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There have been numerous datasets, 3D models and simulations developed over the years however it is clear that there is a need to provide an anatomically accurate, flexible, user driven virtual training environment that can potentially offer significant advantages over traditional teaching methods, techniques and practices. The ability to virtually train dental trainees to navigate and interact in a repeatable format, before directly engaging with the patients can measurably reduce error rates while significantly enhancing the learner experience. Accurate dental simulation with force feedback allows dental students to familiarize with clinical procedures and master practical skills with realistic tactual sensation. In this chapter, we review the state of art of using haptics in dental training and present the development and construction of a medically validated high-definition interactive 3D head and neck anatomical dataset with a haptic interface to support and enhance dental teaching across multiple training sites for NHS Education Scotland. Data acquisition from cadaveric specimens and 3D laser scanning of precision dissection is discussed, including techniques employed to build digital models capable of real-time interaction and display. Digital anatomical model construction is briefly described, including the necessity to clinically validate each stage of development that would ensure a normalised human data set whilst removing anatomical variance arising from individual donor cadaveric material. This complex digital model was transformed into a real-time environment capable of largescale 3D stereo display in medical teaching labs across Scotland, whilst also offering the support for single users with laptops and PC. The 3D viewer environment also supports haptic interaction through a force feedback probe device (Phantom Omni) offering the ability for users to repeatedly practise giving dental anaesthesia injections into the gum. Specific tools supported include guillotine tools, picking and selection tools capable of expanding specific local regions of anatomy. Zoom camera functions and freeform rotation allows thorough and meaningful investigation to take place of all major and minor anatomical structures and systems whilst providing the user with the means to record sessions and individual scenes for learning and training purposes.

Original publication




Journal article


Intelligent Systems Reference Library

Publication Date





29 - 50