Technical note: Comparing dental topography software using platyrrhine molars.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


There remain many idiosyncrasies among the values calculated for varying dental topography metrics arising from differences in software preferences among research groups. The aim of this work is to compare and provide potential conversion formulae for dental topography metrics calculated using differing software platforms.


Three software packages: ArcGIS, Surfer Manipulator, and molaR were used to calculate orientation patch count rotated (OPCR), Dirichlet normal energy (DNE), occlusal relief (OR), slope (m), and angularity (a) on platyrrhine second upper molars. Values derived from the various software packages were compared for distributional consistency and correlation. Where appropriate, formulae for conversion between like measures calculated on different software platforms were developed.


When compared with the same measurement across software, OPCR, OR, and slope were all highly correlated. However, only OR demonstrated distributional consistency (i.e., nearly consistent mean, median, max, and min). Slope and OPCR were both higher when calculated by molaR as compared to Surfer Manipulator and ArcGIS calculations, conversion formulae are provided for these measures. DNE is only weakly correlated with angularity; but is correlated with orientation patch count across taxa.


We explore why there is variation in the dental topography values calculated among the various software packages. The conversion formulae provided in this work will make possible direct comparisons among studies conducted across multiple research groups.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pampush, JD; Crowell, J; Karme, A; Macrae, SA; Kay, RF; Ungar, PS

Published Date

  • May 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 169 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 179 - 185

PubMed ID

  • 30768782

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1096-8644

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-9483

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/ajpa.23797


  • eng