Students studying dentistry at The University of Sydney now have the benefit of world leading technology for their pre-clinical training in dentistry.
Thanks to a grant to Sydney University, the Faculty of Dentistry now has two fully-equipped dental simulation clinics, each with 55 working sites - one clinic is located at Sydney Dental Hospital and the other adjacent to the Westmead Centre for Oral Health.
The dental equipment has been supplied by A-dec Australia using a customised design developed in collaboration with University of Sydney staff in order to provide a teaching environment of excellence for the pre-clinical training of students in the use of dental equipment and in procedures prior to their treatment of patients.
According to Professor Roland Bryant of the University's Faculty of Dentistry, First, Second and Third year students in the Bachelor of Dentistry and Bachelor of Oral Health programs use the simulation facilities to develop and refine their competency in the dental disciplines of Tooth Conservation (Operative Dentistry), Endodontics, Prosthodontics, and Periodontics.
The Sydney facility will also be used for continuing education courses for practising dentists and for conducting examinations of overseas-trained dentists seeking qualification by the Australian Dental Council.
Prof. Bryant indicated that the clinics are already in heavy use.
The students practice on 'phantom heads', manufactured by the Nissin company of Japan. The heads can be mounted with plastic teeth or with extracted natural teeth mounted in plaster or stone.
The configuration of the simulation clinic is unique in the world with 5 individual sites at each of 11 modules, providing 55 working sites and one instructor site in each clinic. Each site is equipped with the latest equipment.
According to Professor Bryant, the "5-petal" design provides the opportunity for
a realistic working position as well as a superior teaching environment, compared with the more common bench-mounted arrangements. Students sit in a clinically relevant position and, for the staff, the design offers a view of the student class that is unobstructed by walls and benches.
A-dec Australia Senior Product Manager, Peter Graham, said the five workstation sites on each module was based on a prototype developed by a University committee to meet the University's specific criteria.
After a lengthy trial, the prototype was modified slightly to streamline ease of manufacturing, assembly and servicing. Installation was first carried out at the Westmead location in late 2007, and this was followed by installation at the Sydney Dental Hospital location in early 2008.
Mr Graham said the simulators are based on A-dec's Performer dental unit with overhead operating light, and were fully equipped with the latest W&H LED handpieces, Satelec scalers and curing lights.
"The A-dec Performer unit was chosen for it's suitability to enable right or left handed operation and the fact that A-dec dental units are very popular in Australian dental clinics," Mr Graham said.
After the successful installation at the Westmead location, the second simulation clinic was installed at Sydney Dental Hospital in just three and a half weeks.
"The Westmead clinic includes the largest Cattani compressor and suction installation in Australia. The Westmead clinic utilizes wet-line suction, while the Sydney Dental Hospital utilizes a dry-line vacuum system with Cattani centrifugal separator located internally in each station," Mr Graham said.
Both Prof. Bryant and Mr Graham are justifiably pleased with the end result which is unique in the world.
"This project is the result of a concerted effort by a lot of people. The simulation equipment and unique work surfaces are very serviceable, beautifully designed and put together with real craftsmanship. A-dec is proud to be associated with both of these clinics and wishes the University well for the future," Mr Graham said.