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A unique, “digital dentistry” technique will soon be put to use at the Naval Postgraduate Dental School (NPDS) onboard Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB).

“Digital dentistry is a new technique coming on strong in dentistry,” said Capt. Kathleen Kenny, course director of Prosthodontic Department, Digital Dentistry.

“We have the equipment, but now we need to get people comfortable using it.”

Kenny explained that a digital picture is taken of the prepared and adjacent teeth. Computer software is then used to design the crown, then the information is sent to a milling machine to create a crown, which is made and delivered on the same day as the preparation. She also noted the software allows Navy prosthodontists to fabricate multiple restorations at the same time, even if they are in opposing arches.

To help train staff on this new technology, Navy Medicine Professional Development Center (NMPDC) offered courses to staff on March 19-23.

“Once you are trained and experienced, you can save a lot of time by eliminating a lot of lab procedures,” said Maj. Joel Doucette, Canadian Forces Dental Service. He added that with conventional methods, impression materials and multiple lab supplies would be required, but not with this technique.

The CEREC unit was first introduced to the Navy operational environment about seven years ago and is now widely used throughout the Navy. Currently, there is one CEREC chair-side device at NPDS and one at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC).

“Since it is a learning environment, this is a great experience and I can get on the spot feedback from mentors and teachers,” said course participant Lt. Col. Martin Brochu, Canadian Forces Dental Service. “It is great to put into practice what I have been learning in the past few days. Esthetically the fit was close to perfect.”

The digital dentistry course will conclude with patient care and restorations delivered, providing cutting-edge dental services to continue meeting patient needs.

Navy Medicine Professional Development Center prepares the men and women who deliver Navy medicine through education, training and support. Their programs produce more than 12,600 graduates a year in all of the medical staff corps. The NMPDC is also part of the Navy Medicine team, a global healthcare network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high-quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

For more information about NMPDC, visit www.med.navy.mil/sites/navmedmpte/Pages/default.aspx.