A career in dental engineering can seem daunting, but if it’s the right choice it can be extremely rewarding. Working on large pieces of equipment that are crucial to the everyday running of a practice, such as electrical, mechanical and pneumatic as well as x-ray dental equipment, you need to have excellent problem-solving skills to work under pressure and be able to pay close attention to detail. Customer support, communication and teamwork are also essential abilities. Having a full UK driving licence is important too, as you’ll need to travel to different sites.
Combining dentistry and engineering enables new approaches to tackle the broad range of oral health challenges, from developing replacement tissues for teeth and bones to understanding how diseases progress and preventing their progression. Several recent examples include intraoral scanning and 3D printing, the use of CBCT tomography for diagnosing oral diseases, the synthesis of synthetic restorative materials that have chemical, biological and physical characteristics similar to natural tooth structures, and artificial intelligence and big data analysis for improving diagnosis and treatment planning.
Yet, Koo says, a major gap persists between basic science and dental research and development, especially in the United States. And, with oral-craniofacial diseases afflicting more people globally than cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, diabetes, cancers and head and neck disorders combined, the need for transformative innovations is more urgent than ever. To help address this gap, the CiPD focuses on three key areas: the oral microbiome, tissue regeneration and regenerative medicine, and head and neck oncology.