Automatic feature identification in dental meshes

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17 Scopus citations


The goal of virtual orthodontic treatment planning is to re-position the teeth in a digital dental model so that the desired alignment of the teeth on each dental arch and occlusion (i.e., matching) of the upper and lower arches is achieved. The input to the planning process is a collection of individual tooth objects obtained by segmenting a noisy 3D surface mesh that is generated by laserscanning a plaster model of the dental arch built from patient-specific dental impressions. A key step in the planning is the identification of features on the surface of the teeth such as cusps, grooves, incisal edges, marginal ridges, and occlusal surface boundary, that are important both for carrying out the alignment and evaluating its quality. This paper presents a collection of techniques to identify such features automatically, with minimal user intervention. Experimental results are presented that show the effectiveness of the approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-769
Number of pages23
JournalComputer-Aided Design and Applications
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported, in part, by the Orthodontics Education and Research Fund University of Minnesota. The authors thank the three reviewers for their helpful comments.


  • Digital orthodontics
  • Feature identification
  • Tooth segmentation


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