West Virginia University’s new high-tech dental center sets the standard for students, faculty and the state’s current dentists alike.

THE PROFUSION OF ever-more-sophisticated dental technology

is unquestionably an industry boon — provided schools are able to train people in its use, of course. This reality was brought into focus
a decade ago, when one academic in charge of a commission to overhaul lesson plans lamented that “it’s easier to move a cemetery than to change a [dental school] curriculum.”

The tombstones appear to be stirring: The Center for Research and Education in Technology (CRET) recently announced the opening of its third “Innovation Center” in the United States at the West Virginia University School of Dentistry in Morgantown.

CRET is a blue-ribbon national nonprofit organization comprising more than 20 dental-equipment manufacturers and suppliers; its treasurer is Chuck Cohen, managing director of Benco Dental. The WVU Innovation Center — the other two are at California’s Loma Linda University and the University of Missouri–Kansas City — will house some $500,000 in equipment to help faculty and fourth-year students burnish their dental-tech bona fides. The center will also be open to private dentists throughout West Virginia, 85 percent of whom are graduates of WVU.

“Our students will receive an unrivaled learning opportunity and be exposed to a variety of technology that will help them make informed equipment decisions in private practice,” Dr. Anthony T. Borgia, WVU Dental’s dean, told TheDailyFloss.com, Incisal Edge’s industry-news blog.

THE GANG’S ALL HERE: Dignitaries present for a CRET site visit at West Virginia University School of Dentistry in Morgantown included (from left) Benco Dental’s Chuck Cohen; CRET president Dr. Edward Rossomando; Midmark’s Tiffany Crain; Betsy Ashworth, Dentsply Sirona; Mia Kenefick, operations manager for the CRET Innovation Center; WVU associate dean Dr. Michael J. Meador; WVU Dental dean Dr. Anthony T. Borgia; and Air Techniques’ Don Tomko.

The Innovation Center will simulate a private practice, with a reception area, a half-dozen dental-care units, auxiliary restoration equipment and digital-imaging technology. The school plans to offer continuing-education courses in the space as well.

“The mission of CRET is to ensure that dental students and residents are able to incorporate new devices and materials into their overall curricula,” says Don Hobbs, a Henry Schein vice president who chairs CRET’s board. Both West Virginia’s dentists of today and those of the future — to say nothing of needy patients statewide — will soon be the beneficiaries.