Effectiveness and feasibility of utilizing E4D technology as a teaching tool in a preclinical dental education environment

Richard S. Callan, Christie L. Palladino, Alan R. Furness, Emily L. Bundy, Brittany L. Ange

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Recent efforts have been directed towards utilizing CAD/CAM technology in the education of future dentists. The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the feasibility of implementing CAD/CAM technology in instruction on preparing a tooth for restoration. Students at one dental school were assigned access to CAD/CAM technology vs. traditional preparation methods in a randomized, crossover design. In a convenience sample of a second-year class, seventy-six of the seventy-nine students volunteered to participate, for a response rate of 96 percent. Two analyses were performed on this pilot data: a primary effectiveness analysis comparing students' competency exam scores by intervention group (intention-to-treat analysis) and a secondary efficacy analysis comparing competency exam scores among students who reported using CAD/CAM versus those who did not. The effectiveness analysis showed no difference in outcomes by intervention group assignment. While student survey results indicated interest in utilizing the technology, the actual utilization rate was much less than one might anticipate, yielding a sample size that limited statistical power. The secondary analysis demonstrated higher mean competency exam scores for students reporting use of CAD/CAM compared to those who did not use the technology, but these results did not reach statistical significance (p=0.075). Prior research has investigated the efficacy of CAD/CAM in a controlled educational trial, but this study adds to the literature by investigating student use of CAD/CAM in a real-world, self-study fashion. Further studies should investigate ways in which to increase student utilization of CAD/CAM and whether or not increased utilization, with a larger sample size, would yield significant outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1416-1423
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Crown preparation
  • Dental education
  • Educational technology
  • Preclinical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)


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