dental engineering is the application of science and technology to improve dentistry and oral health care. Its aim is to provide safe, effective, durable, and affordable diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation for patients suffering from oral diseases, injuries, and missing teeth.
In addition, it also seeks to prevent disease and enhance oral health through the use of a wide range of materials and processes. As such, it has led to a variety of innovations such as intraoral scanning, CAD/CAM, 3D printing, and regenerative biomaterials.
For example, the use of dental resin composites has revolutionized modern dentistry by enabling minimally invasive treatment and improving aesthetics. While regenerative biomaterials, such as bone grafts and tissue scaffolds, have proven useful in the reconstruction of damaged or missing tooth structure.
However, despite these advances, the need for novel engineering approaches remains acute. Currently, the global burden of untreated oral diseases is more than 3.5 billion people, and is growing rapidly. This is a greater burden than that of cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and cancers combined.
In order to address the broader challenge of improving oral health, it is necessary for researchers from both disciplines—dental scientists and engineers—to work together. To this end, Columbia Engineering and the College of Dental Medicine have launched the first dual degree program at the intersection of engineering and dentistry. Designed to train the next generation of leaders in dental science, this program will empower dentist-scientists and engineers with the tools and skills they need to develop viable diagnostic tools and therapeutic solutions for a variety of oral diseases.