Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast
HomeHealthHealth Conditions

Clinical use of virtual reality in dentistry

Clinical use of virtual reality in dentistry
New tools and techniques made possible by technological advancements are being put to use in various dental practices. Among them are VR and AR systems used in medical and educational settings.
You can experience something that isn't physically there with the help of virtual reality technology. Computer programs in dentistry may now accurately simulate the appearance and function of a patient's teeth and jaws. Winnipeg dentist Dr. Resendes believes that this paves the way for a very realistic and immersive virtual experience, which ultimately benefits the field of dentistry.
Utilizing a computerized scanner to capture photographs of a patient's teeth and then using those pictures to make adjustments is the standard practice in modern dentistry. To produce a 3D representation of a patient's teeth and other oral structures, virtual reality technology employs laser scans.
Once the model is prepared, it is imported into a software application that can simulate the resulting dental adjustments. In contrast to more conventional approaches, this technique generates a 3D model that is both precise and detailed, and it allows for pre-treatment testing of the predicted outcome.
Virtual reality technology allows dentists and dental students to rehearse and test operations on mannequins before attempting them on real patients. Oral surgery, tooth repair, and dental education are just some of the many dental applications for this cutting-edge device. One of the features of the VR simulator is the ability to capture data, so that the user can easily examine and evaluate their progress after training. Preparing for actual operations and doing self-evaluations are both aided by this technology.
Augmented reality's ability to merge physical and digital data benefits dentistry. Since this information is shown directly on the patient, dentists can readily detect any changes. Augmented reality displays videos, photos, and 3D models to patients, improving doctor-patient communication and therapeutic comprehension. Dental augmented reality gives patients and dentists real-time data to improve clinical practice.
While augmented reality (AR) has certain similarities with virtual reality (VR), it differs in how it's used. Users may interact with 3D models of the patient's teeth and other oral structures using augmented reality. The user is able to engage with the technology and augment the real-world picture with computer-generated content. The user works with a complete picture of the patient's teeth/anatomical structures in a 3D environment recorded using basic imaging methods, setting this technology apart from virtual reality. The capabilities of augmented reality (AR) technology are midway between those of stereoscopy and holography.
An LCD and a lens are all that's required to experience augmented reality. Even without 3D glasses, the picture is clear and recognizable. If digital photos are superimposed on physical ones, and adjustments are done electronically, it is possible to see the final product before any invasive procedures are performed.
With the use of augmented reality, patients may preview their teeth's final appearance before undergoing a surgery. Makeovers for your teeth or a whole set might benefit from this. The patient benefits from knowing what to expect during and after therapy. Both the patient and the dentist may benefit from this. Additional advantages exist as well.
With the help of cutting-edge hardware and specialized software, users may immerse themselves in a digital 3D environment in virtual reality. This technology provides the user with sensory input and stimulation that are entirely computer-generated. This paves the way for users to interact with virtual environments that are very lifelike. It blurs the lines between reality and virtual reality.
There are several ways in which AR and VR diverge from one another. In augmented reality, for instance, the user may decide how much of the actual world to superimpose, whereas in virtual reality (VR), the computer decides everything that is shown. Additionally, a VR headset is required to experience VR, although any smartphone would do for AR. Furthermore, virtual reality can only enhance the appearance of fictitious worlds, but augmented reality can do the same for both the actual and fictional worlds.
In comparison to actual simulators, virtual ones are preferable since they allow for retrospective adjustments. This kind of training allows the operator to improve their efficiency and accuracy in predicting the results of the actual process.
Depending on the level of immersion, virtual reality experiences may be classified as either "non-immersive," "semi-immersive," or "full-immersive." Head-mounted displays (HMDs) and specialized pens are used in immersive virtual reality systems, allowing users to manipulate virtual 3D models. The computer network is used in virtual reality that is not immersive. A specialized space is required for semi-immersive VR. Using a wearable device/headset and a pen-shaped manipulator, users may interact with recorded 3D pictures or objects in an immersive virtual reality setting.
For full virtual reality immersion, a gadget that follows your head, hands, and eyes is required. On the other hand, a computer and a monitor are all that's required for non-immersive VR. The computer mouse is used instead of a dedicated input device when interacting with 3D computer simulations. While the virtual visuals are movable, there is no otherworldly sensation.
Dental implantology and orthognathic surgery have been two of the primary early adopters of AR/VR technology. When operating on a patient's teeth or jaw, augmented reality may be utilized to display relevant data about the area, allowing for more precise and accurate care. The lack of depth perception in 2D pictures used by certain systems may compromise the safety and precision of surgical procedures.
Final Words
To make the treatment safer and more precise, 3D pictures are projected onto the surgical site. The user may get a holistic perspective of the tissue depths in this manner. Microsoft's Hololens waveguide augmented reality device is cutting edge innovation that improves data visualization. Incorporating this technology into a wide variety of optical systems has the potential to improve the accuracy of tasks like imaging and sensing.
Banner image credit:  Image by JOSEPH SHOHMELIAN from Pixabay

This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit ipso.co.uk