The use of computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology in restorative dentistry has increased significantly and should consequently be taught more intensively at university dental schools. This study describes the evaluation of a new CAD/CAM teaching concept.
CAD/CAM technology was implemented into a 4th-year clinical student course according to Miller's pyramid principle. Fifty-eight students with no clinical experience participated in a 2-day theoretical and practical introductory course and rated its didactic outcome (Questionnaire 1). Students selected the fabrication method for indirect single tooth restorations during a 5-month patient treatment course. 54 conventional (e.max Press) and 68 CAD/CAM (Lava Ultimate) indirect Cerec-method restorations were fabricated and seated adhesively (Syntac, Variolink II). The success of the CAD/CAM integration was analyzed by the students, who were grouped according to their selected fabrication method (Questionnaire 2), as follows: Group A (CAD/CAM, n = 18); Group B (conventional and CAD/CAM, n = 17); Group C (conventional, n = 23).
The questionnaire ratings were expressed as a percentage of the number of students' answers and are presented as diagrams. 95% of all the students in all the groups wanted CAD/CAM technology to be integrated into the subsequent (5th-year) clinical course. The rating for the CAD/CAM introductory course on a scale of 1 (very good) to 6 (poor) was 1.86 on average for the theoretical part, and 2.20 for the practical part. Statistically significant differences were found among the technology groupings (Pearson's chi-squared test, P < 0.05).
CAD/CAM technology was highly welcomed by the 4th-year students and was introduced successfully into the clinical student course. Students tended to favor technology in accordance with the extent of its clinical application.