Dentistry training in a virtual world

Researchers in the States have developed a lifelike dental training simulator that allows student to ‘feel’ an on-screen 3D mouth.

Using haptic virtual reality, the tools simulate the sensation of touching, poking and scraping in the virtual mouth.

PerioSim has been developed at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s colleges of dentistry and engineering and a control panel allows students to pick the procedure and instrument.

Students can guide a stylus – which resembles an explorer – to navigate through various periodontal procedures including examining calculi on the tooth root, measuring pocket depth, detecting calculus and applying treatment through post-surgical evaluation.

The interface also allows users to adjust the model position, viewpoint, and transparency level of the ‘virtual’ mouth.

‘We can enhance the learning and training of a wide variety of tasks or procedures using this system,’ said Dr Arnold Steinberg, professor of periodontics at UIC.

‘The need to practice on mannequins, animals and patients can be significantly reduced, and in some cases, eliminated entirely.’

The system also allows instructors to create short scenarios of periodontal procedures, which can be saved and replayed at any time.

Students can replay scenes from any angle, so they can observe different views of the placement of the instrument and gingival relationships during a procedure.

Students can access PerioSim via the internet.

A video of the simulator in action can be seen at

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