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3M Donation Strengthens High-Tech Curriculum

Written by Adam Zewe

3M provided UMSOD with five Lava Chair-side Oral Scanners (COS) in December, a gift valued at approximately $150,000. The scanners have been installed in the Dream Room and will be incorporated into the curriculum this spring.

3M Community Giving, the company's charitable arm, donated the equipment to help advance academic excellence in higher education, explains Chad Naughton, marketing manager for 3M Digital Oral Care. The company selected UMSOD because the school shows a strong commitment to integrate new technology into coursework. "It makes sense for innovation to the brought to dental schools like Maryland because schools are training the next generation of dentists. When you look five or 10 years down the road, digital technology is going to start becoming a way of life for dentists," he remarks. Some industry analysts expect that 50 percent of U.S. dentists will utilize chair-side digital impression systems by 2020.

Chair-side digital scanners streamline the way dentists take impressions. Using Lava COS, students scan teeth with an intraoral video camera that acquires a digital impression. They can rotate or enlarge the impression and even use special glasses to view the image in three dimensions. Once the digital impression is complete, it can be sent from the scanner to a model-building lab.

The technology is expected to become part of the curriculum for year-one operative dentistry courses and year-two crown and bridge courses this spring, says Gary Hack, DDS, director of simulation. Familiarizing students with the Lava COS early-on encourages them to use the devices during clinical cases.

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