A System for the Acquisition and Analysis of Three-Dimensional Data Describing Dental Morphology

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Pingzhou Liu
Sarbin Ranjitkar
John A. Kaidonis
Grant C. Townsend
Lindsay C. Richards


Accurate, reproducible three-dimensional (3D) data provide an important contribution to our ability to describe, compare and understand dental morphology but the existing technology is often expensive or has technical limitations. Recently available, inexpensive 3D profilometers interfaced with standard personal computers offer the potential to overcome some of these problems. This technical note describes a system that uses a 3D profilometer and purpose written software to analyse changes in dental morphology resulting from tooth wear. The validity of the derived data was determined by comparing data derived from scans of objects of known dimensions with calculated volumes. These differences were less than 10% from objects that were difficult to scan because of their geometry and were commonly less than 5%. The reproductibility, expressed as intra- and inter-observer coefficients of variation, was less than 1%. The potential applications of systems of this type are outlined.