College Implements Digital Dentistry Technology

New College of Dentistry faculty member Leonardo Nassani, DMD, from the Division of Restorative and Prosthetic Dentistry, has implemented the instruction of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technology into the DDS curriculum, which is a first for the college.
Mathea McGuire designing an onlay restoration
Mathea McGuire designs the onlay restoration for the tooth she has prepared and scanned. The restoration will then be attached to a keychain tag with her name before being 3D printed.

By Stephen Begala, The Ohio State University Office of Academic Affairs 
in partnership with The Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning

New College of Dentistry faculty member Leonardo Nassani, DMD, from the Division of Restorative and Prosthetic Dentistry, has implemented the instruction of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technology into the DDS curriculum, which is a first for the college. Working in partnership with Ohio State's Prior Health Sciences Library and the College of Engineering, Dr. Nassani, has  second-year dental students using 3D printers to print provisional fixed dental prostheses. 

The learning activity is a simulation of a clinical scenario designed to offer students a hands-on experience of the restorative process — from tooth preparation, scanning, designing, printing, washing, curing, adjusting, and seating an onlay. Students can then relate the importance of preparation design to the quality of the seated restoration.

“The objective of this learning activity is to provide the students with a comprehensive digital dentistry experience,” said Dr. Nassani, who introduced the technology in his Operative Dentistry 4 (DENT 6534) class. “The entirety of the exercise teaches students the skills of tooth preparation, intraoral scanning, digital design, 3D printing and restoration cementation. The didactic component aims to provide a multidisciplinary learning approach by combining dental, restorative, practice management, material and engineering sciences.”

This work is representative of patient care and will unlock an additional treatment option in clinical settings for the students when restoring their patients’ teeth. The scenario being clinical, the students will have acquired the knowledge to develop a treatment plan and the skills to execute it in the clinical setting when they reach their third and fourth years.

“The unique approach Dr. Nassani introduced in Operative Dentistry 4 provides students opportunities to learn not only dental and clinical skills, but also fosters their understanding of the technology and science behind computer-aided restorations,” said Shereen Azer, BDS, MSc, MS, interim chair of the Division of Restorative and Prosthetic Dentistry. Dr. Azer is leading an effort to incorporate more digital dentistry technology into the DDS curriculum.

“I hope the students will have a better appreciation for the CAD/CAM process and its application in the medical and dental fields,” Dr. Nassani said. “More importantly, I hope that this experience will allow them to identify the clinical situations where it is possible to apply that technology and have the skill set to provide the highest level of care to their future patients.”

To see photos of students completing each step of this clinical scenario, please visit https://dentistry.osu.edu/digital-dentistry-technology