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Eur J Dent Educ. 2013 Nov;17(4):191-7. doi: 10.1111/eje.12027. Epub 2013 Feb 19.

The creation of virtual teeth with and without tooth pathology for a virtual learning environment in dental education.

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Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.



To describe the development and opportunities for implementation of virtual teeth with and without pathology for use in a virtual learning environment in dental education.


The creation of virtual teeth begins by scanning a tooth with a cone beam CT. The resulting scan consists of multiple two-dimensional grey-scale images. The specially designed software program ColorMapEditor connects these two-dimensional images to create a three-dimensional tooth. With this software, any aspect of the tooth can be modified, including its colour, volume, shape and density, resulting in the creation of virtual teeth of any type.


This article provides examples of realistic virtual teeth with and without pathology that can be used for dental education. ColorMapEditor offers infinite possibilities to adjust and add options for the optimisation of virtual teeth.


Virtual teeth have unlimited availability for dental students, allowing them to practise as often as required. Virtual teeth can be made and adjusted to any shape with any type of pathology. Further developments in software and hardware technology are necessary to refine the ability to colour and shape the interior of the pulp chamber and surface of the tooth to enable not only treatment but also diagnostics and thus create a greater degree of realism.


The creation and use of virtual teeth in dental education appears to be feasible but is still in development; it offers many opportunities for the creation of teeth with various pathologies, although an evaluation of its use in dental education is still required.


dental education; virtual reality; virtual teeth

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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