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Emerging Tools in Tooth Morphology

April 23, 2014

Two academics from the University of Sheffield have developed and released a groundbreaking dental app called “Real Tooth Morphology” that uses high resolution micro-CT scan data of real teeth. This is just one innovation out of many in the field of tooth morphology, which is getting better and more efficient at leveraging consumer-friendly tools. This is no doubt excellent news for anyone currently enrolled in a dental assistant program.

Real Tooth Morphology

Available now on most touchscreen devices through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, Real Tooth Morphology uses data collected and processed by academics, who used 3D reconstruction techniques to allow the external and internal structures of the teeth to be explored in 3D in great detail. A free trial version of the app is available containing data on a single tooth.

A major advantage of using the data of real teeth is that many show interesting and unusual features, which a professional could find on dental patients. Included in the app is a guide to the morphology and features of the teeth, with 3D demonstrations of how they relate to the tooth in question.

For dental professionals, dental students and anyone else wishing to learn the medical structure of the teeth and mouth, this app is an incredible resource and a very useful tool. Through a combination of meticulous research as well as high detail and resolution, including the internal structures, Real Tooth Morphology offers a comprehensive look at the world of teeth and oral health. The app has the potential to complement, or possibly even replace, the dental textbook as a learning tool and has the advantage of being able to demonstrate its examples using real 3D tooth models, rather than flat diagrams.

MorphoDent

MorphoDent, a computer-assisted learning program designed to teach tooth morphology, was recently introduced into the curriculum of dental studies at the University of Saarland in Homburg, Germany. The focus of the test program was to see how students would react to a digital learning environment, which is more flexible and dynamic than its traditional pen-and-paper counterpart, in the context of learning dental anatomy.

Almost all sophomores felt that the MorphoDent program had helped them in learning dental morphology and reported enjoying the virtual anatomical examination. Students expressed a positive attitude towards e-learning in general and indicated that the use of photorealistic 3D models of human teeth made it much easier to learn about dental anatomy or complete their dental assistant training, by demonstrating more precisely how one factor can affect another. More importantly, e-learning and online testing helped the students evaluate their own self-performance more easily, as they could practice certain tasks in a virtual environment. Overall, the feedback was largely positive, encouraging the university to continue using and improving the program.

Keep an eye out for these innovative solutions in the coming years, as it’s entirely possible that they will start being adopted by dental assistant schools across North America!

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