When we think of Disney, we think of animated movies and theme parks. That might not be the case for very much longer… They could be the future of digital dentistry.
The face of digital dentistry could be very different in the coming years. Disney Research have partnered with ETH Zurich to create something that could banish x-rays forever. Well in dentistry at least.
Their website claims that their mission is: “to drive value for The Walt Disney Company by delivering scientific & technological innovation Company-wide.” Disney has been an early leader in entertainment innovation with inventions like the multiplane camera, Audio-Animatronics, Circle-Vision 360°, and Fantasound. With an impressive background in innovation, their involvement with digital dentistry could be promising.
How it works.
Their proposed technology could put an end to scanning wands and dental x-rays. All it would require would be for the patient to sent images of their face and teeth, from there the dentist would be able to create a 3D image of their mouth. A handful of camera angles are input into the system and used to create a full 3D model of the patient’s teeth and gums.
The technology, unlike most traditional 3D model scanners, requires only a few external images to create a model. It even works with incomplete pictures of the teeth! The technology is sophisticated enough to guess what the partially hidden teeth will look like and build the model from there. Even a low-resolution video from an iPhone is enough to create the model.
You can watch this video explaining the process.
One of the highlights of this digital dentistry invention is how comfortable it will make patients.
They wouldn’t have to have invasive x-rays, which can make some feel uncomfortable or exposed. The team involved in created the imaging system looked at high quality dental scans and created an algorithm based on them. The technology can therefore make assumptions about teeth hidden in a picture or video, and accurately capture and model irregular teeth.
However, the creators have said, that so far the system isn’t always 100% correct. It provides a best guess, but also lets you know when it might not be guessing correctly so you can adjust the model accordingly.
As brilliant as this digital dentistry technology could be it surprisingly won’t be initially marketed towards dentists. Instead, it is being pointed towards the gaming and entertainment industry. We might get brilliant facial reconstruction in movies. But, it might be a bit of a wait for it to hit the dental market.
As a patient would you find Disney’s digital dental system helpful to you? Similarly, as a dentist, would this be something you’d like to have in your practice? Let us know in the comments!