications: it can be extended to a CAD/CAM system for design and manufacturing of dental prostheses; it can be extended to an educational system for dental training; it can be used to plan dental surgery; and by reducing the size of the scanner to a hand-held probe, it can be used to construct electronic casts in-vivo without the need of stone casts. This system may also be used to develop a 3-D database of dental structures for interactive applications.

3-D reconstruction of a dental cast obtained from a
range scanner developed in this project.

The Reconstruction Steps:


(a)                           (b)




       (d)          (e)           (f)         (g)

(a) Image of a tooth. (b) The depth of the top of the tooth.
(c) Reconstructed top of tooth in 3-D. (d) - (g) Depth maps of the
four sides of the tooth. (h) Tooth reconstructed in 3-D in its entirety.

More Results:

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For more information please contact: A. Goshtasby (