How GIS Can Help Dentists Find Cavities

Ad:

Dentistry, like general medicine, may require very precise diagnosis and location of malignant anomalies such as cavities. This has led to GIS making inroads in dentistry, where dentists now use spatial technologies for diagnosis and dental surgery. Anatomical dental charting of patients’ teeth and analysis of what can be done for intervention are one area where GIS has been used. In this method, rather than using idealized or unspecified dental mapping, imagery of patients’ teeth are overlain for planning purposes. Quarrying data and mapping features are some of the simple processes that can assist a dentist in understanding their patient and planning dental intervention.[1]

Spatial-temporal mapping is another area of interest for analyzing teeth and this utilizes x-ray diffraction as a technology that makes measurements across time from a patient’s history that can then be overlaid and analytically assessed to look at how a tooth has evolved and areas where tooth abrasion or change is evident.[2] Mapping in 3D has been another area of high interest in dentistry. For instance, mapping genetic variations of teeth is greatly assisted by 3D imaging since it allows to capture tooth shape. Different teeth are then compared and analyzed for anomalies as a way to identify MSX-1 genetic variation through morphology of teeth differences. Having 3D grids overlain with tooth morphology helps to automatically measure variations from expected norms.[3]

This 3D mapping overlay shows the difference in tooth shape and surface area between a pair of identical twins, demonstrating that factors other than genetics help determine tooth topography. Figure: Yong et al., 2014.

This 3D mapping overlay shows the difference in tooth shape and surface area between a pair of identical twins, demonstrating that factors other than genetics help determine tooth topography. Figure: Yong et al., 2014.

Another way dentistry is utilizing GIS in understanding the distribution and effectiveness in health care and access to dentists. For instance, maps of where high rates of carries and spatial indices that indicate abnormal levels of tooth decay in neighborhoods or regions are also being conducted.[4] What we are seeing are increased adoption of GIS for better understanding both tooth morphology when it comes to dental intervention but also an awareness of spatial patterns and effects in regards to dental care and access to health.

[1] For more on the use of dental mapping and GIS, see:  Bartling WC, Schleyer TK: An application of Geospatial Information System (GIS) technology to anatomic dental charting. AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2003, 786.

[2] For more information on space-time mapping techniques in understanding tooth evolution, see: Simmons, L. M., Montgomery, J., Beaumont, J., Davis, G. R., & Al-Jawad, M. (2013). Mapping the spatial and temporal progression of human dental enamel biomineralization using synchrotron X-ray diffraction. Archives of Oral Biology, 58(11), 1726–1734.

[3] For more information on tooth 3D mapping and testing for genetic variations, see: Yong, R., Ranjitkar, S., Townsend, G., Smith, R., Evans, A., Hughes, T., … Brook, A. (2014). Dental phenomics: advancing genotype to phenotype correlations in craniofacial research. Australian Dental Journal, 59, 34–47.

[4] For more information on studies that focus on mapping and analysis of regions where high rates of tooth decay or cavities are located, see:  Pereira, S. M., Ambrosano, G. M. B., Cortellazzi, K. L., Tagliaferro, E. P. S., Vettorazzi, C. A., Ferraz, S. F. B., … Pereira, A. C. (2010). Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Assessing Dental Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7(5), 2423–2436.

Related Articles


Advertising



Like this article and want more?

Enter your email to receive the weekly GIS Lounge newsletter:

Advertising