Estafan instructs Kasia Szary, Class of 2005
of the DVD is to show the student the correct direction of the handpiece
over the tooth.
J. Estafan, DDS, MS.
Associate Professor and Director of Aesthetics, Department of
General Dentistry and Comprehensive Care
predoctoral curriculum recognizes that the process of training clinically
competent, 21st century dentists, requires exposing students early
in their professional education to how new knowledge in aesthetic
dentistry is gained, how to evaluate new materials and new diagnostic
techniques as they become available, and how to keep pace with the
oral health needs and desires created by changing demographics and
students in their second year take a standardized, preclinical aesthetics
course as a first step in preparing them to become knowledgeable
in diagnosing and treating patients who require aesthetic procedures.
The course, taught in our new, state-of-the-art simulation facility,
begins with an introduction to aesthetic smile design and smile
analysis, and includes a focus on the aesthetic principles and concepts
to be followed in creating aesthetically pleasing smiles. Students
also learn when to treat a patient, when to refer the patient to
a specialist, and when multi-specialist treatment is indicated.
They learn how to communicate with the laboratory technician, how
to achieve color modifications and case evaluation as a therapeutic
alternative, and the differences in aesthetic dentistry techniques
for adult, geriatric, and pediatric patients.
But since the
art of aesthetic dentistry is a lot more than simply knowing the
techniques, students are also taught to be aware of and to manage
patient expectations which may extend beyond the limits of appropriate
dental care and the capabilities of available dental materials.
For example, if a patient requests the removal of a gold or silver
filling without a diagnosis of caries or fracture, it is the student’s
responsibility to tell the patient that to do so would be unethical
and unprofessional. In most cases, however, restorative aesthetic
procedures are indeed indicated, and students learn how to sequence
and carry out the treatment.
to allowing students to learn the conventional methods of preparing
and fabricating tooth-colored restorative materials, including inlays,
onlays, and ceramic crowns, the preclinical course includes CAD/CAM
(computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacture) technology,
thereby providing students with hands-on training in fabricating
a tooth restoration in a matter of minutes after an optical impression
of the tooth has been made. Students practice designing these restorations
on their own computers with the same ceramic restoration software,
CEREC 3, which is used chairside in our clinics. In the coming year,
an updated version of CEREC, CEREC 3D, will be included in the VitalBook™
Technology system — a completely digital curriculum, which all NYUCD
students now use. After each semester students trade in their old
DVD for an updated version of the entire curriculum.
This leap in
technology allows us to continually monitor and evaluate how information
is transmitted to students and to ask what meaningful changes should
be made in the course. For example, for the first time in the history
of any of the predoctoral programs, we were able to produce digital
recordings of the procedures the students performed in the course.
These procedures will be included in next year’s DVD, so that students
may own a reference copy of a variety of preclinical and clinical
procedures that they will be able to preview before the course begins
and to review before the exam. Prior to the introduction of the
video DVD, preclinical demonstration videos were viewed only once
by the students. The opportunity for repeated viewings will be especially
valuable for third- and fourth-year students, who are preparing
to perform these procedures on patients. In addition, video snippets
of procedures are being converted to PDA (personal digital assistant
or hand-held device) formats to further expand our students’ access
to information and technology.
All of these
innovations are adding a new dimension to preclinical aesthetic
dentistry education for both students and faculty, who view them
as enhancing dentistry’s ability to meet the ever-evolving needs
wishes to thank Dr. Elise Eisenberg, Director of Dental Informatics,
and the NYUCD Department of Audiovisual Services for their help
in integrating computer-assisted learning technologies into the
preclinical course in aesthetics.