Purpose: Methods for digital dental alignment are not readily available to automatically articulate the upper and lower jaw models. The purpose of the present study was to assess the accuracy of our newly developed 3-stage automatic digital articulation approach by comparing it with the reference standard of orthodontist-articulated occlusion. Materials and Methods: Thirty pairs of stone dental models from double-jaw orthognathic surgery patients who had undergone 1-piece Le Fort I osteotomy were used. Two experienced orthodontists manually articulated the models to their perceived final occlusion for surgery. Each pair of models was then scanned twice—while in the orthodontist-determined occlusion and again with the upper and lower models separated and positioned randomly. The separately scanned models were automatically articulated to the final occlusion using our 3-stage algorithm, resulting in an algorithm-articulated occlusion (experimental group). The models scanned together represented the manually articulated occlusion (control group). A qualitative evaluation was completed using a 3-point categorical scale by the same orthodontists, who were unaware of the methods used to articulate the models. A quantitative evaluation was also completed to determine whether any differences were present in the midline, canine, and molar relationships between the algorithm-determined and manually articulated occlusions using repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). Finally, the mean ± standard deviation values were computed to determine the differences between the 2 methods. Results: The results of the qualitative evaluation revealed that all the algorithm-articulated occlusions were as good as the manually articulated ones. The results of the repeated measures ANOVA found no statistically significant differences between the 2 methods [F(1,28) = 0.03; P = .87]. The mean differences between the 2 methods were all within 0.2 mm. Conclusions: The results of our study have demonstrated that dental models can be accurately, reliably, and automatically articulated using our 3-stage algorithm approach, meeting the reference standard of orthodontist-articulated occlusion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Oral Surgery