Universities using ‘realistic dental models’ to train students
Nottingham Trent University and the University of Birmingham will be using realistic dental models to train their students.
The new models provide ‘tactile qualities of real mouths’ and they feature realistic gums, tongues and teeth.
Universities hope that they will allow students to experience and learn how it feels to use periodontal probes.
‘The aim is to give students the psychological experience of how it feels to perform real dentistry, but in a safe learning environment,’ said PhD candidate Mr Arm, of the Advanced Textiles Research Group at NTU’s School of Art and Design.
‘These realistic models will allow students to learn the tactile skills of how to examine the gums and teeth, before examining their first patients.
‘Until now current dental models haven’t provided a realistic enough experience for students.
‘The inclusion of a tongue will mimic the challenge which dentists face and better prepare them for their first clinic.’
Mimicking living tissue
Made from synthetic gels and fibres, the tongue and gums vary in hardness to mimic living tissue.
Teeth and jaw bones are made from bone-simulating resin.
‘These models meet an unmet need in dental education and will allow us to better prepare our students for clinical work,’ Dr Michael Milward, reader and honorary consultant in clinical periodontology at the University of Birmingham, said.
‘The feedback we have received from students and staff has been extremely positive.
‘The final version has already been introduced into undergraduate teaching.
‘While some models are commercially available, no models combine the replica hard and soft tissues in this way.
‘These developments provide a major step forward in dental education both for dental students and for the retraining of the dental workforce, ultimately benefitting our patients.
‘We aim to work closely with our colleague at Nottingham Trent University to further enhance the models to allow our students to develop additional clinical skills.’