The endodontic simulation lab course for pre-clinical dental students prepares them to successfully perform root canal therapy for patients in clinics. They are introduced to endodontic terminology, armamentarium and procedures that will aid them in clinics. Students are first made to practice access preparations, cleaning and shaping procedures and obturations in transparent model teeth that enable them to better visualize and understand the procedures and the rationale behind them. Following this, the same procedures are then performed with specially designed typodont teeth that have root canals. Procedures taught are designed to closely simulate real life endodontic procedures. The brief interview below are a faculty member’s and a student’s perspective of the course.
“Of course I have lots of advice for students… Eat less red meat, sell your TVs and always be well prepared. There is so much to learn” says Dr. Kleier. He holds up to this motto in the endodontic simulation lab course that he conducts with his team for the DS2 students during the summer. Dr. Kleier graduated in 1976 from the University of Kentucky, Lexington and has been practicing ever since. He recalls his days as a student when endodontics was practiced first on extracted human teeth on the bench top. There were no simulators and only hand files were used. Right now, in the School of Dental Medicine, technology rules! Dr. Kleier states “the course has never been the same for two consecutive years.” Advancements in dental technology have translated to our clinics rapidly. Currently, students are made to do root canal treatments on almost life-like teeth. Using a technology popularized by Steve Buchanan, extracted human teeth are subjected to a digital micro-CT scan and the 3-D image is then printed with liquid plastic. The objective of this course is to ensure that students are prepared to do straightforward endodontic cases, enabled to identify complex cases that require referrals and have a thorough knowledge of the armamentarium and various procedures. Dr. Kleier shares what he enjoys most about the course is working with the talented, energetic students who are always willing to learn. Dr. Kleier believes that learning never really ends. “When you graduate, that’s where learning begins.”
And from Andreina Alarcon’s, a student’s perspective, “The most challenging part of this course in the beginning would be to get used to the different endodontic terminology, and to understand the reasoning behind each step. However, now after practicing so much, I do feel more prepared to enter clinic. I think the Endondontics Department does an excellent job training us in the pre-clinic labs.” Excitedly she says, “The most fun part is when you take an X-ray of your completed root canal treatment and you see that it’s clinically acceptable. It makes you feel accomplished.” Students appreciate that the faculty are consistent and repetitive, Andreina says, “I greatly believe that repetition is the mother of all skill and it’s the key to success.”
CU SDM’s Endodontic Department shows that simulation and evidence based practice of Dentistry can lead to more confidence in students as well as preparing students to provide the best quality of care for their patients.