Essence

Practice
Simodont Dental Trainer is a top quality, highly reliable dental simulator. Students use Simodont Dental Trainer to develop their manual skills in a realistic virtual world, while getting feedback on their decisions and abilities. Simodont is changing the way that students learn and the way in which they master competences.

Operation
The Simodont Dental Trainer consists of a small projection screen (in the position normally occupied by a patient) onto which is projected an image of the mouth and teeth. Users wear stereoscopic spectacles, which allow them to view the images in 3D. A physical drill handle is situated below the screen. It has a virtual tip, which can be used to drill into the projected teeth.

If the virtual drill comes into contact with a virtual element, then the student has the same tactile sensation as they would with a real tooth. This is unique to the Simodont. It uses virtual teeth but these feel real when you touch them with the drill. Healthy enamel feels harder than carious tissue, for example.

Simulator and courseware
The Simodont Dental Trainer project is not limited to the development of a simulator that enables students to drill virtual holes in virtual teeth. It forms the heart of an entire learning system - the courseware. Students have to treat the problems presented by the simulator, while taking the patient’s history into account. Students start with the courseware. They are then presented with a problem, after which they draw up a treatment plan, and select virtual instruments. Only then do they start work at the simulator. While students are drilling, the courseware is in constant communication with the simulator.

If a student’s drill penetrates the enamel and enters the dentine, the simulator recognizes this and communicates this information to the courseware. When instructing students about a particular case, and if it useful to do so, the simulator can be paused and a relevant question will appear on the courseware screen. This creates a link between theory and practice that is difficult to achieve in the context of current preclinical training.