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J Dent Educ. 2011 Dec;75(12):1548-57.

The use of haptics to predict preclinic operative dentistry performance and perceptual ability.

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Department of General Dentistry, School of Dental Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8706, USA.


The aim of this study was to test whether performance on a range of manual dexterity haptic simulator exercises was associated with preclinical operative dentistry examination and Perceptual Ability Test (PAT) scores. Thirty-nine first-year dental students were tested with three haptic exercises--straight line, circle, and mirror line--each performed twice. Haptic exercise outcomes for accuracy, time, and success rate were measured using commercially available computer software. Spearman correlation coefficients and Student's t-test were used to assess the results. PAT and exam scores were not significantly correlated. Significant correlations were observed between exam scores and both time and accuracy scores for the circle and mirror exams. These results suggest that haptic devices have a potential role in predicting performance in preclinical dental education. Further studies are warranted to develop and validate diagnostic testing strategies for dental students and to evaluate implementation of haptics in the dental teaching environment.

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