Dental Students Take Their Handpieces Home for Online Practice

Dentistry Today


The members of Club CAD, the digital dentistry study group at Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine, have developed creative solutions as pandemic restrictions limit their opportunities for extracurricular practice when it comes to hands-on skills.

The 22 students in the club recently used Bien-Air Optima motors and handpieces at home, so they could drill outside of the learning spaces at SDM. They sat in front of their computers with their handpieces and operative instruments, a typodont tooth, and a grading rubric.

Club CAD student governing board members provided step-by-step presentations via Zoom, guiding participants through an onlay preparation of tooth No. 30, which included which burs to use to create a preparation of ideal measurements.

Once the students went to work executing their preparations, they were placed into Zoom Breakout Rooms for more personal assistance from faculty members. Students were able to show their progress on camera in real time and gained immediate, helpful feedback.

The use of self-evaluation through the provided grading rubrics helped spur thoughtful conversation with faculty regarding potential future improvement areas, the school said.

“It’s been wonderful to see the students and faculty come together to ensure that learning continues and evolves, despite the challenges put forth by the pandemic,” said Club CAD president Noelle Fischer.

“This year has heightened the importance of providing opportunities for collaboration and socialization while growing our skill set. This virtual event was a great way of doing just that,” Fischer said.

With COVID-19 cases rising throughout the country, this remote educational opportunity may likely be just the beginning of planning for future Club CAD experiences, the school said.

“Naturally, many aspects of digital dentistry lend themselves to the virtual landscape,” said Dr. Ann Nasti, associate dean for clinical education. “As we go forward, we are excited to assess how other aspects of this supplemental curriculum can be adapted.”

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