January 12, 2012
Students at University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry have another reason they'll have a competitive advantage when they enter private practice: they'll be able to better understand cutting-edge digital impression technology and its applications.
The company 3M ESPE has donated 12 Lava Chairside Optical Scanner (COS) devices, which will be up and running in the school's Main Clinic starting this quarter for use by students and faculty during patient care. Currently the machines are used in fewer than five percent of private dental practices in the country.
Lava COS devices are state-of-the-art digital impression machines offering dentists and dental students a simple way to create a 3D model of a patient's mouth. The devices use a video camera that records the inner contours of the mouth in detail, taking away the need for traditional impression material - commonly known to patients as "goop." Although dental students will still learn how to use the impression material, faculty and administrators at the school think it is also worthwhile to train students using the new technologies, which will likely be widely used in the future.
"By fully utilizing these types of digital impression devices and other clinical technology, the Dugoni School is maintaining its stronghold as a technological leader in dental education," said Dr. Parag Kachalia, vice-chair of Preclinical Education, Research and Technology in the school's Department of Integrated Reconstructive Dental Sciences.
The Lava COS devices offer a move from traditional dental impression techniques that can be imprecise. Dental professionals may run into inaccuracies while placing a crown using traditional impression material, and corrections takes time and resources. The digital impression machines promise a more accurate and complete view of the patient's mouth.
"The system will allow professors to educate students in a high fidelity environment," said Kachalia. "The dark recess of the mouth will now clearly be described in a magnified 3D visual environment, allowing a collaborative approach to education. Ironically, many of the skills our students learned from playing video games can now be applied to digital dentistry."
"Digital-related products are expected to revolutionize the next generation of dentistry, making it essential that students receive training to ensure that they are properly prepared to enter the marketplace," added Ian Hardgrove, senior vice president of marketing and sales, and president of the 3M Corporate Giving Committee. "Connecting University of the Pacific School of Dentistry with the worldwide leader of dental innovations was a natural fit given our organizational goal of preparing students for future opportunities and 3M ESPE's commitment to transform the dental industry. The Lava C.O.S. system will provide the basis for assisting University of the Pacific to enter the digital age of dentistry."
To learn more about the Lava COS Devices visit http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/LavaCOS/3MESPE-LavaCOS/
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