Objective: To compare the use of the 5-year-olds’ index on both dental study casts and intraoral photographs when measuring primary surgical outcome for children born with unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP).
Design: A cross-sectional study.
Setting: Models and photographs collected from cleft units across the UK as part of the CCUK (Cleft Care UK) study were scored by two clinicians at the School of Oral and Dental Sciences, Bristol, UK.
Participants: Five-year-old children born with UCLP as part of the CCUK study. One hundred and ninety-eight had dental study casts available and 49 had intraoral photographs available.
Methods: The records of both groups, that is study casts (n = 198) and photographs (n = 49) were scored using the 5-year-olds’ index on two occasions by two examiners.
Results: Reliability of scoring is reduced for intraoral photographs compared with dental study casts. Using weighted Kappa the inter-rater reliability for dental study casts was 0.72 to 0.77 and the inter-rater reliability for intraoral photographs was 0.52 to 0.59.
Limitations: The photographs and study casts were not matched for each individual and were collected by a number of different clinicians in each unit, both of which will have had an effect on the quality and consistency of the final records.
Conclusions: Dental study casts provide more reliable results and thus still represent the gold standard when assessing primary surgical outcome in cleft care using the 5-year-olds’ index.