The Role of Dental Engineering in Dentistry and Oral Health

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Dentistry uses a large quantity of equipment and machines that require regular servicing, maintenance and repairs. The engineering of such devices is crucial to their performance, reliability and safety. Dental engineers have a significant role in the design, fabrication, assembling, modification, installation, operation, inspection and testing of the electrical, mechanical and pneumatic parts of these appliances and devices as well as their annual servicing and replacements.

dental engineering also aims to replace the biological materials of teeth and periodontal tissues with biocompatible synthetic materials that present chemical, physical and biological properties and behaviors similar to the host tissue. This aims to restore proprioception, take up masticatory loads and reinstate esthetics. In addition, regenerative approaches aim to regenerate the tooth-supporting apparatus in a predictable way after periodontal surgery and to repair bone defects caused by trauma or cancer.

In the context of modern trends, dentistry and oral health need to be supported by a wide range of engineering approaches: robotics, nano/biotechnology, artificial intelligence, mRNA/drug delivery and organ-on-a-chip applied to the biofilm microbiome, host immunity and tissue regeneration. These developments support strategies for disease prevention, new preventive approaches and affordable therapies for diseases that affect the oral cavity including dental caries, periodontal disease and head and neck cancer.

The CiPD has established a unique platform to leverage such cutting-edge technologies in the dental field. Funded by NIH/NIDCR and augmented with fellowships from industry, university-wide partnerships and diversity initiatives, CiPD has built a community of dentist-engineers to advance this mission.

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