Dental equipment is an important investment for a practice and needs to work well for the long term. This is where a dental engineer can help. They are responsible for assembling, installing, modifying, repairing and servicing electrical, mechanical, pneumatic and x-ray equipment within a dental surgery. They ensure the equipment meets strict safety and regulation standards. They also offer annual servicing, repairs and compliance reports.
The interdisciplinary branch of engineering that addresses such issues is called dental engineering Combining engineering and dentistry has already brought many innovations to modern dentistry such as intraoral scanning, CAD-CAM, 3D printing, the replacement of impressions by digital models, the application of Big Data and AI in diagnosis and treatment planning, the use of implant-scaffolds and new materials for prosthetic restorations, etc.
However, there are some challenges to overcome to realize the full potential of dental engineering in dentistry. To do so, it is essential to foster a new cadre of researchers that can bridge the disciplines of engineering and oral-craniofacial sciences, develop novel research thrusts and translate these discoveries into affordable diagnostic tools and therapeutic solutions for a wide range of clinical problems.
Traditionally, dentists have designed dental restorations by trial and error, mainly based on experience from previous cases. It is crucial for them to adopt and learn from more rigorous engineering principles, especially those related to the interaction of load, shape and material in order to improve the durability of their work.