What to prepare before creating a library
To create a library, you need STL files of the teeth you want to put in the library and the Tooth Model Editor. Don’t forget to install the exocad dongle on your PC to run the Tooth Model Editor.
Installing the Tooth Model Editor
Download the Tooth Model Editor through the link. – https://bit.ly/3tTuTLX
Running the Tooth Model Editor
Right-click on the downloaded file, select “7-Zip” and “Extract files…” and click on OK to extract the file. “exocad-ToothModelEditor-64bit-2017-04-10” folder is created. Run “ToothModelEditor.exe”.
Loading Tooth STL file
Let’s load STL files of the teeth from which you wish to make a library.
The File menu contains “Load Library Tooth”, “Load Pontic”, and “Tooth models to pontic”. It’s better to work on a tooth first because it automatically changes the tooth model to a pontic.
Let’s first compare the library tooth and the pontic files.
Left is a library tooth and right is a pontic. The bottom is empty on the left. This is the data you need to load as a library tooth.
The bottom is blocked up on the right which is a pontic. This is the data you need to load as a pontic.
Aligning to axes of the tooth.
Let me begin with the tooth. The first step is aligning to axes. Here’re three directions. Blue is buccal direction, pink is mesial direction and orange is tooth axis which is the occlusal direction.
In this case, you need to align the orientation of the tooth. Click on the “Rotate model to align” button to rotate the tooth. Drag the left mouse button to rotate the tooth smoothly.
Rotate the tooth as the buccal side faces blue, the mesial side faces pink, and the occlusal side faces orange. Turn off “Rotate model to align” after setting the direction is set. Then the tooth rotates with the fixed direction.
The mirror function
Another thing to keep in mind is that Tooth Model Editor only works with teeth #11 to #18 and #31 to #38. If you have data of teeth #21 to #28 or #41 to #48, you don’t need to worry. The program has the mirror function.
For example, here’s tooth #26. No matter how you rotate it, you can’t align it with the buccal side.
There’s “Mirror Tooth” in the Tools menu. You can change the direction of the tooth with “Mirror Tooth” Button.
Next, select the “Edit features” menu to set the tooth.
First, “Chewing surface” selects the occlusal surface.
Paint the entire occlusal surface as shown in the image below. Drag the left mouse button to paint.
If you make a mistake, don’t panic, hold down Shift and drag to remove. Or if you paint the wrong place, click on Reset and paint the correct occlusal surface.
You may adjust the brush thickness. Reduce the brush thickness to paint precisely. Adjust the brush thickness and finish painting the occlusal surface.
The next step is “Optimize Mesh for Adaptation” in the Tools menu. It’s mesh optimization which allows the library to operate smoothly in exocad. Don’t forget to proceed it.
Click “View – Wireframe” and proceed with mesh optimization to see how the mesh changes. Once confirmed, click View-Wireframe again to turn off the mesh structure.
“Incisal Edge” is only applicable to anterior teeth, so I’m going to skip it. Paint incisal edge is for the anterior teeth.
The next step is “Equator” which is a height of contour.
Draw the height of contour by rotating the tooth. When designing in exocad, there’s a function to move the tooth by fixing the height of contour. That’s why you need to set the height of contour.
Hold down Shift and drag to remove the wrong parts. You can’t save if there is the broken part. Please make sure to connect the line. Check the tooth whether the line is connected all around. Move on to the next step after the confirmation.
Next is “Cervical border”. Draw along the gingival line like the image below.
Next is “Fissure”. Draw along grooves. It doesn’t matter with the cut off groove. It doesn’t have to be a single line here.
The next step is “Approx. Contact”. Point the contact area like the image below.
Next is Cusp. There’re from Cusp 1 to Cusp 5.
Cusp 1 should always be the distobuccal cusp. From the distobuccal, it becomes Cusp 1, 2, 3, and 4 clockwise.
For tooth #4 or 5, it’s Cusp 1, 2, and 3.
Paint distobuccal cusp and little bit on the buccal side that it turns clockwise. Paint it all over like the image next to it.
Cusp 2 is mesiobuccal cusp. Paint mesiobuccal cusp all over like the image below.
Cusp 3 is mesiolingual cusp. Paint it again.
Lastly, Cusp 4 is distolingual cusp. Don’t forget to paint the cusps in a clockwise direction.
The upper tooth #6 doesn’t have Cusp 5. However, the lower tooth #6 has Cusp 5, so don’t forget to paint Cusp 5.
There are four Cusp Tips. 1, 2, 3, and 4. Mark dots like the image below.
The next one is Ridge. Draw ridges on the mesial, the lingual, and the distal sides. Of course, you can draw it separately as you wish.
If you paint the ridges together like the circle in the image below, it moves all at once.
If you want to move it separately, paint it separately. This would make it little easier when designing.
Next is Bottom. It’s a bottom for pontic so you don’t have to do it now.
After setting up to here, go to File and click on “Save”. I’m saving it as 6.eoff in the “Teeth” folder.
You need to work on these steps from tooth #1 to #8 one by one. Of course, it isn’t an easy task because it’s repetitive and difficult. However, this task is absolutely necessary to design easier in the future.
Changing the tooth model to pontics
Now, you need to change the tooth models to pontics. Let me briefly explain. There’s “Drop tooth model files or folders here to convert them to pontic” at the lower right corner of Tooth Model Editor.
Drag and drop your tooth files to ‘Drop tooth model files or folders here to convert them to pontic’ part. If you drag and drop the teeth folder to the part, tooth models will be converted.
After clicking the OK button of the message box, there’s a new folder with converted pontic files. After opening the file, select Load Pontic and 6.eoff in the tooth_model_to_pontics folder.
You can check out #6 file like the image below.
The bottom is blocked up automatically as shown in red.
A tip for free pontic movement
When you design in exocad, it’s not easy to move the pontic because the pontic base is attached to the model. Sometimes I want to move the entire pontic freely at that stage. If it’s your case as well, remove the red part on the pontic base.
If you remove the red part on the pontic base, you can move it freely on the model. This could be a good tip for you. If you are more comfortable moving the model, remove all the red part. Or if you prefer the pontic base to be fixed, paint it all in red.
Today’s lesson is about how to create the tooth and pontic files. Next lesson will be about how to apply my library into exocad. See you in the next article.