State-of-the-art Dental Simulation Lab Opens at South Jordan College of Dental Medicine

October 22, 2012

Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) Students at Roseman University’s College of Dental Medicine in South Jordan, Utah now have a new learning tool: a brand new, state-of-the-art Dental Simulation Laboratory.

During the four-year program, first-year DMD students will spend approximately 8 hours a week in the Simulation Lab, and second-year students will spend approximately 12-16 hours a week there, learning how to work on patients so they are ready to provide care for real patients by the time they enter the clinical phase of the curriculum.

“The purpose of the Simulation Lab is to provide the opportunity for dental students to practice the surgical and associated skills on a lifelike simulator prior to working on patients,” said Dr. George Richards, Associate Professor at Roseman University. “It also provides the laboratory needed for the fabrication of diagnostic and treatment materials that will eventually be used in patient care.”

The Technology

The entire lab is a testament to the important role technology plays in today’s dental education. The room is set up with 84 student stations, each one equipped with an A-dec Simulator, a lifelike simulation head (with a full set of teeth), a monitor, and a wide variety of dental tools.

At the front of the lab is the “control center”. From here, faculty can instruct students on techniques from one of several cameras (including a portable camera), or display information from the computer, internet, Power Point, or other presentation software. Whatever the faculty instructor is doing is sent to each station’s flat-screen monitor, and to several large ceiling-mounted televisions throughout the room, so the students can remain at their stations and watch the entire lesson.

In addition, there is a faculty teaching station for every 10 student stations, so during Sim Lab exercises, students can get more one-on-one attention and ask questions. The “control center” and the faculty teaching stations are all equipped with microphones so faculty can make announcements to all the students, answer questions, and provide instruction during exercises.

The Simulator

As mentioned, each student station includes an A-dec Simulator, considered to be the top of the line in dental simulation tools on the market today. It is durable and efficient, easy to use, and teaches students correct patient head positioning so they can develop good ergonomic habits for when they enter their own dental practice.

Pre-Clinical Training

In dental school there are two tracks—the biomedical (similar to medical school), and the preclinical/clinical training. Some of the preclinical training can take place in the classroom, but the majority of it requires hands-on learning in a laboratory environment.

“The things we teach in the Simulation Lab really cannot be learned from a textbook or a lecture,” said Dr. Richards.

Students in Roseman’s DMD Class of 2015, who finished their first year prior to the completion of the Sim Lab, fulfilled simulation exercises in the clinical facilities. While this was adequate, it was not ideal.

“The new facility is much more conducive to the preclinical program for faculty from a teaching aspect, and for students from a learning aspect,” said Dr. Richards. “It has improved the learning environment tremendously.”