Alveolar Molding Effect in Infants With Unilateral Cleft Lip and Palate: Comparison of Two- and Three-Dimensional Measurements

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The purpose of this study was to compare the results of two- (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) measurements for the alveolar molding effect in patients with unilateral cleft lip and palate. The sample consisted of 23 unilateral cleft lip and palate infants treated with nasoalveolar molding (NAM) appliance. Dental models were fabricated at initial visit (T0; mean age, 23.5 days after birth) and after alveolar molding therapy (T1; mean duration, 83 days). For 3D measurement, virtual models were constructed using a laser scanner and 3D software. For 2D measurement, 1:1 ratio photograph images of dental models were scanned by a scanner. After setting of common reference points and lines for 2D and 3D measurements, 7 linear and 5 angular variables were measured at the T0 and T1 stages, respectively. Wilcoxon signed rank test and Bland–Altman analysis were performed for statistical analysis. The alveolar molding effect of the maxilla following NAM treatment was inward bending of the anterior part of greater segment, forward growth of the lesser segment, and decrease in the cleft gap in the greater segment and lesser segment. Two angular variables showed difference in statistical interpretation of the change by NAM treatment between 2D and 3D measurements (ΔACG–BG–PG and ΔACL–BL–PL). However, Bland–Altman analysis did not exhibit significant difference in the amounts of change in these variables between the 2 measurements. These results suggest that the data from 2D measurement could be reliably used in conjunction with that from 3D measurement.

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