As a long-time faculty member of the School of Dental Medicine, Dr. T. Roma Jasinevicius (known affectionately as Dr. J) teaches comprehensive care to first- and second-year students. Part of this foundational course is learning how the anatomy (and thus mobility) of the jaw affects the shape and pathways of the teeth. These tiny three-dimensional structures and relationships are very difficult to describe in 2-D, so Dr. J saw an opportunity to clarify using mixed reality.
In the app developed during her fellowship year (Jaws At Work, or JAW), users come face to face with an enormous skull and teeth. The instructor can initiate, pause, and change the mandible’s movement and trace the trajectory of any individual cusp through the movement. The skull can be scaled up or down so that users could even stand fully inside the jaws to analyze the relationships. Eventually, Dr. J and her colleagues plan to add additional anatomical structures of the head and neck (such as musculature and nerves) to teach anesthesia placement and potentially other procedures, such as orthodontia and implants.