The School of Dentistry Simulation Clinic provides the physical facility for dental students to practice techniques and procedures in conditions similar to actual patient care. Each station is equipped with an articulated plastic head mounted on a life-like rubber torso. The head holds a full maxillary and mandibular dentition with changeable teeth. Along with the life-like patient manikin is a dental unit providing compressed air, electric power, water and light. This environment provides dentists-in-training with a more realistic simulated patient experience, emphasizes ergonomics, and provide an active hands-on learning environment.
Dental students practice procedures and related techniques ranging from periodontal instrument adaptation to fixed and removable restorative dentistry. The beginning dental student spends approximately 800 hours becoming familiar with the special relationships of the oral cavity and associated structures. A series of exercises on teeth in both arches allows the student to practice patient positioning, various instrumentation approaches and access challenges that come with working in a close, limited environment. Students become proficient in preparing teeth to receive a variety of direct and indirect restorations.
The School of Dentistry intentionally named the facility a "Simulation Clinic" instead of a "Simulation Lab" so that the students and faculty treat the manikin as if a true patient and simulation exercises are recognized as an important aspect of student training at OHSU's School of Dentistry. Good technique and ergonomic positioning are expected to be practiced in preparation for live patient care. Ultimately, the licensure testing for the Endodontic Section of the Western Regional Examination Board is conducted in a simulation setting. The simulation of patient care enhances the dental students' success in the preclinical training, brings familiarity of the clinical environment, and results in more efficient patient care while improving overall patient safety.