How do dentists learn to spot oral health problems? If it's bad breath they're looking for, they probably don't require any training in order to detect it. But what about other dental conditions? What goes into learning about the diseases of the teeth and gums?
A lot, as it turns out. A study published in journal Virtual Reality points a simulation-based method for teaching dentists to spot and treat periodontal disease, which is a severe form of gum inflammation and infection.
This condition occurs when bacterial growth and plaque blossom underneath the gumline. Without proper flossing, brushing or the use of specialty breath fresheners, periodontitis - as it is also called - can lead to tooth loss.
Essentially, the report describes the creation of a virtual reality system that uses 3D medical animations, stereoscopic goggles and touch-based sensors to teach oral health specialists to dig away beneath the gums at the deepest of periodontitis.
How deep can periodontal disease go? The Department of Health and Human Resources' Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Data Resource Center estimates that more than 5 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 20 have "severe destructive periodontitis," which causes the teeth at least five millimeters below the gumline.