I've heard a lot about Blender and want to evaluate it as a 3D CAD software for dental treatment planning. Example use cases are:

  1. Given a 3D scanned (.STL) dental arch model, how easy is to separate each tooth

  2. After step #1 (lets' call it teeth segmenting), when an individual tooth is translated, rotated, (not scaled) arbitrarily, how easy is to fill the 'holes' that are left behind. (Actually the gap between tooth and the gum)

  3. Is it possible to generate a 3D matrix (or any other transformation representation) of the teeth's new position/orientation ?

  4. Can 3D data exported from Blender be integrated in any type of web app (to be shown as animation of 'before' and 'after'?

The objective is to use Blender in virtual treatment planning as used by large clear aligner companies (they use proprietary software but I guess all that can be done in modern 3D softwares)

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ answering to questions like "how easy?" could be quite difficult, as it depends on your skills in Blender (the same could be said for other similar tools). All I can say, it has many tools to operate on meshes, and since you also have the source, you could hire someone to develop some very specific tool (or better an addon, even commercial). Blender can do 1,2,3 & 4 for sure, if this answer your question. $\endgroup$ – m.ardito Dec 1 '15 at 12:16
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    $\begingroup$ Have you checked out this website: sites.google.com/site/blenderdental/home $\endgroup$ – Abel Dec 1 '15 at 12:17
  • $\begingroup$ I'm inclined to close this as too broad but I think the main query is an ok question as it relates to asking how suitable Blender is for more specific CAD type work. $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Dec 1 '15 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ The Google site is out of date. Check out github.com/patmo141/odc_public $\endgroup$ – patmo141 Apr 3 '16 at 2:55

I don't know how well this question can be answered, but I'll give it a shot.

1. I believe the difficulty of separating out individual teeth depends on:

  • The quality of your scan data
  • Your modeling skills
  • Your knowledge of anatomy
  • Any additional data you may have to reference (x-rays?)

In the 3D scan there is no differentiation between tooth and bone, so you have to recreate it. Taking x-ray images to accompany your 3D scan data may help significantly by letting you see where one ends and the other begins - and ideally you will want at least a front and a side view.

2. This is an extension of the idea in Part 1. Filling holes is easy, as far as modeling goes. The accuracy however, will depend on the data you have available and your abilities.

3. I'm not clear on what you mean by "3D matrix". 3D coordinate data is always represented as a matrix, but I don't think that's what you mean here. In any case there are many ways to present your 3D models in Blender, including using animation. If you describe what you mean in more detail I can probably address this point better.

4. You can use Blend4Web to embed your Blender scenes in a web page. Since it does not require any browser plug-ins anyone can view it, even on mobile devices. The details of how to do this are beyond the scope of this question, but you can learn about it on the Blend4Web site.

Here is a related dental modeling question worth looking at.

The link in Abel's comment looks promising as well, although I'm not familiar with it.

Good luck and please let us know how it works out.


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