Computer-Based Technologies in Dentistry: Types and Applications
During dental education, dental students learn how to examine patients, make diagnosis, plan treatment and perform dental procedures perfectly and efficiently. However, progresses in computer-based technologies including virtual reality (VR) simulators, augmented reality (AR) and computer aided design/computer aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems have resulted in new modalities for instruction and practice of dentistry. Virtual reality dental simulators enable repeated, objective and assessable practice in various controlled situations. Superimposition of three-dimensional (3D) virtual images on actual images in AR allows surgeons to simultaneously visualize the surgical site and superimpose informative 3D images of invisible regions on the surgical site to serve as a guide. The use of CAD/CAM systems for designing and manufacturing of dental appliances and prostheses has been well established.
This article reviews computer-based technologies, their application in dentistry and their potentials and limitations in promoting dental education, training and practice. Practitioners will be able to choose from a broader spectrum of options in their field of practice by becoming familiar with new modalities of training and practice.
Keywords: Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy; Immersion; Computer-Aided Design; Dentistry; Education
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