Bulletin of Dental Education

MUSC CDM Pushes Envelope in Teaching, Innovation With Dentaroid Robot

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MUSC LogoThe Medical University of South Carolina  James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine (MUSC CDM) has become the first dental school in the country to have a Dentaroid teaching robot. “Hanoko” made its debut on Friday, Aug. 10, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and demonstration to dental faculty, alumni and guests.

Attendees included  Pat Cawley, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of MUSC Health and Vice President for Health Affairs of MUSC;  Lisa Saladin, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and provost; students;  MUSC Board of Trustees members and dentists James Lemon, D.M.D., and Paul Davis, D.M.D.; and representatives from Nissin Dental Products of Japan and Kilgore International—the project’s donors. 

Nissin and Kilgore gifted the Dentaroid robot, valued at $250,000, to MUSC CDM. Mike Gregory, President & CEO of Kilgore International, says he was excited to be at the robot’s debut and demonstration. 

MUSC Robots 1“This is a big day for Kilgore International, Nissin Dental Products and MUSC. This is the first robot of its kind to be placed at a dental school in North and South America. MUSC’s College of Dental Medicine is a leader in innovation, digital technologies and in other areas. We have been a partner with MUSC’s dental school for 25-plus years, so for us to be able to showcase this unique product in one of the country’s top dental programs is very exciting,” Mr. Gregory says.

MUSC CDM Dean Sarandeep Huja, D.D.S., Ph.D., says, “We are proud that the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine is the recipient of the very first dental robot in this part of the world. It’s a landmark day for U.S. dental schools and for MUSC.”

As the popularity of robots grows within manufacturing and other areas worldwide, the demand for innovation and cutting-edge technology has brought robots and high-fidelity mannequins into medical-simulation training, robotic surgery and some medical-skills training. Leaders at MUSC CDM hope the same will be true in dental education.

Monica Cayouette, D.M.D., M.S., Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Oral Rehabilitation, and  Walter Renné, D.M.D., Professor and Assistant Dean of Innovation and Digital Dentistry, led the initiative to get the dental robot. They first met with Mr. Gregory at Kilgore International in Michigan in 2013, before heading to Japan to visit the manufacturing company Nissin. With all parties on board for the collaboration, Hanoko was created.

In March, the Dentaroid was introduced at the 2018 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition. Since then, Drs. Cayouette and Renné have worked with dental research students Spencer Fair and Gray Thomas and a robot support and maintenance team to understand Hanoko’s capabilities. Hanoko’s advanced verbal communication system and movements of its head, mouth, tongue and left arm make working with the robot similar to working with a real patient.

The robot, combined with a newly established teaching-observation area that features cameras, recording devices, computers and an instructor control panel, creates a high-fidelity teaching tool for the school’s dental programs. 

Hanoko will be used primarily as a tool to instruct and educate dental students and test their dental skills. Currently, Dr. Cayouette manages the Dentaroid’s use in a pilot study focusing on oral medicine, dental simulation and restorative dentistry. 

The Dentaroid could also play a role in helping to test students’ dental clinical competencies through the Objective Structured Clinical Exam, providing an objective, standardized method of training that can reduce the time and costs associated with using live patients.

MUSC Robots 2“This OSCE-based training falls in line with both the Commission on Dental Accreditation and now the American Dental Association’s 2020 vision for the National Dental Licensure Examination development. By including the Dentaroid robot in our dental curriculum development, we hope to help support the ADA in their efforts to someday eliminate the patient-based licensure examinations,” Dr. Cayouette says.  

Noting the value of innovation in dental education, Dean Huja says, “Change is occurring in dentistry at a very rapid pace and dentists and dental practitioners are seeking to deliver health care through oral wellness.” 

“In other words, dentists should become care team leaders, not just serve as apex providers. The College of Dental Medicine seeks clinical integration for our students and practitioners with internal and external partners. Venture capital interest in dentistry remains very high, and with knowledge and teamwork, we will be able to meet and address any challenge.” 

The possibilities for dental simulation education are limitless with the Dentaroid, Dr. Cayouette notes. “The future is bright for dentistry with this new technology.”

Courtesy of Cindy Abole, MUSC CDM

Published on December 12, 2018

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