Installation of new haptic simulators enhances teaching

The School of Dentistry has recently installed SimToCare haptic simulators. The machines simulate tactile feedback through a dental handpiece, helping to give students a realistic learning experience.

They allow students to safely practice drilling teeth, and gain valuable experience in clinical scenarios which may be challenging to simulate using the traditional phantom heads.

The School’s digital dentistry group has a unique working relationship with the team of developers behind the SimToCare system, resulting in the direction of development being informed by the needs and use-cases identified at Leeds. World-leading, in-house software has led to Leeds being the first Dental School in the world to offer custom haptic training cases based on real patients' dental models, including anatomically correct contact points and gingival margins, both crucial during the preparation of crowns. The simulators also offer haptic cases aligned to the bespoke 3D printed training models currently used in the preclinical skills laboratories, with additional cases lined up to be produced, physically and virtually, in the future.

Future work will focus on expanding students' clinical awareness of the high biological variation encountered in root canal morphology by presenting a catalogue of true, scanned tooth root morphologies, enabling students to gain an understanding of natural variation within endodontics. In order to support this work, the School has recently invested in a new nano CT scanner.