Cosmetic dentistry can often leave patients wondering what their new smile will look like after procedures such as veneers, dental implants and full-mouth reconstruction. As advancements in technology progress, it becomes easier for dentists to communicate with their patients and give them a pretty accurate depiction of their potential outcome. And now, one company is pushing the envelope even further.
A Swiss startup company called Kapanu has created an augmented reality (AR) engine, in collaboration with Disney Research, to be used in medical settings, and the first one will be dentistry. As reported on by DailyMail, this new technology is a virtual mirror of sorts that will show patients what their new post-treatment smiles will look like using a combination of AR and 3-D imaging.
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The company revealed its invention at the 2016 International Dental Show in Germany, and claims it received “overwhelming feedback” from dentists, dental hygienists and dental technicians. “This software enables the patient to see within seconds the end result of the dental reconstruction,” said Roland Mörzinger, Kapanu CEO.
The “mirror” uses facial scanning technology to produce 3-D scans of the patient’s mouth and then matches them with scans of “good teeth” that have been used for the procedure previously. The “good teeth” are then superimposed onto the patient’s real teeth in a live video, and in a consultation with a dentist, tweaks can be made in real time to their color and shape.
According to the brand, this is more advanced than anything on the market currently and should help improve communication between patients and their dentists. “Expectations can be better managed from the start, so as to avoid any disappointments,” Mörzinger explained.
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Chevy Chase, MD, cosmetic dentist Claudia Cotca, DDS, says various forms of this technology have been available for some time, from simpler versions to more rapidly generated real-time adaptations of smile enhancement and modification, such as the placement of dental implants. “To both clinicians and patients, the real question is how accurate the results of this type of technology are, in terms of real smile accuracy,” she explains. “The function of an active smile may be different than the digital representation. However, at our practice, we appreciate what these digital smile advancements have to offer. It is always exciting to see more availability of advanced products, but a key factor in whether or not dentists will offer these modalities is the cost to the patient, which is currently yet to be determined with this new technology.”
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