The Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine has received a $1 million in-kind donation from Bien Air USA, Inc.
The company donated and is installing 256 new electric systems that operate the handpieces used in every patient workstation across the patient clinics in the Alton, Edwardsville and East St. Louis campuses, as well as in all the preclinical student workstations. The systems provide a significant technological advancement from those being replaced.
“Technology is rapidly evolving in the practice of dentistry,” said SDM Dean Bruce Rotter, DMD. “It is incumbent on dental schools to provide training that will prepare our graduates to utilize this technology.”
Faculty and staff in the SDM’s Department of Restorative Dentistry had determined that the previously used air-driven units were in critical need of technological advancement. However, the cost of converting to electric handpieces was prohibitive.
“Through the generous donation by Bien Air, it has been possible for the school to embrace this technological advancement, which will help us to continue to train excellent dental practitioners,” Rotter said.
The new handpieces offer numerous advantages over traditional air-driven handpieces. By operating at half the revolutions per minute than air-driven units, they produce greater cutting power with more precise margins, less heat and less noise.
“The most popular feature among patients is the elimination of high-pitched whining,” said Randall Duncan, DDS, clinical associate professor and chair of the Department of Restorative Dentistry. “Operating this handpiece also requires a shorter learning curve for students because it’s greater cutting efficiency makes it easier to control. It is also possible to easily cut and polish all materials used in today’s dental offices that air-driven units often struggled to cut through.”
“This avant-garde technology offers exceptional ergonomics and unmatched performance, ” said Arthur Mateen, general manager of Bien Air USA. “We are proud to partner with the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine in providing the latest equipment for the training of future dentists.”
SIU School of Dental Medicine students manage approximately 35,000 patient visits each year at patient clinics in Alton and East St. Louis. In addition, students offer oral health treatment, screenings and education to more than 10,000 people annually through a wide variety of off-campus community outreach events. These opportunities provide students the training they need to graduate and become highly skilled dentists.
Photo: An SIU SDM student operates a technologically-advanced electric handpiece at a preclinical student workstation.