The West Virginia University (WVU) School of Dentistry and the Center for Research and Education in Technology (CRET) celebrated the opening of the Dr. W. Robert Biddington Center for Dental Innovation on September 21. This state-of-the-art dental clinic will expose fourth-year students to the latest digital technologies, such as intraoral cameras and 3-D imaging systems, while providing oral healthcare to people in the community.
“We are excited about the opening of our latest innovation center as we continue to help ensure dental schools are equipped with the latest tools and technology for future oral health professionals to experience before they join or open a practice,” said CRET president Edward F. Rossomando, DDS, PhD, MS. “CRET’s partnership with WVU to design, build, and open the Innovation Center embodies the power of partnering industry leaders to academia.”
“By comparison, the new Dr. W. Robert Biddington Center for Dental Innovation is going to be a quantum leap forward from what we have to work with today,” said Anthony (Tom) Borgia, DDS, MHA, dean of the WVU School of Dentistry. “Dental technology is changing just as rapidly as medical technology, and maybe even faster in a number of areas. This facility will allow us to be an integral part of that change.”
The WVU location follows Innovation Centers opened at the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry and the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Dentistry. CRET and WVU designed it jointly to resemble a fully functional private dental office. Because it is located at the dental school, it will provide practice management experience in addition to technology training.
Beginning in October, each fourth-year dental student will spend a 2-week rotation mastering all that is new at the 2,239-square-foot center while treating their own patients in one of the 5 state-of-the-art operatories. At the end of their tour, students will provide direct feedback to the instrument and product suppliers. In turn, those manufacturers will use that input to help develop their next generation of materials and devices.
“The students really get to experience all these different materials independently and get to make up their minds about what they really like, what handles best in their hands, and what works for their patients,” said Lauren Yura, DDS, director of the center. “So, when they graduate, they’re better practitioners, they’re better clinicians, and they’re going to serve their patients a lot better.”
The operatories feature equipment and products consigned to the school from CRET corporate members at no cost, including A-dec, Air Techniques, Acteon, Benco Dental, Bien Air, Carestream, Gentrix, Delta Dental of Wisconsin, Dental EZ, Dentsply Sirona, GC America, Henry Schein, Hu-Friedy, Isolite, Ivoclar Vivadent, J. Morita USA, Kavo Kerr, Kulzer, Midmark, Patterson Dental, Porter Instrument, Premier Dental, Ralph Green, Royal, Takara Belmont, Ultradent, and 3M ESPE Dental Division.
“CRET is comprised of a group of manufacturers and distributors that represent the very best in what being good corporate citizens is all about,” said Borgia. “Part of their motivation in that role is understanding that the best place for them to put their philanthropic efforts is into the areas that have the greatest needs and the fewest resources with which to address those needs. They have recognized that in West Virginia.”
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