Digital Dentistry - A new branch of dental education
In partnership with:
Presenters: Dr. P. Weigl and Dipl.-Ing. R. Felber (Goethe-University Frankfurt a.M.)
The digitization is advancing in dentistry as well. Thus, digital X-ray is now an integral part of the dental office and analogue devices hardly in use. In the dental lab, the machine made fabrication of restorations with CAD/CAM systems has largely been established.
Scanning the plaster cast or, better, the impression enables the design of the restoration on the computer. From there, the digital data are passed on to milling machines. Subtractive and additive manufacturing processes offer a wide range of aesthetic materials while guaranteeing a constant quality of the restorations. The advantages of digitization include, among other things, the storage of data, the rapid transmission via internet and the wide range of analysis possibilities on the computer. But how can the new techniques be integrated into the dental education and what are the opportunities and risks for the lecturer?
Materials & Methods
At pre-clinic in the University of Frankfurt the training in digital dentistry starts with the learning of the digital impression. Thereby the motivation of the students is based on the objective assessment of their preparation with an analysis software. In the next step, the students design and manufacture the dental prosthesis with a chairside CAD / CAM system. The digital data of the impression enable the restoration to be carried out in just a few minutes. This gives the students a better understanding of the preparation guidelines and shows the dental requirements of the restoration shape, the material selection and its minimum thickness. The insertion of the restoration in the prepared model completes the dental training in practice-oriented manner.
In the university education of dental surgery and implantology, the practical training in implant placement on the patient has so far been set aside. Only theoretical lessons as well as exercises on standardized jaw models were carried out by the students themselves. The digital dentistry now allows to convert digital 3D X-ray data of the real patient into a printed exercise model. Thereby geometry and material properties correspond to the patient. The student is now training the surgical procedures on an exercise model close to reality. Not only the practical exercises on the model are used for the follow-up of the theoretically learned, but also the work experience by supporting a skilled oral surgeon in the surgery of the patient.
Results & Conclusion
Because of its data records the digital dentistry creates the basis for a reproducible and objective assessment, and thus equal conditions for all students.
The transformation of patient data into printed exercise models, which correspond to the physical properties of bones and teeth, allows realistic simulation of the patient's case.
Through the use of CAD/CAM systems, students create their restorations directly at the treatment centre and simulate the complete workflow on the patient: preparation, digital impression, design and manufacturing of the restoration as well as the placement on the patient.
The virtual 3D data of the patient as well as the resulting analysis possibilities are the basis for a sustained reduction of the mentoring time for each student with the same or an improved training result.
Digital dentistry enables the conjunction of surgical and prosthetic teaching contents to an integrated concept for the patient care in dental medicine.