Validity of Digital and Rapid Prototyped Orthodontic Study Models


Background: The integration of modern computer-aided design and manufacturing technologies in diagnosis, treatment planning, and appliance construction is changing the way in which orthodontic treatment is provided to patients. The aim of this study is to assess the validity of digital and rapid prototyped orthodontic study models as compared to their original stone models.Materials and methods: The sample of the study consisted of 30 study models with well-aligned, Angle Class I malocclusion. The models were digitized with desktop scanner to create digital models. Digital files were then converted to plastic physical casts using prototyping machine, which utilizes the fused deposition modeling technology. Polylactic acid polymer was chosen as the printing material. Twenty four linear measurements were taken from digital and prototyped models and were compared to their original stone models “the gold standard”, utilizing the paired sample t-test and Bland-Altman plots.Results: Eighteen of the twenty four variables showed non-significant differences when digital models were compared to stone models. The levels of agreement between the two methods showed that all differences were within the clinically accepted limits. For prototyped models, more than half of the variables differed in non-significant amount. The levels of agreement were also within the clinically accepted limits.Conclusion: Digital orthodontic study models are accurate in measuring the selected variables and they have the potential to replace conventional stone models. The selected rapid prototyping technique proved to be accurate in term of diagnosis and might be suitable for some appliance construction