Connect industry with students to improve dental education, access to oral care
July 09, 2021
With the increasing pace of technological advancements, one group has made it their mission to help establish a collaboration between industry and schools to introduce dental students to the latest innovations that can ultimately help their patients.
“We want to show students something about the dental profession that they probably wouldn’t see due to the economic constraints of a dental school,” said Edward Rossomando, DDS, Ph.D., president of the Center for Research & Education in Technology, or CRET.
CRET, which was founded in 2004 by a group of dental industry leaders, rewards a dental school with an innovation center. These innovation centers are modeled on a framework of private practice and equipped with the latest technologies and dental products.
The dental school builds the innovation center and funds the staff. In return, the CRET award provides all equipment and merchandise for the innovation center at no cost to the school.
On April 6, Lincoln Memorial University College of Dental Medicine in Tennessee received the CRET 2021 Innovation Center award. The schedule calls for the innovation center to be ready when the school welcomes its first dental students to the school. fall 2022.
Based on past awards, the Lincoln Memorial award is expected to provide around $ 1 million in equipment and merchandise.
The innovation center is designed as a private dental practice with treatment rooms, dental laboratory, sterilization area, reception area, records area, staff areas and consultation areas. CRET provides the equipment for six treatment rooms and all associated technology, including dental chairs, laboratory equipment, x-rays, sterilization equipment, handpieces and instruments, consumables, restorative materials and digital technology.
“The integration of cutting edge technology into the college of dentistry is changing the world of dentistry and dental education,” said Denise Terese-Koch, DDS, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at the Lincoln Memorial University. “Our graduates will be equipped to provide quality, comprehensive, patient-centered and person-centered patient care in a stress-free environment using the latest technological advances.”
Lincoln Memorial University joins the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the University of Mississippi, and the University of West Virginia among dental schools nationwide that have received CRET Innovation Center awards.
“This is a tremendous opportunity as we continue to lay the foundation for our college of dentistry,” said Clayton Hess, president of Lincoln Memorial University. “CRET’s innovation center will ensure that our students are ready to practice upon graduation so that they can have an immediate impact on the health of the communities they serve. “
And to think that CRET started with a donation of dental equipment collecting dust in a janitor’s closet.
In 2001, in order to offer their new technologies and equipment to students and teachers, dental product manufacturers donated equipment to dental schools.
A year later, when industry representatives returned to schools to see what teachers and students thought of the donated items, Dr Rossomando said, the equipment could not be located.
“After a thorough search, one of the guards was asked about the equipment,” Dr Rossomando said. “The warden replied, ‘Oh yes, here it is.’ And he opened the closet door and voila, the CAD / CAM dental milling machine given away a year ago and still packed.
In 2004, a group of about 10 dental manufacturers and dental industry leaders approached Dr. Rossomando to help them understand how to develop a program to provide equipment and goods to dental schools. And CRET was created.
CRET’s mission is to “develop a technological education program for dental students, dental residents and dental teachers that will promote 21st century technology knowledge and skills”.
And like the technology and equipment used in innovation centers, CRET’s mission also continues to evolve.
“We focus on the students,” said Dr Rossomando. “We want to show them what dentistry could look like, and what it looks like in a lot of situations. “
However, along with students and school, innovation centers can also benefit the community, especially in areas with high dental insecurity.
It is now part of CRET’s selection process to consider dental schools that can use innovation centers to elevate access to dental care in surrounding communities.
“This effort to help communities through this industry-dental education partnership is part of our mission,” said Dr. Rossomando.
‘We are a family’
The construction and equipment of an innovation center can vary from school to school, and it is not uncommon for an innovation center to have several companies that provide similar equipment.
“It is very encouraging to have a variety of different manufacturers providing similar products,” said Mia Cassell, Executive Director of CRET. “Students can try them all and find what works best for them. The innovation center equipment should not already be available in the school’s dental clinics, so it is innovative.
At the University of Missouri in Kansas City, it took about three years of discussions and agreements to build the 2,026 square foot Dr. Charles Dunlap Innovation Center for Research and Education in Technology, which opened in 2012. The school provided space for the clinic with seven chairs, while dental manufacturers outfitted the operating rooms. The equipment, supplied by CRET members, includes dental chairs, cone beam X-rays, CAD / CAM, sterilization equipment, impression materials and electronic practice management systems.
At the newest innovation center, which opened at the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry in 2019, students and faculty use a dental microscope, lasers, digital impressions, and CT scan at conical beam and have the ability to design and mill dentures.
While there is a strong sense of competition in the participating member companies, CRET promotes a unified mindset to support improved dental education and the mission of improving access to care in surrounding communities. from school.
“It has been very rewarding for me to work with this group of industry professionals and promote dental education,” said Dr. Rossomando. “We are a family.”
For more information about CRET and how to apply for a CRET Innovation Center award, visit cretdental.org.