Establishing CAD/CAM in Preclinical Dental Education: Evaluation of a Hands-On Module.J Dent Educ. 2015 Oct; 79(10):1215-21.JD
The aim of this study was to evaluate a hands-on computer-assisted design/computer-assisted manufacture (CAD/CAM) module in a preclinical dental course in restorative dentistry. A controlled trial was conducted by dividing a class of 56 third-year dental students in Germany into study and control groups; allocation to the two groups depended on student schedules. Prior information about CAD/CAM-based restorations was provided for all students by means of lectures, preparation exercises, and production of gypsum casts of prepared resin teeth. The study group (32 students) then participated in a hands-on CAD/CAM module in small groups, digitizing their casts and designing zirconia frameworks for single crowns. The digitization process was introduced to the control group (24 students) solely by means of a video-supported lecture. To assess the knowledge gained, a 20-question written examination was administered; 48 students took the exam. The results were analyzed with Student's t-tests at a significance level of 0.05. The results on the examination showed a significant difference between the two groups: the mean scores were 16.8 (SD 1.7, range 13-19) for the study group and 12.5 (SD 3, range 4-18) for the control group. After the control group had also experienced the hands-on module, a total of 48 students from both groups completed a questionnaire with 13 rating-scale and three open-ended questions evaluating the module. Those results showed that the module was highly regarded by the students. This study supports the idea that small-group hands-on courses are helpful for instruction in digital restoration design. These students' knowledge gained and satisfaction seemed to justify the time, effort, and equipment needed.