plaster model optA new study finds that the majority of accredited orthodontic postgraduate programs in the United States and Canada do not use digital study models in most cases treated in their programs. The findings appear in The Angle Orthodontist.

The study sought to investigate the extent, experience, and trends associated with digital model use, as well as the advantages of using a particular study model—digital or plaster—in postgraduate orthodontic programs in the United States and Canada. An electronic survey consisting of 14 questions was sent to 72 program directors or chairpersons of accredited programs in the United States and Canada.

The survey had a response rate of 71%, with 65% of the schools reporting they use plaster study models, while 35% report using digital models. The most common advantages of plaster models reported by respondents were the three-dimensional feel and the ability for them to be mounted on an articulatory. The most common advantages of digital models reported included the ease of storage and retrieval, and the residents’ exposure to new technology.

About one third of the plaster model users reported that they wanted to switch to digital models in the future, with 12% of respondents planning to do so within 1 year.