Digital rendering of a human mandible

Human adults can have up to 32 teeth if they have all of their wisdom teeth- 16 in the upper jaw and 16 in lower jaw (mandible). But if you visited an anatomy lab to see a collection of real human skulls used as study aids, you’d have a hard time finding a skull with a complete set of teeth. In such study specimens, the teeth are easily lost or cracked which makes it difficult to learn dental anatomy fully without turning to a model or illustrated reference.

We created this digital rendering of a human mandible with a complete set of teeth in Blender by combining CT scans of multiple, real human skulls. On each side of the mandible you can see the two incisors, one canine (or cuspid), two premolars (or bicuspids), and three molars (including one wisdom tooth). The slightly oblique view simultaneously shows the lateral aspect of the right side of the mandible, including the right mental foramen, and the medial aspect of the left side of the mandible, including the left mandibular foramen.

The appearance of real bone and teeth was achieved by using custom materials and the subtle reflection on the surface was created by positioning the mandible on a black, partially reflective material. Six point lights cast shadows that provide definition for the foramina, grooves, tooth cusps, and the periodontal space surrounding the root of each tooth.

Created by: Aaron Olsen, PhD

Software used: 3D Slicer for CT segmentation, Meshlab for initial mesh processing, Blender for rendering

License: CC BY-NC-SA 3D Anatomy Studios