Reliability of three-dimensional digital casts as a diagnostic tool for orthodontic treatment planning: a pilot study

AIM: the fast and continuous advances in computer sciences have resulted in an increased usage of new technologies in all levels of the modern society. Orthodontics has also been influenced by this phenomenon. Digital radiographs and photographs have been commonly used in Orthodontics offices. Recently, digital study models have been advertised as the latest component of fully digitized orthodontic records. When a new diagnostic technology becomes available it may initially generate controversy, and with digital orthodontic casts it has not been different. Some orthodontists may question the reliability of this new diagnostic tool since there is not enough literature to support the substitution from traditional stone casts to digital models. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to compare the reliability of digital orthodontic models and stone casts as a diagnostic aid. METHODS: three examiners measured the width of the permanent teeth, intercanine and intermolar distances, overbite and overjet of stone and the corresponding digital casts from six patients. A digital caliper was used for measuring the stone casts and the eModel software to evaluate the digital models. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: the results of this study showed no statistically significant difference among any of the measurements tested, except by the width of the lower second right premolar (p<0.05). However, these differences were not considered clinically relevant. These findings show that digital orthodontic casts are as reliable as stone study models as a diagnostic tool for orthodontic treatment planning. The easy data storage, the lower risk of breakage during its handling and transportation, and also the shorter time needed to obtain the diagnostic information were considered additional advantages of this new technology.

Study models; Orthodontic models; Digital casts; eModel

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