As part of their preclinical training, dental students work on ‘phantom heads’ when practicing many of the skills that they will later need when treating patients. However, drilling holes in plastic teeth is not particularly realistic. For several years, staff at ACTA have been working on Simodont Dental Trainer, a virtual simulator for teaching skills to students. The device has been developed in a step-by-step process, in partnership with Moog FCS, a specialist in the development of flight simulators. ACTA and Moog use Simodont Dental Trainer to simulate realistic dental cavities, which can then be treated in the simulator.
Simodont Dental Trainer was designed to expand and further improve the facilities for preparing students to treat patients. One important point is that students are currently learning about dentistry through the use of plastic teeth.
However, these cannot exhibit signs of pathology. This is a drawback, as ACTA wants to start with a disease and work towards the treatment. The phantom heads have plastic teeth, so progressing to real patients is still quite a big step. Simodont Dental Trainer provides a far better simulation of reality.
In 2010, ACTA moved to a new high-tech HQ in Amsterdam, on the VU University Amsterdam site - right next to VUmc. This site is situated on the Zuidas (the business district of Amsterdam). In the new building, ACTA uses fifty Simodont Dental Trainer units.