• dental models;
  • digital model;
  • plaster model;
  • reproducibility;
  • validity

To cite this article: Fleming PS, Marinho V, Johal A: Orthodontic measurements on digital study models compared with plaster models: a systematic review Orthod Craniofac Res 2011;14:1–16


Authors –  Fleming PS, Marinho V, Johal A

The aim of this study is to evaluate the validity of the use of digital models to assess tooth size, arch length, irregularity index, arch width and crowding versus measurements generated on hand-held plaster models with digital callipers in patients with and without malocclusion. Studies comparing linear and angular measurements obtained on digital and standard plaster models were identified by searching multiple databases including MEDLINE, LILACS, BBO,, the National Research Register and Pro-Quest Dissertation Abstracts and Thesis database, without restrictions relating to publication status or language of publication. Two authors were involved in study selection, quality assessment and the extraction of data. Items from the Quality Assessment of Studies of Diagnostic Accuracy included in Systematic Reviews checklist were used to assess the methodological quality of included studies. No meta-analysis was conducted. Comparisons between measurements of digital and plaster models made directly within studies were reported, and the difference between the (repeated) measurement means for digital and plaster models were considered as estimates. Seventeen relevant studies were included. Where reported, overall, the absolute mean differences between direct and indirect measurements on plaster and digital models were minor and clinically insignificant. Orthodontic measurements with digital models were comparable to those derived from plaster models. The use of digital models as an alternative to conventional measurement on plaster models may be recommended, although the evidence identified in this review is of variable quality.