Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My First Waxing Projects in School

One of the factors that initially drew me to dentistry was the fact that there is a large artistic component to the work that you're doing. In dental school, there is always a balance involving the development of both your hand skills, and your brain skills. Currently, my brain department is lacking, and anatomy (our most difficult class of the quarter) is kicking my butt. But on a brighter note, my classmates and I now need to split our time among other things as well - mainly, waxing teeth - which I don't mind at all! It's like being in arts and crafts, and being forced to take a break from studying! woot :)

What does it mean to wax up teeth

Basically, you start with a tooth structure that is prepped (part of it is missing, and needs to be filled), and then you use wax to fill in the missing structures. The parts that I've done are those colored bits of wax. I always wondered why dental schools use funny colors, but it's because each part of the wax-up requires a different color - green for copings, yellow for cusp tips, red for height of contour and line angles, blue for incisal surfaces etc. We wax to learn tooth morphology, gain manual dexterity, and become more comfortable understanding what lab technicians often need to do when labwork is requested.

It seems really simple - note my first project on the left, #6 Class V - because you're basically just filling a hole.. however, it's actually complicated and took some people 3 hours to finish. You have to make sure your margins are flush, contours are good, not too much wax clumped up, keep it polished and shiny.. there's a bunch of stuff! Maybe you'll understand if you've ever had a cavity filled and your dentist left a small gap, or extra piece of composite - these minute errors can actually cause people a lot of trouble. So yes, meticulous switch is ON.

The other day, we did a veneer on tooth #8 (the two pics on the right), which was a step up from the tiny hole we were supposed to fill the Wednesday before.

Hooray waxing! I'm sure my opinion will change slightly as our projects get more complicated, but for now, this is definitely a welcome break from all the crazy that is dental school.

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