dental engineering is a field of research and practice that integrates scientific, technology, and engineering principles to improve oral health care. Its applications range from materials and biomechanics to tissue regeneration and whole-tooth research.
For example, forensic odontology is used to identify human remains after mass disasters (the hardness of tooth enamel makes it easy for scientists to compare with pre-mortem X-rays), and to help solve crimes by matching dental records to missing persons. Another area of dental engineering is the development of new biomaterials that can replace damaged tooth tissues and restore function after dental surgery or trauma. These materials may be used for direct restorations (as fillings or crowns) or indirect restorations (as bridges). 3D printing, which is a type of additive manufacturing, is also becoming an important tool in dental engineering as it allows the fabrication of highly complex structures that are difficult to make with traditional methods.
To leverage the full potential of this research, it is crucial that dentist-scientists and engineers are trained at the interface between their disciplines. To address this need, CiPD has launched a training initiative for postdoctoral researchers drawn from both dental medicine and engineering. This program focuses on emerging engineering areas, including robotics, nano/biotechnology, artificial intelligence, mRNA and drug delivery, organ-on-a-chip, and advanced materials applied to the oral microbiome, host immunity, and tissue regeneration. The aim is to develop precise diagnostics and affordable therapeutic solutions for patients with dental caries, periodontal disease, and oral cancers.