Licensure Examinations

The Simodont, where is the research?

May 27, 2021

Mike Hill

Owner and Board Member




Educators, students, practitioners, and regulators in dentistry are concerned about the introduction of new technologies in dental education and assessment. Many are skeptical about change, and want to see the evidence that simulation is a good tool.


Dental education and assessment has used simulators for over a century for the development of the fine motor skills necessary for treating patients. The first simulators came into use in 1894 and have become standard in dental education. The simulators use a “phantom head” and typodont with plastic teeth of various material composure and are used by a student to practice and demonstrate competence . These simulators are widespread being a major component of dental education and assessment throughout the world.   The use of simulators in dental education and assessment (the manikins, typodonts, etc) certainly changed dental education.


As technology evolved, the opportunity to enhance simulation using computer technology became practical. Virtual reality environments became possible, along with haptics. Simulators using virtual haptics have been used in health care education since the 1990s and have become commonplace. In dentistry, the past two decades have had technological evolution in virtual haptic simulators. Many have been developed, but the Simodont is the leader in this technology. Experts consider the Simodont a very advanced simulator with its many features and is popular in dental education around the world.


This evolution did not come without research demonstrating effectiveness, but of course more is needed. Virtual simulators, haptic simulators, and virtual/haptic simulators have been examined in many different ways and demonstrated many positive outcomes on dental education (Nassar, 2020). Nassar’s review piece (2020) in the Journal of Dental Education provides a thorough recitation of work to date with virtual haptic simulators.


Examining the literature shows many interesting findings. Experiments have demonstrated repeatedly that use of a virtual simulator in education versus traditional methods results in higher quality of preparations versus conventional simulators (LeBlanc et al., 2004; Quinn et al., 2003), required less instructional time for similar outcomes than traditional methods (Jasinevicisus et al., 2004), improved manual dexterity versus traditional methods (Wiernck et al., 2006), performed better on high stakes exams with VR training in addition to traditional methods than those without (Urbankova, 2013), demonstrated an ability to predict performance on preclinical exams with first year students (Urbankova et al., 2010), amongst many others. Murbay et al. (2019) suggest that use of the Simodont may assist with students needing additional training, use in pre-admissions, retraining experienced practitioners, or with licensing exams. We agree!


Other literature reviews of virtual haptic simulators (Al-Saud et al., 2020) show the many interesting findings demonstrating the value of using this technology in dental education. We look forward to sharing our research library as we perform our own research studies in conjunction with leading institutions!

Convenient for Candidates

Accurate and Objective

Lowers Candidate Stress


Frequently Asked Questions

Multimodal learning suggests that when a number of our senses – visual, auditory, kinesthetic – are engaged during learning, we understand and remember more. By combining these modes, learners experience learning in various ways to create a diverse learning style. PDS provides multimodal learning via standardized didactic and psychomotor courses using manikins and the Simodont Dental Trainer.

    1. Audience
      1. Licensure exams are provided for both dental and dental hygiene professionals
    2. Approved Testing Locations
      1. Athens, GA
      2. Coldwater, MI
      3. Associated Dental School programs
        1. Knoxville, TN at Lincoln Memorial University
    3. Approach
      1. Multimodal Hybrid Exam
        1. Simodont Dental Trainer provides the ability to prep teeth for restorations, crown preparations and endodontic access.
        2. Simulated hand scaling is under development and expected to be launched in January 2022.
        3. Manikin heads provide the opportunity to fill teeth prepared using the Simodont with final restoration.
        4. Manikin heads provide the opportunity to scale teeth.
  1. Grading
    1. Automated objective scoring using Compare software to assess individual performance on each procedure. No subjective interpretation is allowed.
  2. Scoring
    1. Final grading is provided to participants of the examination within 24 hours.
  3. Ethical
    1. No patients are used in assessing competence therefore removing the issue of unethical treatment of patients.
  1. Athen, GA
    1. 2 Simodont Dental Trainers
    2. 2 Manikin Heads
    3. 2 Private Operatories
    4. Setting: Dental Office
  2. Coldwater, MI
    1. 2 Simodont Dental Trainers
    2. 6 ADEC Simulators
    3. 12 Phantom Heads on Tables
    4. Setting: Teaching Theater
  1. The biggest difference is there is no patient involved in the exam process. Competency of a professional’s ability to work safely on a patient should be performed by dental schools.
  2. Competency of skills and confirmation of competency to work on a patient does not require the presence of a patient as determined by adjusted criteria during the COVID pandemic.
  3. Traditional Approach
    1. Current board procedures (post-COVID)
    2. Two days in duration
    3. Does not include site fees
    4. Includes testing agency fees (travel, assets, examiners)
  1. Multimodal Approach
    1. Current board procedures (post-COVID)
    2. Two days in duration
    3. Does not include site fees
    4. Includes testing agency fees (travel, assets, examiners)
    5. Improved dental fidelity
    6. Objective assessment
    7. Digital record of examination provide to candidate and state boards when requested


  2. Schedule

    Day One

    8:00 – 9:00 AM

    Basic Hand Skills/Calibration with 4 block exercises: X, O, Indirect X, Indirect O

    9:00 – 11:00 AM

    Preps #4 DO, #14 MO, #9DL

    11:00 – 2:00 PM

    Fill #23DL, #18 MO, #29 DO

    2:00 – 5:00 PM

    Endodontics: #14 Access, Instrument, Fill #8

    Day Two

    8:00 – 12:00 PM

    Prosthodontics: Preps for #3, #5, #9

    12:00 – 3:00 PM

    Periodontics: Perio Charting, Scaling

There is no research to support the Simodont Dental Trainer
  1. PDS has curated over 40 published research articles to support the use of the Simodont Dental Trainer. More articles done by leading dental educators are expected.
  2. The available research articles demonstrate the maturation of the Simodont Dental Trainer.
  3. The available research articles provide peer-reviewed proof of the simulation-haptic approach using the Simodont Dental Trainer
  4. See the list of research articles here: Promethean Dental Systems.