Dental engineers are responsible for fixing large pieces of equipment that are essential to the success of a dental practice. They have a wide range of responsibilities including repairing or replacing broken machines, identifying the cause of issues and carrying out a full inspection of the system before and after repairs to ensure that all areas are working as they should be. As a result, training to become a dental engineer requires an inquisitive and highly analytical mindset.

The combination of engineering and dentistry has already led to significant innovations in the field. Digital dentistry is fast replacing traditional dental impressions sent to labs for construction of appliances and restorations; intraoral scanning, CAD-CAM, and 3D printing have almost completely replaced conventional fabrication techniques; and artificial intelligence and Big Data are showing promise in diagnostics and treatment planning.

But in order to keep pace with the growing demand for dental care and technological advancements, the profession needs more researchers who can translate basic science discoveries into oral health care applications. This is a challenge that we must take on to provide patients with better and more efficient treatment.

A key challenge is to instill more rigorous engineering principles into the design of dental restorations and treatments, and this is where a lot of our research here at CiPD is focused. In fact, we have just launched a new program to offer our dental students world-class training in biomedical engineering at the graduate level. This program, called the DDS-PhD Program, is open to a select group of Columbia dental students who will earn both their DDS and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the same time. dental engineering