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Education using clear aligners and digital workflows in graduate orthodontic residency programs

Published:October 17, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1053/j.sodo.2022.10.003
      The goal of this resident survey study was to investigate preparedness among orthodontic residents in providing orthodontic treatment with clear aligners and manage the digital workflow for in-house fabrication of clear aligners.
      A survey questionnaire was emailed to all active AAO resident members which included recent graduates of 2021 (n=1,124) to evaluate didactic education, clinical experience, confidence levels and the residents' future practice plans with regards to clear aligner therapy. Inferential statistics were restricted to bivariate analysis employing Pearson's chi-square tests, CMH tests, and unpaired Student's t-test (p=0.05).
      A total of 277 Orthodontic residents responded to the survey, with an overall response rate of 25%. Nearly 50% of the residents did not receive didactic classes on clear aligner therapy or fabrication. About 13-17% of the respondents did not have access to CBCT, digital teeth alignment software or 3D printed models. A significant decrease in confidence was found among residents who did not receive this training in their residency programs.
      Based on the findings of our survey, thorough training and education of the technology used in clear aligner therapy has the potential to improve residents' confidence and competence in utilizing 3D technology and clear aligners in their future practice.
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