One of the most disconcerting, and momentarily painful, moments involved in a visit to the dentist is the injection of local anaesthetic into the gums.
Now scientists at the University of Newcastle in Australia have come up with a method that they hope will make the experience less traumatic, by ensuring that the next generation of oral health professionals are experts at using syringes before they even start treating real people.
A team led by lecturer Denise Higgins collaborated with the university’s IT department to design a virtual dental clinic, in which student dentists are tested on their ability to administer anaesthetic with utmost precision.
“From listening to student feedback over the years, I knew they felt they were missing something between the theory and practising on their peers and patients,” Higgins said.
“Administering anaesthetic needles is an incredibly intricate process, and not something many feel confident doing without extensive practice. Ultimately, we want our patients to feel safe, comfortable and at-ease, which is why it’s crucial to ensure our students feel confident entering the patient clinic.”
Originally published by Cosmos as The dentist will see you now
Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.