New software-based learning tool makes study of dental anatomy interactive

Portola Valley 24 February 2003Dental and hygiene schools face challenging goals when teaching dental anatomy. Schools must provide quality education, preserve funds and resources as well as enhance students' understanding of anatomic interrelationships. Brown and Herbranson Imaging has created a unique three-dimensional imaging, interactive visualisation technology designed to help schools fulfil these goals.


Brown and Herbranson Imaging's first application of this technology is a learning tool dedicated to the understanding of dental anatomy. Called ToothAtlas, this learning tool is an interactive, software-based virtual environment that helps students study anatomy more efficiently and accurately. It is also a reference tool for health practitioners and educators.

ToothAtlas provides an immersive environment for students and educators that revolutionises current health science educational software by:

  • providing complete virtual 3D models of human dentition
  • illustrating the interrelationships between different structures and elements of human dentition
  • including the first ever available dental x-ray database
  • increasing the efficiency of current educational methodology
  • providing self-study quizzes and exams used for review and study during class as well as for National Board Examinations

"Applying our interactive software learning tools in the classroom makes it easier for educators to assign study elements; include visuals and content in lectures; generate tests and quizzes; and to serve as a clinical resource before or after working on live human patients", stated Dr. Paul Brown, co-founder and president of Brown and Herbranson Imaging.

ToothAtlas offers a comprehensive resource on the morphology of human dentition. ToothAtlas combines two innovative, complimentary approaches to learning dental anatomy:

  1. a collection of images of over 150 teeth that can be viewed in 3D stereo and
  2. a comprehensive anthology of the published information on teeth

Each tooth is photographed, micro CT scanned, and serial cross-sectioned. The results are computer models that can be interactively rotated in three axes, as well as rendered transparent to illustrate pulp anatomy. ToothAtlas also includes a series of accurate drawings based on dimensions published in all current textbooks as well as a compendium of didactic information.

Using ToothAtlas, educators no longer need to create their own visual library of human and dental anatomy. ToothAtlas' visual content library and atlas of dental anatomy are educational tools that allow educators to access the database and incorporate realistic examples into their classroom PowerPoint presentations and laboratory manuals. Brown and Herbranson Imaging's ToothAtlas also serves as a visual reference, a resource of terminology, a clinical glossary, and a self study-guide for students complete with 800 quiz questions.

Founded in 1999, Dr. Paul Brown and Dr. Eric Herbranson began Brown and Herbranson Imaging to focus their combined 60 years experience as dental practitioners, educators and innovators in visual sciences on the needs and requirements of health science educators and students studying human and dental anatomy. Brown and Herbranson Imaging's innovations and efforts in the advancement of health science are supported by the National Institute of Health, NASA Stanford Biocomputation Center, Stanford Summit, and The Smithsonian Institute.

ToothAtlas will be presented at a lecture during the American Association of Endodontists annual meeting in Tampa Florida, May 2, 2003. Version 1.0 of ToothAtlas is available now to educators as a demo and can be obtained by contacting Dr. Paul Brown of Brown and Herbranson Imaging. More information on Brown and Herbranson Imaging and their new learning tool can be found at the ToothAtlas Web site.

Leslie Versweyveld

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