The University Of Oklahoma College Of Dentistry Opens Digital Lab

12-09-2018

3D Solutions @ OU Dentistry, a digital lab on the forefront of innovative technology, opened its doors at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry on the Health Sciences Centre campus in early August.

The lab provides enhanced workflows and technology services to the HSC campus including virtual designs and planning, scanning 3D printing and computer-controlled milling. Examples include dental crowns, splints and dentures for needs within the dental school, and various educational and surgical projects for campus departments.

With the most advanced technology, 3D prints can take as little as 45-60 minutes, depending on size. Another added benefit of 3D Solutions @ OU Dentistry is that costs are significantly cheaper than using outside companies because the lab is housed right on campus. Clients also have the luxury of being able to meet face-to-face with the team of prosthodontists who supervise the lab.

Currently, residents and graduate students in the postdoctoral programs have access to the lab and are using it on a daily basis, reducing chair time for their patients. Faculty members also have access to the lab and are using the 3D materials for courses, giving students a unique hands-on experience they wouldn’t get at other dental schools.

“The digital lab not only gives us the opportunity to provide our faculty with modern teaching materials for our students, but provides our students with the knowledge and resources to treat their patients more efficiently,” said OU College of Dentistry Dean, Dr. Raymond A. Cohlmia.

Eventually, the college would like to incorporate the use of the machines permanently into the curriculum, creating Digital Dental Technology courses where students would be trained extensively to use all types of dental technology. The combination of the digital lab and Digital Dental Technology courses will mark the OU College of Dentistry as one of the first dental schools in the U.S. to teach technology at this level.

Although it may seem the lab popped up over night, it took several months of extensive research, meetings and brainstorming sessions for 3D Solutions @ OU Dentistry to become a reality. Months before the digital lab opened, Dean Cohlmia formulated the Digital Dentistry Task Force to start the conversation of integrating technology into the curriculum. The purpose of the task force is to evaluate, design and aid in the implementation of the digital technologies throughout the college for the benefit of the profession, the college’s curriculum, academia, research and other business opportunities. Dr. Yacoub Al Sakka, assistant professor in the Division of Prosthodontics,  was appointed Chair of the task force and Director of Digital Dental Technologies. Part of his role includes overseeing 3D Solutions @ OU Dentistry. From there, subcommittee members created a plan to open a new digital lab within the College of Dentistry.

“Across the HSC campus, several departments have shown interest in our lab and several others have started using 3D Solutions @ OU Dentistry for collaborative research projects and patient treatments,” said Dr. Al Sakka. “Our vision is to become a leader both on campus and across Oklahoma. We want the lab to be utilised by all dental and medical professionals across the state.”