Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 33: Dental School = Glorified Art School

Sometimes, dental school seems like some sort of glorified art school. It resembles elementary school arts and crafts - sketching, gluing, carving, trimming, melting wax, and playing with plaster. Yet at the end of four years, you get this awesome "D.D.S" degree that follows your name. 

Take our morphology class for example:

We spent four hours in lab the past Wednesday sketching the morphological structures of anterior teeth, which was rather fun. Well, it was fun until you realized that you were supposed to sketch the buccal, lingual, and mesial/distal view of three different teeth (read: 9 sketches total) within the four hours. Then it became an exercise in power-drawing.. 

Woe betide anyone who isn't fond of arts and crafts. You're gonna have a rough start to dental school. 

This year, we have brand new teachers for both our preclinical amalgam and morphology course. The Class of 2016 is the first at our dental school to learn morphology via drawing teeth rather than carving teeth with wax. The pros of drawing the morphology of teeth is that it takes significantly less time to complete. Usually, I can get a decent sketch done in approximately 30 minutes compared to the 8 hours it usually takes to carve a tooth in wax. This frees up a lot of time for us to improve other areas of our preclinical education. 

However, many upperclassmen lament the fact that our class doesn't have to carve teeth anymore. 

"WHAT?! You guys don't have to spend 8 hours on the tedious task of carving anymore?"  
"But you guys won't learn any morphology through drawing!
 "How in the world are you supposed to learn about a 3D object (teeth) by drawing a 2D representation of the object?!
"Your hand skills won't be as well developed if you don't carve," they say, "you won't know what you are doing when you start wax-ups

So I guess the jury is out on whether the lack of carving in our curriculum is a pro or con. 

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