Third-year dental student Oleg Shvartsur looked around him, grinned and said, “Wow — I’m like a kid in a candy store.”
Shvartsur, president of the Class of 2011 at the School of Dentistry, was getting his first look at the school’s new Advanced Technology Center (ATC), which opened with a VIP reception June 3.
The ATC will let students work with state-of-the-art clinical equipment while treating patients. All third-year and fourth-year dental students will have ACT rotations. The center will also be used for honors and elective clinical experiences.
The new facility, located at one end of the school’s third-floor student clinic, features equipment such as a Cadent iTero digital impression system, an example of the impact that computer-aided design and manufacturing has had on restorative dentistry. The ATC also incorporates microscopes, digital radiography, plasma display monitors and hands-free cabinet operation to limit cross-contamination.
The ATC has six new operatories designed for comfortable use by left-handed or right-handed practitioners. Its new dental chairs are also designed to accommodate patients with special needs.
“I am delighted that our students and faculty, including our affiliate instructors, will have this new facility,” said Dr. E. Ricardo Schwedhelm, Clinical Associate Professor of Restorative Dentistry and ATC director.
“Our vision is to expose students and dental practitioners to a peer-based learning experience environment with the utilization of dental advanced technology.”
Faculty members also will be able to use the ATC for clinical trials and studies, as well as for designing protocols for product development and testing.
The ATC will be operated by School of Dentistry staff and faculty. Schwedhelm said he plans to expand partnerships with area dental-assistant schools.
“Dr. Schwedhelm has done a magnificent job in securing support for the Center and moving it from concept to reality,” said Dr. Martha Somerman, dean of the School of Dentistry. “It was his energy and devotion to the project that made this all possible.”
The ATC, which took 16 months to develop and build, was created entirely with private funds and gifts of equipment from more than 30 contributors. Major donors include A-dec, DentalEZ, Drs. Bryan and Linda Edgar, Issaquah Dental Lab, Pelton & Crane, Carl Zeiss Inc. and Hu-Friedy Dental Instruments. Support has also come from other corporate partners, dental alumni and faculty.
“The support we have received for the Center shows how we can work with private industry to integrate advanced technology into our curriculum,” Dr. Schwedhelm said. “Our donors and supporters have made a tremendous investment in the future of our School of Dentistry and our students who will be leaders of the dental profession.”