Hunt JA, Schmidt P, Perkins J, Newton G, Anderson SL. Educational Research Report Comparison of Three Canine Models for Teaching Veterinary Dental Cleaning. J Vet Med Educ. 2021 Oct;48(5):573-583

PMID: 33226907


Veterinary dental cleaning prevents and treats periodontal disease, one of the most common diagnoses in small animal practice. Students learn to perform dental cleaning through deliberate practice, which can be gained through working on models. This study compared educational outcomes after students (n = 36) were randomized to practice on one of three dental cleaning models: a low-fidelity ceramic tile, a mid-fidelity three-dimensional (3D) printed canine skull model, or a high-fidelity canine head model. Students provided survey feedback about their model and later performed a dental cleaning on a canine cadaver head while being video-recorded. Experts (n = 10) provided feedback on each model. Experts agreed that all models were suitable for teaching dental cleaning, but the 3D skull and full head models were more suitable for assessing student skill (p = .002). Students were also more positive about the realism and features of those two models compared to the tile model. Students practicing on each of the models were equally effective at removing calculus from the cadavers' teeth. Students who learned on the tile model were a median of 4 minutes slower to remove calculus from their cadaver's teeth than students who trained on the canine head model. Although students may be more accepting of the 3D skull and full head models, all three models were equally effective at teaching the skill. Experts approved all models for teaching, but recommended the 3D skull or full head model if student skills were to be assessed. Low-fidelity models remain effective training tools with comparable learning outcomes.