An interventional study for improving the manual dexterity of dentistry students

Diva Lugassy, Yafi Levanon, Nir Shpack, Shifra Levartovsky, Raphael Pilo, Tamar Brosh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Traditionally, the acquisition of manual skills in most dental schools worldwide is based on exercises on plastic teeth placed in a "phantom head simulator". No manual trainings are done at home. Studies revealed that preliminary training of one motoric task leads to significant improvement in performance of the required motoric task that has similar components. Performing tasks indirectly via a dental mirror are complicated for the young dental students. We hypothesized that instructed training of basic skills required in dentistry at home on a tool simulating the phantom laboratory will improve the capabilities of the students and will be reflected by their clinical grades. Methods: We developed a portable tool PhantHome which is composed of jaws, gingival tissue, rubber cover and a compatible stand. Specific teeth produced by a 3D printer with drills in different directions were placed in both jaws. Students were requested to insert pins by using tweezers and dental mirror according to instructions initiating with easy tasks and continue to ones that are more complicated. 106 first clinical year dental students participated in the study; 65 trained only in the traditional phantom lab (control). 41 trained at home by the PhantHome tool two weeks before and 2 months during the initial stage of phantom lab. The students grades routinely provided in the phantom laboratory at different stages were compared. Results: Students who trained with the portable tool performed better than the control group in the first direct and second indirect preparations (p<0.05). These exams were taken when the PhantHome was available to the students. Then, the tool was returned and the phantom course continued regularly. We believe that this is why no differences between the grades of the groups were observed further on. Conclusions: Training by the PhantHome improves motor skills and consequently the clinical performances.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0211639
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2019

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