Three-Dimensional Digital Models for Rating Dental Arch Relationships in Unilateral Cleft Lip and Palate

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To determine the reliability and reproducibility of using three-dimensional digital models as an alternative to plaster models for rating dental arch relationships in patients born with unilateral cleft lip and palate.


Reliability and reproducibility study.


Study models of 45 patients born with unilateral cleft lip and palate were made available in plaster and three-dimensional digital models. Records were scored a week apart by three examiners using the 5-year-olds' index reference models in the same two formats as the patient models. To assess reproducibility the study was repeated 4 weeks later under similar conditions to minimize the influence of memory bias on the results. The reliability of using the three-dimensional digital models was determined by comparing the scores for each examiner with the plaster model scores.


Weighted kappa statistics indicated repeatability for the plaster models was very good (.83 to .87). For the three-dimensional digital models it was good to very good (.74 to .83). Overall, the use of the three-dimensional digital models showed good agreement with the plaster model scores on both occasions.


Three-dimensional digital models appear to be a good alternative to plaster models for assessing dental arch relationships using the 5-year-olds' index.

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