Technology has revolutionized nearly aspect of our society, and medicine is among those altered to the greatest degree. Dentistry is no exception to this trend; it has not only affected how dental professionals do they work, but their formation as well. Let’s take look at the impact of technology on dental education. We’ll give practical examples and trends that will become the norm in only a few years.
New Imaging Technology
Imaging technology is altering dental education. Traditional X-rays are gradually being replaced by digital X-rays, but they’re supplemented by intra-oral cameras and phase microscopes. Students have to learn how to use these new imaging technologies even as their images make their way into standard lessons.
One of 3D printing’s biggest practical applications is in the creation of custom prosthetics. We see 3D printing of prosthetic and supportive devices for children for a fraction of the price of traditionally made prosthetics. And we’re seeing 3D printed prosthetics and assistive devices in dentistry. That’s where invisible braces and cheap, custom retainers are made.
We’re likely going to see more dental prosthetics made via 3D printers like artificial teeth and bridges. This means that dental education is going to start discussing how to take scans and models for the creation of 3D printed dental prosthetics if not their design.
Streamed videos of dental surgery are now shown live to students around the world and how-to videos are becoming more and more common. This is also leading dental students to learn about the approved resources for where they can review material online and on their own time. These resources range from cute videos to convince children to brush their teeth daily to videos for patients who need advice for dental care given their particular medical condition.
It isn’t possible to learn everything you need to work in the dental profession, whether as a dentist or hygienist, online. However, you can find information on dental programs online through sites like best-dentalassistantschools.com. Conversely, you can find programs that teach dental hygiene almost entirely online that let you participate in real time through chat sessions and video conferencing. Continuing education courses necessary to maintain one’s certification are regularly offered exclusively online, since information on changes in coding and billing, privacy rules and how hazardous material is handled are ideally suited for teaching via lecture whereas many dental hygiene techniques require practice on models and patients.
Dental hygienists are still learning via simulation and even computer games. For example, the Virtual Dental Implant Training Simulation Program takes the old game “Operation”, specializes it on dental procedures and turns practice for hygienists into a game. It lets them practice working with patients who have few to no natural teeth left and practice procedures with points and rewards for success as well as losses for mistakes. Early studies found that students who practiced using these simulations did better than those who only practiced traditional educational methods.
Technology is transforming the field of dentistry in more ways than one. Between 3D imagery, online education and new imaging techniques, the dental clinic of tomorrow will be drastically different than what we have today.