Initial Work in Developing a Dental Simulator Program

For the first phase of this project,  an interactive CD-ROM program was created to train students in instrument identification, how and where the various instruments are used and basic principles and procedures associated with the performance of scaling and root planing (Sc/Rp) .  (Presented at  ADEA March, 2001 and was an award winning CD).

This CD is now provided to all first year students for home use prior to their introduction to the manikin lab and has been an aid in the learning process.  All students must satisfactorily complete this first phase before beginning the simulation system.

Motion Tracking and Guidance System for Training Dental and Hygiene Students to Scale and Root Plane Teeth (tooth cleaning)
Investigators: Dr. Arnold Steinberg (Dept of Periodontics)  and Dr. Paul Neumann (UIC Virtual Reality in Medicine Laboratory).
(Presented at  ADEA March, 2002).

Project Summary:
The project's focus was to facilitate the initial training of dental and hygiene students with the performance of scaling and root planing (teeth cleaning).  This was accomplished by developing a database and a guidance system for the motions associated with Sc/Rp . The removal of tooth accretions and necrotic tooth root surfaces is a requirement for this procedure.   The Sc/Rp procedure requires training to acquire this skill. A simulation program was developed to help teach these skills by tracking the direction, speed and motion of the movements made by an expert clinical practitioner during a standard tooth cleaning procedure.  

Methodology:(To view graphics, pass cursor over hotword and hold it there. Moving cursor away removes graphic.)
A variety of motion capture systems have been developed, including gloves, body suits and motion trackers.  These technologies can capture, trace and evaluate motion for a variety of purposes, including ergonomics studies.  In this project we adapted currently available spatial tracking technology (MiniBird™ motion tracker) to trace the 3D movements and paths of a dental cleaning instrument as it removes deposits from the root surface of a tooth. To accomplish this the scaler was attached to the motion tracker sensor.  The scaler was used to perform a Sc/Rp procedure by the instructor using a standard laboratory plastic tooth and manikin model currently used to train students.  The path information collected by the scaler/sensor was converted to a graphic representation of the data. This data was converted to a directional graphic showing the student the path to follow for proper Sc/Rp.  An audible signal was added to the directional graphic path to notify the student if he/she veered off the correct Sc/Rp direction during the movement of the scaler.

This phase of the project was supported  by a grant from UIC's Council For Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Motion Tracker References:

This project has now evolved into a system using haptics and projection technology.

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Copyright 2003, 2004 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

Dr A Steinberg, July. 2004