Evolving Dental Education Through Advanced Simulation
By Dr. Rick Callan and Dr. Jerry Cooper, Promethean Dental Systems.
Promethean Dental Systems began in 2019 with the primary goal of improving dental education using advanced simulation. Our team of experienced dental educators, technology specialists, and practice management experts has created a myriad of educational experiences designed to maximize the learning potential throughout the entire dental life cycle: from pre-admissions to retirement.
Using digital dental technology, dental practice software, virtual didactic presentations, and hands-on simulation (both traditional and haptic), we seek to provide our colleagues the opportunity to increase their knowledge of dentistry, enhance their hand skills and technical expertise, and improve the efficiency of their practice.
The curriculum of the dental schools in the United States is regulated by the American Dental Education Association through a recurring seven-year accreditation cycle. Although the standards for accreditation are established by the American Dental Education Association, how a school achieves these standards is determined by the school itself. Dental education has traditionally included the teaching of the basic sciences and necessary dental knowledge through a series of didactic lectures.
This is followed by many hours of instruction and practice in a simulated environment utilizing a dental typodont. Following the successful completion of these exercises, a student is permitted to practice these newly acquired skills on a patient in a closely monitored clinical setting. Graduates from ADEA accredited dental schools must pass a national board examination which affirms the knowledge of the science, materials, and techniques required of a professional dental practitioner. To acquire a license to practice in a particular state, each candidate must also pass a clinical examination which tests their diagnostic acumen, technical knowledge, and hand skills.
Dental materials and techniques continue to evolve, enhancing our ability to provide patients the opportunity to experience optimal oral health. Technology is changing not only the way we treat our patients, but also the way we educate our students. Contemporary learning theories and advances in the understanding of the cognitive process serve as guides on how to improve learning and enhance skill acquisition. Dental education and the dental profession should maximize the benefits of these important discoveries.
Promethean Dental System’s multi-modal approach to learning combines modern learning theory with state-of-the-art technology. We believe students learn best, and retain information (and skills) longer, when they learn the information (or skills) in a variety of ways (multi-modal). This learning is best accomplished over a period of time, with properly spaced exposures to the information or task. Appropriate, timely feedback is also critical to the learning process.
In addition to the time-proven use of the typodont for simulation of dental procedures, Promethean Dental Systems has implemented the use of the Simodont Dental Trainer.
The Simodont Dental Trainer is a virtual-haptic simulator that provides a more realistic dental experience for its operator: virtual in the sense that you are working on something that isn’t really there, and haptic as a life-like sense of touch and feel. Add to these attributes the Simodont’s ability to create a self-learning environment, providing immediate feedback, both outcome and informational feedback. This coupled with the purely objective assessment provided by the Simodont makes it an ideal tool for both teaching and assessment. We also are strong believers in the adage that “Assessment Drives Learning.”