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APPLICATION OF GRAPH THEORY IN DIAGNOSIS OF MALOCCLUSION

ABSTRACT: The objective of this article is to use graph theory as a modality to simplify and explain the properties of complex biological processes in orthodontics so as to aid in diagnosis and treatment planning. Network analysis, an innovative statistical tool, provides a new approach to understand complex problems. It is a graphical model that encodes probabilistic relationship among variables of interest. When used in combination with statistical technique this graphic model which illustrates the causal relationship among different variables and hence can be used to gain understanding about a problem and predict the consequences of intervention. Orthodontics deals with correction of malocclusion and other dentofacial anomalies which usually have a complex multifactorial etiology. Diagnosis and treatment planning may need the correlation of the clinical, radiographic, and the functional data. The use of graph theory to analyse these datas can drastically reduce the complexity of the pertaining problem. The topology of the dentofacial system obtained by network analysis could allow orthodontists to visually evaluate and anticipate the co-occurrence of auxological anomalies during individual craniofacial growth and possibly localize reactive sites for a therapeutic approach to malocclusion. This article discusses the scope of graph theory and its use in dentistry in general and orthodontics in particular.

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