The feasibility of a three-dimensional charting interface for general dentistry

Titus K.L. Schleyer, Thankam P. Thyvalikakath, Pat Malatack, Michael Marotta, Tej A. Shah, Purin Phanichphant, Greg Price, Jason Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Background. Most current paper- and computer-based formats for patient documentation use a two-dimensional dental chart, a design that originated almost 150 years ago in the United States. No studies have investigated the inclusion of a three-dimensional (3-D) charting interface in a general dental record. Methods. A multidisciplinary research team with expertise in human-computer interaction, dental informatics and computer science conducted a 14-week project to develop and evaluate a proof of concept for a 3-D dental record. Through several iterations of paper- and computer-based prototypes, the project produced a high-fidelity (hi-fi) prototype that was evaluated by two dentists and two dental students. Results. The project implemented a prototypical patient record built around a 3-D model of a patient's maxillofacial structures. Novel features include automatic retrieval of images and radiographs; a flexible view of teeth, soft tissue and bone; access to historical patient data through a timeline; and the ability to focus on a single tooth. Conclusions. Users tests demonstrated acceptance for the basic design of the prototype, but also identified several challenges in developing intuitive, easy-to-use navigation methods and hi-fi representations in a 3-D record. Clinical Implications. Test participants in this project accepted the preliminary design of a 3-D dental record. Significant further research must be conducted before the concept can be applied and evaluated in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1072-1080
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Dental informatics
  • Evaluation
  • Prototype
  • Three-dimensional patient records
  • User-centered design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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