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An initial assessment of haptics in preclinical operative dentistry training




The purpose of this study was to assess novice student perception of haptic-based manual dexterity training. The short-term impact of haptic training in the early phase of preclinical operative dentistry education was also investigated.


Dental students performed a class II amalgam and a class III resin tooth preparation in a typodont model at baseline. The experimental group performed exercises on the manual dexterity module of the IDEA™ software using a haptic device. The exercises required removing the maximum amount of three-dimensional geometric shapes within a predetermined width and depth. Tooth preparations were repeated 2 weeks later. A questionnaire survey was given to assess the subjective evaluation of the haptic simulation exercise.


Tooth preparations were scored regarding external outline, internal form, and integrity of adjacent tooth. Improvement of overall tooth preparation scores post-haptic use was not statistically significant compared to controls (P > 0.05). However, students found the game-feature of the haptic device made the learning experience more fun and interesting.


The haptic exercises with the manual dexterity module software were not superior in improving the dexterity of students for tooth cavity preparations in short-term. Benefits of ease of use and fun learning experience can be further investigated in future studies.