Clinical feasibility evaluation of digital dental articulation for three-piece maxillary orthognathic surgery: a proof-of-concept study

C. J. Frick, H. H. Deng, J. D. English, H. B. Jacob, T. Kuang, M. K. Grissom, D. Kim, J. Gateno, J. J. Xia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Digital dental articulation for three-piece maxillary orthognathic surgery is challenging. The purpose of this proof-of-concept study was to evaluate the clinical feasibility of a newly developed mathematical algorithm to digitally establish the final occlusion for three-piece maxillary surgery. Five patients with jaw deformities who had undergone a three-piece double-jaw surgery that was planned virtually were randomly selected for this study. The final occlusion had been hand-articulated using stone casts, scanned into the computer and used in the surgery. These hand-articulated occlusions served as the control group. To form the experimental group, the three-piece maxillary dental arch was articulated again automatically from the patient's original occlusion using the mathematical algorithm. The hand- and algorithm-articulated occlusions were then evaluated qualitatively by two experienced orthodontists. A quantitative evaluation was also performed. The results of the qualitative evaluation showed that all of the three-piece occlusions, hand- and algorithm-articulated, were clinically acceptable based on the American Board of Orthodontics grading system. When compared, two of the algorithm-articulated occlusions were clearly better (40%), one was the same (20%), and two were slightly worse (40%) than the hand-articulated occlusions. All of the quantitative measurements were comparable between the two articulation methods. In conclusion, the results of this study demonstrate that it is clinically feasible to digitally articulate the three-piece maxillary arch to the intact mandibular dental arch.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1043-1049
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Algorithms
  • Feasibility studies
  • Le Fort osteotomy
  • computer-aided surgery
  • dental occlusion
  • orthognathic surgery
  • workflow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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