Mannequins and Robots: The Sometimes Strange Ways of Studying Dentistry

Dentist Blog

One of the most difficult things about learning medicine is the leap from theory to practice. Whether the student is planning to become a doctor or studying general dentistry, theoretical study is very different to actually treating a patient. Medical students have utilised cadavers for centuries - a person donates their body after they pass away, and students are able to use the cadaver to learn the layout of the body. They practise on a dead person before working on the living. Dental students don't have this option, since they need to have a person lying in their chair with an open mouth. Fortunately, there are a number of options for student dentists to learn their trade - and some of these more advanced options are rather remarkable.

The Dental Mannequin

Dental mannequins are dolls with a full set of synthetic human teeth, which allow students to practise a variety of procedures. The mannequin is sometimes a head and torso, and sometimes just a head. It's basically an inanimate doll with permanently bared teeth. These mannequins are excellent for learning the basics, but the student needs to be supervised by an experienced instructor. This is the only way for the student to know if they're using the correct technique.

The Dental Simulator

A dental mannequin can be equipped with advanced sensors to create a patient that exists in virtual reality. The mannequin's mouth and teeth have sensors that are able to register if the student is performing the task correctly. It can also record the procedure for the student and their instructors to watch at a later stage. The student performs the procedure by working as normal, but by watching a screen that shows them a real time simulation as they move their dental tools (also equipped with sensors) and work inside the mannequin's mouth.

The Dental Robot

There's a dental training robot that does not feel pain, but rather simulates pain and discomfort. It's natural for a patient to move and grimace when a dental procedure causes discomfort, and this allows dentists to amend their technique during the procedure. This robot actually moves and demonstrates discomfort when a dental student is perhaps being a little rough or fails to prepare for the procedure with sufficient (simulated) anesthetic. It's a strange way to learn, but the robot is so real that the student will certainly do their best to minimise the robot's "discomfort."

So if you should ever be treated by a relatively new dentist, it's interesting to consider that they might have been trained using a robot.

For more information about general dentistry, contact a company like Complete Dental Care.


24 August 2015

Unraveling Dental Myths about Children: A Blog for Parents

When I had my first child, I was a nervous wreck. Every book I read gave different advice, and I just wanted to be right! By the time I had my third child, some of the stress had abated. I now realised, there were tons of different perspectives on everything related to raising children including dentistry. To help parents, I have created this blog dedicated to unraveling dental myths about children. I am including posts that weigh both sides of issues such as thumb sucking, dental caries, breastfeeding, flossing and any other topic I can think of. I hope you find the information you need to unravel dental myths, but most importantly, I hope you find some peace of mind. With kids and dentistry, there can be more than one right answer, and I want you to be able to relax and go with the answer that's right for you.