Evaluation of the appreciation of virtual teeth with and without pathology
Virtual teeth with and without tooth pathology have been developed for use in a virtual learning environment in dental education. The objective of this study was to evaluate the appearance of these virtual teeth for use in dental education and to compare them with contemporary educational models, such as plastic teeth (Frasaco GmbH) and extracted human teeth.
Material and methods
Six sets of photographs representing six different teeth were shown to dentists, teachers (dentists) and dental students (bachelor's and master's degree students). Each set consisted of 15 pictures showing five views of the extracted human tooth, the similar virtual tooth and the plastic tooth. The five views represented the mesial, distal, occlusal, buccal and lingual surfaces. The virtual tooth was the same as the extracted tooth (scanned with a cone beam CT, coloured and edited in ColorMapEditor®), and the plastic tooth presented the best possible match to the extracted tooth. The participants were asked to rate the appearance of the virtual teeth (overall and in terms of caries, restoration and colours), whether the virtual or plastic teeth resembled the extracted teeth better and from which teeth they expected to learn the most (extracted, virtual or plastic).
Each group of participants found that the virtual teeth resembled the extracted teeth more than they resembled the plastic teeth; 71% of the participants expected to learn more from the virtual teeth than from the plastic teeth.
The results show that the appearance of the virtual teeth was considered more realistic than the appearance of the plastic teeth. The expectation was that the learning opportunities of the virtual teeth are better than of the plastic teeth.