With a view to cultivating outstanding dentists capable of engaging themselves in clinical treatment and in doing basic research in dental fields, students are encouraged to participate in the research plan and activity. Some of them even gain scholarships from the National Scientific Committee.
Current research includes
- Research on designs of dental implants
- Research on orthodontic dentistry
- Research on dental materials
- Research on bone tissue engineering
- Research on pathology of oral mucosa
- Research on physiology of PDL cells
- Research on Implantology
- Research on dental biomechanics
Development Characteristics in the Department of Dentistry
The distinguishing characteristic of future developments in the Department of Dentistry is a focus on excellence in education and research to improve the quality of life. In addition to the current outstanding achievements in education effectiveness, foresight into the advances in future technology is also required to guide the improvement of teaching tools. A relevant environment must be planned and constructed using digitalized teaching and research realism as the main axis.
The dentistry education in this department emphasizes the equal importance of basic medical sciences and specialized dentistry courses. The implementation of teaching digitization was initiated with the Faculty Teaching Quality Improvement program of the 2005 academic year. Courses on Artificial Implantology were made available on the Internet through construction of the “People-Orientated Dental e-Academy.” In the 2007 academic year, the department purchased a complete 3D digital clinical simulation training system as well as some components of a digital self-learning platform for oral pathology studies. Thus, the digitization of teaching is gradually becoming a reality.
Regarding curriculum reform, humanities education is now provided at the beginning of the first year. Additionally, History of Medical Ethics and Community Health Education courses are emphasized. Current curriculum planning is targeted toward achieving the following goals:
- Include problem-based learning (PBL) and case-based learning (CBL) in the curriculum design of all studies from the second-year Biochemistry courses through to the fifth-year courses on overall dental treatment to encourage self-learning. Thus, students with professionalism, critical thinking, and lifelong learning abilities can be cultivated to meet the “holistic education” goal of this faculty. After graduation, students are expected to not only be renowned dentists, but also ethical dentists.
- Integrate Internet learning platform for Diagnostic Radiology, developed by a retired professor of the Baylor College of Dentistry, into the existing Oral Pathology digital self-learning platform. In addition to expanding the self-learning database, improvements to students’ English abilities and attitudes to lifelong learning attitude should also be conducted.
- Apply the 3D interactive digital clinical simulation training system DentSim in practical courses on Operative Dentistry and Fixed Prosthodontics. Because the number of enrolled students has reached 100, four additional DentSim should be purchased in the future.
- Because of advances in digitization and computer technology, CAD-CAM mechanical engineering technology has been incorporated in clinical dental treatments, which has simplified the processing procedures conducted by technicians and reduced the production of related waste. To achieve total compliance with policies regarding “carbon reduction and an environmentally friendly green Earth,” a CAD-CAM training center must be established to provide insight into future trends.
- Include digital X-ray filming and film-less, paper-less assignments in practical Endodontics courses.
Future research is focused on developing dental apparatus for use in cross-institution integrative studies related to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. The cooperation method used by the research team and the proposals submitted for approval are shown in Fig. 1 and the Appendix, respectively. The overall planned research direction is as follows:
- “Medicine” and “Engineering” Research Learning Platform
In the global dental apparatus market, the revenue generated by medical grade implantations is estimated to exceed US$3.5 billion in 2010. The annual growth of this market is rapid at approximately 15 to 18%. Therefore, the Dentistry and Oral Hygiene departments are actively pursuing the cross-field integration of “medicine” and “engineering.” To retain the advantage of extensive clinical experience, additional academic staff from the fields of Material Science, Medical Engineering Design, Biotechnology, and Molecular Biology have been employed. Additionally, three laboratories have been established, a Biomechanics Laboratory, a Dental Materials Laboratory, and an Oral Cellular Biology Laboratory.
- Material analysis of existing products, research and development of new manufacturing processes, and new materials combined with external design and mechanical analysis have been employed in in vitro simulations, biological compatibility evaluations, and clinical evaluations and feedback to develop new products.
- Mechanical analysis of existing products and research and development of external designs that integrate material preparation and mechanical analysis have been employed in in vitro simulations, biological compatibility evaluations, and clinical evaluations and feedback to develop new products.
- New techniques (prevention or treatment) are developed clinically and integrated with new materials and appearances to systematically develop new models.
Materials: functional material (surface treatment), nanotechnology
Engineering: mechanical simulation, exterior appearance design, diagnostic interface
Biomedicine: diagnostic analysis, treatment techniques, disease research
Clinical: prevention and treatment techniques, disease research
- Pain Medicine research learning platform
Based on the advantage that this is the first medical university in Taiwan to train specialized personnel in both Chinese and Western medicine, graduates from this institution can apply multi-dimensional knowledge during clinical dental treatment of patients. Theories and methods of Chinese medicine can be included in treatment where appropriate to provide patients with the best possible medical care. Students are encouraged to include traditional Chinese medicine in inter-disciplinary projects and use Chinese medicine in dental treatments.
- Plan cross-institution research with National Taiwan University and National Yang-Ming, Department of Dentistry.
- Define the relationship between the TMJ and snapping joints in the limbs, TMJ deformities, and nocturnal teeth grinders and establish a national database.
- Assess the effectiveness of Chinese medicine acupuncture therapy.
- Assess other possible influencing factors.
- Use gene arrays to discover unique gene patterns and genetic sequences.
- Regenerative Medicine research learning platform
The fundamental objective of medicine comprises two dimension “treatment” and “prevention.” With recent advances in technology, regenerative medicine has received substantial attention and discussion. These discussions are primarily related to the two topics “stem cell therapy” and “tissue engineering.”
- Research the biological compatibility between regenerated tissue and the framing material.
- Establish a mesenchymal stem cell and tissue culture bank.
- Develop techniques to regenerate periodontal tissue, pulp tissue, teeth, and TMJ.
Department of Dentistry Research Dimensions