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Am J Orthod. 1984 Nov;86(5):371-85.

Prediction of mandibular rotation: an empirical test of clinician performance.


An experiment was conducted in an attempt to determine empirically how effective a number of expert clinicians were at differentiating "backward rotators" from "forward rotators" on the basis of head-film information which might reasonably have been available to them prior to instituting treatment for the correction of Class II malocclusion. As a result of a previously reported ongoing study, pre- and posttreatment head films were available for 188 patients treated in the mixed dentition for the correction of Class II malocclusion and for 50 untreated Class II subjects. These subjects were divided into 14 groups (average size of group, 17; range, 6 to 23) solely on the basis of type of treatment and the clinician from whose clinic the records had originated. From within each group, we selected the two or three subjects who had exhibited the most extreme backward rotation and the two or three subjects who had exhibited the most extreme forward rotation of the mandible during the interval between films. The sole criterion for classification was magnitude of change in the mandibular plane angle of Downs between the pre- and posttreatment films of each patient. The resulting sample contained 32 backward-rotator subjects and 32 forward-rotator subjects. Five expert judges (mean clinical experience, 28 years) were asked to identify the backward-rotator subjects by examination of the pretreatment films. The findings may be summarized as follows: (1) No judge performed significantly better than chance. (2) There was strong evidence that the judges used a shared, though relatively ineffective, set of rules in making their discriminations between forward and backward rotators. (3) Statistical analysis of the predictive power of a set of standard cephalometric measurements which had previously been made for this set of subjects indicated that the numerical data also failed to identify potential backward rotators at a rate significantly better than chance. We infer from these findings that the ability of clinicians to identify backward rotators on the basis of information available at the outset of treatment is poor. Hence, we believe that it is unlikely that such predictions play any consequential operational role in the planning of successful orthodontic therapy at the present state of the art.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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