Dentistry and mixed reality

A summary of: Blanchard, J., Koshal, S., Morley, S. et al. The use of mixed reality in dentistry. Br Dent J 233, 261–265 (2022)
doi: 10.1038/s41415-022-4451-z.

What is meant by the term “Mixed reality”?

  • Mixed reality, when the real and virtual worlds are merged, allowing the coexistence and real time interaction of digital and physical objects. It can also be linked to virtual and augmented realities, which also contributes to the development of technology in the dental field. Regarding the field of healthcare, research has mostly been conducted for medical use, more than it is for dentistry. According to the author, the research for mixed reality in dentistry and its potential has been limited and understudied.

Microsoft HoloLens

  • Microsoft HoloLens is a device that is capable of supplying a 3D platform in real-time, with the use of numerous sensors and holographic processing that presents information and can even cause the stimulation of a virtual world. Currently, the software is more developed in the medical field, such as converting cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) and computerized tomography (CT) scans into 3D holograms. The author believes that with the right advanced, evolving technology, HoloLens can be used to enhance the dental field’s education and resources, as well as play a vital role in surgical planning. The author also presents a few cases that are used by the mixed reality device, and shows why it is a valuable source.

Potential of Mixed reality:

  • The author expressed three concepts in regards to mixed reality in dentistry. The first concept was surgical planning. There were multiple medical procedures that were carried out using mixed reality devices, and a few dental. The dental procedures were dental implant cases and the device was used as a digital stent in regards to the plan and location in which the procedure had to be carried out.
  • The second concept was to improve patient communication and the process of consent. Research has shown that Virtual Reality can actually reduce a patient’s anxiety regarding their surgical procedure and treatment, and due to them having a better understanding of their health care, it makes them more aware and informed of their health care decision.
  • The third and last concept was the advancement this technology could have on dental education. The author states that this technology could be extremely beneficial and educational for students because it will provide them with a safe, resourceful training environment that is also cost-effective. The author is aware of its potential, and is offering AR technology to be used as an alternative method for teaching instead of the standard anatomy teaching method. The software has so much potential in benefiting and enhancing dental education, however, it is still understudied and not much research is going into it.


  • In conclusion, this review suggests that the development of mixed reality technology would highly benefit the dental field and might be revolutionary. The author expressed which aspects could be developed in regards to the software and its development could open the door to unlimited possibilities that could change the face of dentistry. 

Research Summary Written By: Albatool Sadoon, University of Manchester – BDS1

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