Courtesy of Promethean Dental Systems
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Virtual reality simulates live-patient experiences

Sept. 8, 2022
Virtual reality has become the new reality with the Simodont Dental Trainer from Promethean Dental Systems. Dr. Lou Shuman explains how the Simodont simulates working on a live patient and describes its many uses in dentistry.

Remember the days we had to sweat it out looking for a live patient with just the right conditions to bring to the licensing boards? Nowadays, virtual reality provides lifelike experiences for everything from exercise to video games. Haptic technology enriches the experience even more. Promethean Dental Systems has customized these technologies and brought them to dentistry with the virtual reality-haptic simulator called the Simodont Dental Trainer.

The Simodont feels like working on a “real” patient, which allows the user to do procedures at greater speed and with more repetition to reinforce muscle memory. To practice or learn a specific dental procedure, you press a button and start working on the virtual tooth, like a video game. The virtual reality aspect is even more realistic because of the tactical feedback of the haptic technology that replicates the precise “feel” of the instrument during a procedure, even simulating the subtle tug-back on an explorer when it catches on a fissure. Simodont works with any instrument but especially handpieces. The Simodont can work to exact measurements and zoom in on specific areas of a tooth.

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Trailblazers Chief Executive Officer Scot Armstrong and Executive Vice President of North America Dr. MJ Hanlon have brought Simodont technology to US dental school preadmissions, simulation labs, licensure exams, remediation, and training for dental organizations and practices. In the future, they expect it to impact recruiting and hiring of dentists for DSOs, multidentist practices, and manufacturer-sponsored training centers.

Starting this fall, the Simodont can be experienced at the Performance Institute at Lincoln Memorial University in Knoxville, Tennessee, where it will play an integral role in the teaching of end-to-end, full-mouth reconstruction in virtual reality, without touching a live patient. Simulations will range from individual procedures and entire dental workflows to treatment design and planning, patient scheduling, and billing. While the Simodont is in action, it captures analytics that will be compiled in a cloud repository of performance metrics.

The Simodont is a technology that builds skills, fosters objectivity, and can offer a lifelike experience on instruments you may never have had a chance to try. With Promethean, virtual reality has become a reality—with even more growth anticipated in the future.  

Editor's note: This article appeared in the September 2022 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.

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