New AR technology to help dentistry students learn complex surgery

The Melbourne Dental school hosted the Mayor of Osaka, Hideyuki Yokoyama, at a presentation by Professor Katsushi Okazaki from Dental Predictions and Softbank, that demonstrated innovative new Augmented Reality (AR) technology.

The presentation called Augmented Reality (AR) in Dentistry: An Integration of Education and Therapeutic Supports Across Nations and Regions demonstrated how AR has the potential to improve the effectiveness of dental education, enhance technical skills of clinical training, and ultimately improve treatment outcomes.

Professor Justin Zobel, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Graduate and International Research at the University of Melbourne, along with Deputy Dean Mike McGuckin (MDHS), Melbourne Dental School Professor, Roy Judge, and University of Melbourne students welcomed the delegation to the demonstration in the hopes of further collaboration with Softbank, a Japanese technology company.

The delegates from Osaka visited the University of Melbourne as part of a wider tour celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Melbourne-Osaka sister city relationship.

Deputy Dean, Professor Mike McGuckin said in his opening address, "This has been a fantastic way to celebrate the 45-year sister city relationship between Melbourne and Osaka and a wonderful first step for the bright working future between Osaka city, dental predictions, Softbank and the Melbourne Dental School at the University of Melbourne."

Professor Justin Zobel, Pro Vice-Chancellor said, “We celebrate the wonderful relationships between our cities and share a love of culture, the arts and cuisine and of course research collaboration. We at the University of Melbourne, and I believe I speak for the whole university, look forward to developing further academic relationships with Osaka’s academic institutions in the future.”

Dr Katsushi Okazaki, Hideyuki Yokoyama, Professor Mike McGuckin & Professor Alistair Sloan

Mayor of Osaka, Hideyuki Yokoyama said, “The cities of Osaka and Melbourne signed a sister-city agreement in 1978 and have since continued the relationship with exchanges in various fields from business, culture, education to sport.”

“I hope this visit will serve as an opportunity to further develop our relationship.”

The presentation by Professor Katsushi Okazaki demonstrated that AR technology can improve students understanding of anatomical structures as it provides a 360-degree perspective of the teeth and jaw. In turn, it can also assist in navigating treatment or complex procedures and provides a format for students to repeatedly practice difficult procedures. As a result, safer and more effective treatment for the patient is possible.

AR technology allows for education with students and dentists in remote areas who may not have access to real-life practice equipment. The technology means they can practice procedures virtually without any real tools.

Professor Katsushi Okazaki spoke to how AR technology can help students better understand the sequence of the root canal procedure because 3D modelling shows a 360-degree view of both the tooth and what lies beneath the tooth. It also allows students to compare outcomes of surgeries by practicing different sequences.