Deep Multi-Scale Mesh Feature Learning for Automated Labeling of Raw Dental Surfaces from 3D Intraoral Scanners

Chunfeng Lian, Li Wang, Tai Hsien Wu, Fan Wang, Pew Thian Yap, Ching Chang Ko, Dinggang Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Precisely labeling teeth on digitalized 3D dental surface models is the precondition for tooth position rearrangements in orthodontic treatment planning. However, it is a challenging task primarily due to the abnormal and varying appearance of patients' teeth. The emerging utilization of intraoral scanners (IOSs) in clinics further increases the difficulty in automated tooth labeling, as the raw surfaces acquired by IOS are typically low-quality at gingival and deep intraoral regions. In recent years, some pioneering end-to-end methods (e.g., PointNet) have been proposed in the communities of computer vision and graphics to consume directly raw surface for 3D shape segmentation. Although these methods are potentially applicable to our task, most of them fail to capture fine-grained local geometric context that is critical to the identification of small teeth with varying shapes and appearances. In this paper, we propose an end-to-end deep-learning method, called MeshSegNet, for automated tooth labeling on raw dental surfaces. Using multiple raw surface attributes as inputs, MeshSegNet integrates a series of graph-constrained learning modules along its forward path to hierarchically extract multi-scale local contextual features. Then, a dense fusion strategy is applied to combine local-to-global geometric features for the learning of higher-level features for mesh cell annotation. The predictions produced by our MeshSegNet are further post-processed by a graph-cut refinement step for final segmentation. We evaluated MeshSegNet using a real-patient dataset consisting of raw maxillary surfaces acquired by 3D IOS. Experimental results, performed 5-fold cross-validation, demonstrate that MeshSegNet significantly outperforms state-of-the-art deep learning methods for 3D shape segmentation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8984309
Pages (from-to)2440-2450
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
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  • 3D intraoral scanners
  • 3D shape segmentation
  • automated tooth labeling
  • geometric deep learning
  • orthodontic treatment planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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