PubMed ID (PMID): 20879463Pages 251-263, Language: English, French
After a brief historical introduction of virtual reality, the article focuses on why virtual reality is the next step in dental education. Contrary to existing systems for preclinical courses, such as plastic teeth and dummies, virtual reality has no limitations in terms of clinical case studies, objective evaluation, and interactivity. For the past six years we have been developing innovative concepts using force feedback arms and computer 3D simulation at the University of Geneva. After describing the simulator itself, we discuss the results of a preliminary survey we initiated in 2006. The survey concerns the teaching of dental anatomy using 3D rendering capabilities of the simulator for third-year students of the University of Geneva. The aim was to validate the added value of IT integration into our curriculum. The results showed that 70% of the students were satisfied or very satisfied with this module and that the simulation boosted their motivation to learn anatomy. It also became evident that IT did not introduce a supplemental complexity that reduced teaching efficiency. This was a clear message for us to develop a second-generation virtual reality dental simulator with improved tactile features to teach drilling procedures.
Keywords: virtual reality, preclinical courses, dental education, force feedback arms, dental simulator, information technology (IT) survey