AIM: To evaluate the effectiveness of haptic virtual reality (VR) simulator training using microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) tooth models on minimizing procedural errors in endodontic access preparation.
METHODOLOGY: Fourth year dental students underwent a pre-training assessment of access cavity preparation on an extracted maxillary molar tooth mounted on a phantom head. Students were then randomized to training on either the micro-CT tooth models with a haptic VR simulator (n = 16) or extracted teeth in a phantom head (n = 16) training environments for 3 days, after which the assessment was repeated. The main outcome measure was procedural errors assessed by an expert blinded to trainee and training status. The secondary outcome measures were tooth mass loss and task completion time. The Wilcoxon test was used to examine the differences between pre-training and post-training error scores, on the same group. The Mann-Whitney test was used to detect any differences between haptic VR training and phantom head training groups. The independent t-test was used to make a comparison on tooth mass removed and task completion time between the haptic VR training and phantom head training groups.
RESULTS: Post-training performance had improved compared with pre-training performance in error scores in both groups (P < 0.05). However, error score reduction between the haptic VR simulator and the conventional training group was not significantly different (P > 0.05). The VR simulator group decreased significantly (P < 0.05) the amount of hard tissue volume lost on the post-training exercise. Task completion time was not significantly different (P > 0.05) in both groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Training on the haptic VR simulator and conventional phantom head had equivalent effects on minimizing procedural errors in endodontic access cavity preparation.
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