Developing a standardized cephalometric vocabulary: choices and possible strategies.
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The science of cephalometry has been invaluable for guiding orthodontic diagnosis, treatment planning, and outcomes tracking. Though software packages easily calculate most cephalometric measurements, the ability to exchange cephalometric data between software packages is poorly developed. Hindering this effort is the lack of an agreed-upon standard for electronic exchange of cephalometric measurements. Unlike more technological issues, the problem of creating such a standard is one of formalizing decisions already established through historical precedent. Solving this problem will require education, cooperation, and consensus in order to reap the potential improvements to patient care, dental education, and research. The first step in overcoming these remaining issues is awareness. This article reviews those factors that place cephalometric measurements in an excellent position for standardization, outlines those decisions that must be made in order to realize the goal of electronic exchange of cephalometric information, and describes some of the options for these decisions as well as some advantages and disadvantages of each.