May 26, 2023
With the advances in technology, all major sectors have benefited and so has the dental industry. The field of dentistry has witnessed remarkable advancements in recent years, especially with the integration of virtual reality (VR) technology. With the surfacing of the VR dental simulator devices, dental training has become more immersive and a helping tool for the faculty as well. Another significant driver for the growing market is the scalability and versatility of VR dental simulators. These simulators can be tailored to meet the specific needs of different dental specialties, such as oral surgery, orthodontics, and periodontics. Additionally, they offer the flexibility to simulate diverse patient cases, allowing learners to encounter various challenges and develop their problem-solving skills.
As a research institute we had the opportunity to analyze the dental market and conduct interviews to establish the current challenges that most institutes face while training dental students. The dean of one such dental college said his major issue was evaluating student work. He was looking for a device that would evaluate student work by itself. Another major issue most dental colleges face is accuracy, the pre-clinical training provided does not ensure frequency changes in sensations that are felt at every layer of the tooth structure (Enamel-Dentin-Pulp) and that of the adjacent soft tissues. The actuators in these haptic devices generate vibrations of respective frequencies and give a feeling of actually performing the dental procedure.
The good of VR dental simulation devices doesn't stop there, from a clinical point of view, this device allows students to make mistakes in virtual scenarios which have no consequence on real patients, allowing students to experiment, make errors, and learn from them without compromising patient safety. This fosters confidence, competence, and proficiency in performing complex dental tasks. VR dental simulation devices enable trainees to repeat procedures as many times as necessary to refine their skills and achieve mastery. This repetitive practice is crucial for developing muscle memory, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity required for precise dental techniques. A study conducted at Taibah University, college of dentistry, Saudi Arabia proved that VR dental simulator devices improved psychomotor skills of students and the participants using the device had better grades in cavity preparation as they had a better design and took less time than the students not using the device [https://www.mdpi.com/1424990].
Cost-Efficiency and one time investment is another advantage that comes along with VR dental simulation devices, the traditional dental training often involves high costs associated with acquiring dental models, instruments, and materials for practice. In contrast, VR dental simulation devices offer a cost-effective alternative. They eliminate the need for physical