• computer simulation;
  • computer-assisted instruction;
  • educational technology;
  • manual dexterity training;
  • psychomotor skills;
  • assessment tools


Virtual reality dental training simulators, unlike traditional human-based assessment, have the potential to enable consistent and reliable assessment. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a haptic simulator (IDEA Dental®) could provide a reliable and valid assessment of manual dexterity. A total of 106 participants were divided into three groups differing in dental manual dexterity experience: (i) 63 dental students, (ii) 28 dentists, (iii) 14 non-dentists. The groups, which were expected to display various performance levels, were required to perform virtual drilling tasks in different geometric shapes. The following task parameters were registered: (i) Time to completion (ii) accuracy (iii) number of trials to successful completion and (iv) score provided by the simulator. The reliability of the tasks was calculated for each parameter. The simulator and its scoring algorithm showed high reliability in all the parameters measured. The simulator was able to differentiate between non-professionals and dental students or non-professionals and dentists. Our study suggests that for improved construct validity, shorter working times and more difficult tasks should be introduced. The device should also be designed to provide greater sensitivity in measuring the accuracy of the task.