Students at the University of Leeds School of Dentistry are now using SimToCare haptic simulators, which simulate tactile feedback through a dental handpiece to give students a realistic learning experience.
With the simulators, the university said, students can safely practice drilling teeth while gaining valuable experience in clinical scenarios that otherwise may be challenging to simulate using traditional phantom heads.
The school’s digital dentistry group said it has a unique working relationship with the team of developers behind the SimToCare system, resulting in the direction of development being informed by the needs and use-cases identified at Leeds.
World-leading, in-house software has led to Leeds being the first dental school in the world to offer custom haptic training cases based on real patients’ dental models, including anatomically correct contact points and gingival margins, which are both crucial during crown preparation, the school said.
The simulators also offer haptic cases aligned to the bespoke 3D printed training models currently used in the preclinical skills laboratories, with additional cases lined up to be produced physically and virtually in the future.
Future work will focus on expanding students’ clinical awareness of the high biological variation encountered in root canal morphology by presenting a catalogue of true, scanned tooth root morphologies, enabling students to gain an understanding of natural variation within endodontics. To support this work, the school said, it has invested in a new nano CT scanner.