Background: The "tooth morphology" course is an important basic stomatology course. But it is difficult to fully reflect the 3D morphological characteristics of tooth structure in the two-dimensional pictures in traditional textbooks. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of 3D-printed plastic model teeth in the teaching of tooth morphology.
Methods: Forty-five undergraduate stomatology students who had matriculated at the Fourth Medical University in 2014 and 23 who had matriculated in 2016 were involved in the study. Each student who matriculated in 2016 was given a full set of 14 standard 3D-printed plastic model teeth for use during the learning process, and an anonymous questionnaire was used to evaluate the 3D-printed plastic model teeth from the perspective of the students.
Results: There was no significant difference in the scores of the theoretical examination and the total score between the two groups. However, for the score of the sculpted gypsum teeth, students who used the 3D-printed plastic model teeth in their studies scored significantly higher (P=0.002). More than 90% of the students thought that the 3D-printed plastic model teeth were of great help or were very helpful for mastering the anatomy of teeth and for carving the plaster teeth.
Conclusion: The standard 3D-printed plastic teeth can effectively assist students in learning tooth morphology by transforming the two-dimensional pictures and descriptions in the textbook into a 3D conformation, effectively promoting students' learning and mastery of tooth morphology and structure. Additionally, the results suggest that the 3D-printed plastic teeth are of great help to the students in mastering and improving their carving skills.