Comparison of digitally assessed quality of posterior crown preparations performed with and without previous practice on patient-specific three-dimensional-printed teeth models

Jorge A. Tricio, Catalina Braithwaite, Constanza M. Herrera, Daniela P. Vicuña, Franco R. Cacciuttolo, Gilbert A. Jorquera, Mario F. Gutiérrez, Christian G. Córdova, Pablo A. Villalón, Gustavo A. Moncada, Renzo A. Casanova, María I. González, Macarena A. Ilić Dent, César A. Orsini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: 3D-printing technology can provide customizable simulations, but its effects on patient care quality have not been well studied. This study aimed to assess the impact of practicing with patient-specific 3D-printed teeth models on the quality of 'patients' dental preparations performed by students transitioning to clinical training. Accordingly, the quality of posterior crown preparations was evaluated by objectively analyzing digital scans and grades in two groups: the study group, which practiced beforehand with patient-specific 3D-printed teeth models, and the control group, which did not practice with these models.

METHODS: All seventy-eight fourth-year dental students who had just finished their fixed prosthodontics course at the simulation laboratory with training on phantom heads and without previous clinical experience in crown preparations were invited to participate in the study. sixty-eight agreed to take part and were randomly divided into a study group that practiced crown preparations on 3D-printed models of their own 'patient's teeth and a control group that did not practice with 3D-printed models and started their clinical work straightforward after simulation training. Students completed validated perception questionnaires on self-confidence and clinical skills before and after the protocol, which were compared using a chi-squared test. Crown preparations performed on 3D-printed models and then on patients were digitally scanned and objectively graded by prepCheck® software for critical parameters, such as undercuts, taper, and occlusion reduction. Non-parametric tests were used to compare preparations on 3D-printed models and on patients performed by the study group and those on patients made by the control group.

RESULTS: Initially, both groups reported similar perceptions of self-confidence and clinical skills levels. The study group significantly improved both aspects after the protocol. Analysis of the scanned preparations demonstrated that the study group removed less tooth structure from actual patients than from the initial 3D-printed models. In contrast, the control group showed excess occlusal clearance in their patients compared to the study group.

CONCLUSIONS: Practicing patient-specific 3D-printed teeth before performing procedures clinically appears to enhance preparation quality and minimize unnecessary tooth reduction in early clinical experiences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dental Education
Early online date16 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Apr 2024


  • Dental education
  • 3D printing
  • clinical skills
  • digital dentistry
  • dental education

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