By Susan Braden
University of Glasgow dentistry students Adam Gray, Pearse Hannigan and David Lagan were awarded this year's Dental Innovation Technology Ideas Award for developing technology to improve dentistry school training and dentist's dexterity. The new dentist software is developed for the Nintendo Wii. These students were awarded a glass trophy and a check worth 300 pounds for their efforts.
The new software can allow practicing dentists to explore the mouths of virtual patients, even from the comfort of their own homes. This technology has great capability to help dentists of the future due to its accessibility, unlike current stand-alone dentistry school labs where students must go to practice.
There are several advantages to this new technology developed by Gray, Hannigan and Lagan. First, the use of the Wii for training is time and cost-effective. It may help more dentistry students gain extra experience outside the classroom that they may need to provide the most affordable dental care to their patients. With the Wii software, future dentists save the time of dirtying tools and, if the program continues to be developed, may be able to back up and correct their mistakes in ways that would be difficult when treating a real patient.
The Wii has also been proven to increase dexterity. "There is considerable research to back up the concept of using video games to improve dentist's coordination, and the Wii based application would complement the simulation technology already used in dentistry schools worldwide,” says Dr. David Watson of the University of Glasgow Dental School.
The more ways that are invented to train dentists, the more often affordable dental care can be provided to patients. With rising technology, including these advances in dentistry with the Wii, more people may be able to get the affordable dental care that they need.
For more affordable dental care news from Susan Braden, see this article.