New Simulation Lab Allows Dental Students to Sharpen Skills Using Advanced Technology
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2013) − Students at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry can now get much more realistic hands-on experience long before they see their first human patient thanks to technologically advanced dental simulators in the new White, Greer and Maggard Simulation Laboratory debuting in the college on Aug. 14.
The dental simulators consist of a torso and head apparatus, similar to a mannequin, that duplicate nearly all aspects of treating a live patient in a dental chair. The mannequins can accommodate different types of models on which the student dentist can practice treating all the types of dental procedures including dentures, crown, bridges, and implants. The mouth and teeth are surrounded by simulated cheeks and a suction tube to remove excess water just like in the dental office. Each work station has a laptop computer that can access the internet and will broadcast lecture feeds from the instructor's podium. The instructor's podium also has a dental simulator with an overhead camera. Demonstrations can be broadcast to the work station computers in real time. To broadcast high definition videos throughout the lab, eight 40-inch monitors are strategically mounted on the walls.
Dr. Robert Q. Frazer, associate professor and division chief of Restorative Dentistry at UK, said the simulation lab will be used mostly by the first and second year student dentists. Upper class students will use the lab to prepare work that is needed in the treatment of their patients.
Renovation of the previous pre-clinical laboratory, located on the sixth floor of the Dental Science Building, began last May and completed in time for the incoming students this week. Major reconstruction took place and walls were removed allowing the new lab to extend the entire width of the sixth floor. The interior was completely gutted and the number of work stations expanded from 60 to 80. Seventy of the work stations are equipped with dental simulators and computers. The remaining 10 work stations will be equipped in the future if needed.
An additional laboratory space was renovated a few feet from the simulation lab. The 'wet lab' is where students will pour and trim models from impressions made of the mannequin teeth or oral structures as well as from actual patients in the clinics. In addition, the laboratory is equipped with vented hoods to clear the air from pouring volatile liquids and the preparation of materials that give off noxious vapors.
The naming gift for the pre-clinical simulation laboratory was provided by dentists at the Central Kentucky orthodontic practice of White, Greer and Maggard.
"The simulation lab is where students learn dentistry," said Dr. Greg White. "It is where countless hours are spent learning and practicing the art that will hone their skills. It's where dentists are made. White, Greer, and Maggard Orthodontics is pleased to be able to participate in providing a state-of-the-art place for these things to happen."
Dr. Sharon Turner, dean of the College of Dentistry, expressed her thanks to the White Greer, and Maggard Team as well as the president of the UK College of Dentistry Alumni Association, Dr. Cliff Loudenback, who helped rally the many alumni gifts. “Now we can educate tomorrow’s dentist in a state-of-the-art facility instead of an outdated, gloomy place," Turner said.
The cost for the entire project was $4.7 million which was covered by private donations, alumni giving, and university funds.
Medical and dental simulation is increasingly playing a more important role in the way doctors, dentists, and other health professionals are trained. Because modern health care is constantly evolving, and new and complex technologies are coming online to aid in the treatment of more advanced medical and dental procedures, simulation is needed to teach future physicians and dentists the skills needed to perform in real life situations.
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