The precision of computer-generated surgical splints

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2003 Jul;61(7):814-7. doi: 10.1016/s0278-2391(03)00240-4.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the precision of stereolithographic surgical splints generated by the authors' computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technique by comparing them with the conventional acrylic splints.

Materials and methods: Seven volunteers were used. A pair of surgical splints, stereolithographic and conventional acrylic splints, was fabricated for each subject. A novel method was developed to quantify the airspace between the teeth and the splint. Conventional acrylic surgical splints served as a control group. The airspaces were recorded by impression materials and sliced cross-sectionally. Corresponding areas of the cross-sectional airspaces between stereolithographic and acrylic splints were measured and compared. Pearson's correlation coefficient and linear regression tests were performed.

Results: Seven pairs of surgical splints were created. The areas of 98 pairs of cross-sectional airspaces were measured. The average difference between the conventional and the STL splints was 0.24 +/- 0.23 mm(2). The correlation coefficient (r) of the airspace areas between the stereolithographic and conventional acrylic splints was 1.00, and the regression coefficient (beta) was 1.03 (P <.01).

Conclusions: The results indicated that the stereolithographic splints, generated by the authors' CAD/CAM technique, had a high degree of accuracy. The fit of the STL splints was the same as the conventional surgical splints. In the future, traditional plaster dental model surgery will be replaced by computer-assisted surgical planning. The surgical splints will be made in the computer and the treatment plan will be directly transferred to the patient.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acrylic Resins
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Computer-Aided Design*
  • Dental Impression Materials / chemistry
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Splints*
  • Surface Properties


  • Acrylic Resins
  • Dental Impression Materials