Does dentistry today offer effective solutions to our dental problems? The effects of the increasing adoption of computer technology
Does dentistry today offer high tech, simple, functional, comfortable and cost effective solutions to our dental problems? Perhaps not all the adjectives just mentioned apply but what seemed futuristic ten years ago is now becoming a reality.
Many of the advances are based on digital technologies. For example, having an impression taken can be very uncomfortable, to say the least. This technique is being replaced with 3D scanning of the oral cavity.
In other areas, labour intensive, highly dexterous methods of production of dental items such as crowns and bridges are being replaced with computer aided design and computer aided manufacture. Several world first innovations developed at Cardiff Metropolitan University have contributed to this revolution.
Professor Bob Williams
Bob is Professor of Dental Technology and Innovation at the Cardiff School of Health Sciences. He teaches on the dental technology programmes and supervises full and part time research students. After completing education and training in the field of dentistry, he graduated from the University of Keele. Following this he successfully completed a Ph D, largely in the history of science, having been funded by the award of an SSRC scholarship. He then moved back into dentistry to work in Cardiff Dental School from which he came to Cardiff Met where he has been a Head of Department, a Learning and Teaching Enhancement Officer and one of the first Directors of Learning and Teaching. He is also at present a General Dental Council Inspector and Assessor.
Currently he is researching into the application to dentistry of new technologies within the field of Computer Aided Design, Computer Aided Manufacture and Additive Manufacture. Working with colleagues in the university’s own Product Design and Development Research unit and the wider context, results were achieved in realising several world firsts describing how processes could be applied to the fabrication of unique patient devices in the fields of prosthodontics and orthodontics, replacing several highly dextrous and manually intensive skills. In addition he has been involved in testing the materials produced by Additive Manufacture.
He has also had an influence in learning and teaching, developing some of the first computer animated diagrams and has also contributed to a novel form of programme delivery using video conferencing and other forms of blended learning.
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