The PTC Triple A° Smile Libraries for 3Shape

Our large Ness Teeth have been the stable reference for teaching tooth form in hundreds of PTC laboratories since the late 1970’s.  Lab owners asked for years to have smile libraries based on the Ness Teeth so they could produce digital restorations that look like their traditional crowns and bridges.  We looked at lots of tooth libraries to see what we liked and didn’t like, and what made the job of digital design easier or harder.  After studying the best of what was available, we developed a strategy for a set of libraries that would maximize productivity while closely matching the surrounding dentition.

The result is the PTC Triple A° Smile Libraries, based on the Ness Teeth in 5 stages of wear.

Unlike other libraries which are based on scans of natural teeth, denture teeth or waxups that are then digitally flattened and smoothed to simulate wear, we started with 5 sets of full size Ness Teeth.  We abraded the teeth to simulate natural attrition, flattening the cusps and ridges where they would naturally flatten, resulting in fossae and grooves that look like naturally worn anatomy.  We then scanned in the models and reduced them to real tooth size, resulting in very realistically worn surfaces in high detail.  The teeth were then set up in libraries that retain all the features of real dentition, such as the curve of Spee and the curve of Wilson, and the esthetic features that we teach such as the smile line, age-appropriate tooth length, long axes and the central incisors flat to the front of the mouth.

It’s easy to pick the library that most closely matches the natural dentition, and since the teeth are worn as they would wear naturally, the amount of occlusal adjustment is minimized.  Size the tooth to fit the space, eliminate the high spots, and in no time you have a design that harmonizes with the other teeth while still retaining all the features of the original anatomy.  These five libraries are included:

The Ness Teeth

Scans of the original Ness Teeth, reduced to average tooth size and set up in a basic esthetic composition. This library is best used for young, highly anatomical teeth.


All the anatomy of the Ness Teeth, but we’ve softened the edges and partially filled the deepest grooves and pits to make them easily millable and printable. There are no signs of wear on the teeth.

Middle Aged

This is the library you’ll use on the majority of cases. They’re softer and flatter, with light attrition of occlusal cusps and ridges, cuspid points, and the incisal edges of the centrals.  The proximal contacts are slightly worn, resulting in slightly closed embrasures.  These 30° teeth blend in extremely well on so many cases!


The worn library will be your second favorite.  The angles of the cusps have been reduced to about 20°, and much more of the occlusal surface has been worn away, yet the teeth still retain all the features of occlusal anatomy.  The incisals of the centrals and cuspids are clearly worn, and the contacts and embrasures show more wear as well.


You know how difficult it is to take a standard library tooth and make it match those bombed-out cases.  When you’re done, you’ve got a flat pancake squished between two coffee cups.  Not any more.  These 15° teeth blend in perfectly with those cases while retaining hints of all the anatomical features, just like real teeth.

You’ll also love how great your designs look with actual CEJs and gingival embrasures, instead of just flat walls curving into the margins.  No more stretching those bullet-shaped pontics to try to make them look like teeth emerging from the gingiva!  Just match the fullness of the adjacent teeth, and the pontics will blend right in with the rest of the bridge.

Click here for a slide show demonstrating the Triple A° smile libraries and how they look on real models.  The libraries for 3Shape are available here for just $495!

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