Simulator education in Japanese dental education

Eur J Dent Educ. 2023 Dec 29. doi: 10.1111/eje.12983. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Advances in information and communication technology (ICT) and digital technology have contributed greatly to the development of educational methods, and new educational styles have been introduced over the past several years. In recent years, it has become possible to provide more realistic simulator training to prepare for patient care through the development of phantom heads with jaws and artificial teeth that reflect actual anatomical structures and composition. While these phantom head simulator resources are becoming more realistic, the development of digital devices utilizing virtual reality has enabled training that is even more realistic than the jaw models, such as scanning the teeth and transfer this scan into a VR model in the simulator which can be used to practice on prior to treating the patient. There was a basic research report on the development of VR haptics simulators in Japan about 20 years ago, but there have been no reports for some time since then, and there are several reports on VR haptics simulators published after 2018. Even now, in terms of utilization in dental education, it is difficult to say that VR haptics simulator has been widely introduced in Japan. The reasons for this may be related to the evaluation system for clinical dental skills in the Japanese dental education system, as well as issues with budgets and in current condition of dental clinical practice in dental schools. It must be that the VR haptics simulator will be utilized in terms of preparatory training for patient care as clinical dental practice participation is enhanced in the future.

Keywords: dental education; haptics; simulation; virtual reality.