Estimation of root inclination of anterior teeth from virtual study models: accuracy of a commercial software
Athanasios, Athanasiou E
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Background: The aim of the study was to assess the accuracy of commercially available software in estimating anterior tooth root inclination from digital impressions of the crowns of the teeth. Subjects and methods: Following sample size calculation and application of inclusion and exclusion criteria, 55 anterior natural teeth derived from 14 dry human skulls were selected. Impressions were taken and plaster study models were fabricated. Plaster models were scanned using the high-resolution mode of an Ortho Insight 3D laser scanner. The teeth on the digital scans were segmented and virtual roots were predicted and constructed by the Ortho Insight 3D software. The 55 natural teeth were removed from the dry skulls and scanned using the Identica extraoral white-light scanner in order to calculate their actual root angulation. The teeth were scanned twice, once to acquire the crown and the cervical part of the root, and a second time to acquire the remaining part of the root, including the apex. The two scanned segments were joined in software by superimposing them along their common part. The accuracy of the digital models generated by the Ortho Insight 3D scanner in predicting root angulation was assessed by comparing these results to the corresponding measurements of the 55 natural teeth. The long axes of the tooth models obtained from the software prediction and the scanning of the actual teeth were computed and the discrepancy between them was evaluated. The error of the methods was evaluated by repeating the measurements on 14 teeth and showed an acceptable range. Results: The predicted tooth angulation was found to differ significantly from the actual angulation, both statistically and clinically. The angle between the predicted and actual long axes ranged from 2.0 to 37.6°(average 9.7°; median 7.4°). No statistically significant difference was found between tooth categories. Conclusions: Further investigations and improvements of the software are needed before it can be considered clinically effective.