Modeling of Inlays

The design process of an inlay restoration involves representing the surface of the fitting inlay. This can be obtained by comparing the model of a prepared tooth with a library tooth model as illustrated in Fig. 8.24 (Adolph and Gurke, 2001). This figure provides a 2D illustration of a reference tooth model, the model of a prepared tooth, the adapting model obtained from Boolean difference between these two models, and the inlay model reconstructed from the adapting model.

The reference tooth model comes from modifying a library tooth model. It is paired with the model of the prepared tooth, whose geometry can be reconstructed from the digital scan data of the working tooth. The bottom surface of the inlay should be the same as the scanned surface of the prepared tooth, and the top surface of the inlay should be the same as that of the tooth model. These two surfaces are blended together in a meshing process to form the boundary surface of the inlay. Figure 8.25 shows the model of a prepared tooth and the inlay that fits into the tooth.

The inlay design can be sent to a milling machine for making the physical inlay. This automation will save time and effort for the dentists and lab technicians compared with the traditional process used in most dental practices and laboratories today.

Tooth model


Fig. 8.24 Schematic illustration of the process of generating an inlay model (Adolph and Gurke, 2001)

Adapting model

Adapting model



Fig. 8.25 A virtual tooth prepared and the inlay that fits into the preparation (Adolph and Gurke, 2001)

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