Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 192: No Excuses

"No excuses," said Kyle Maynard, a congenital quadruple amputee and keynote speaker at the ASDA Annual Session that I attended last week. Despite the disability that he was born with, Kyle managed to pave an accomplished live for himself. In addition to being an award-winning mixed martial arts athlete, he became the first quadruple amputee to reach the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro without assistance. It wasn't an easy endeavor. His motto during the 19,340 ft crawl to the summit of Kilimanjaro was "not dead, can't quit".

Class II composite restoration
Practice class II composite restoration on the middle tooth.

It was a motto that I really took to heart this past week. Since I had midterms two weeks ago and spent the last week in Atlanta at the ASDA Annual Session, I was at least 2 weeks behind in lab work by the time I arrived back at school on Monday morning. I knew it was going to be a bad week - playing perpetual lab work catch-up throughout the week and staying in sim lab overtime until midnight every night.

Class II composite restoration
Practice MO class II composite restoration on the middle tooth.

It also didn't help that we have a final practical exam for our composite course next Tuesday. Here's the thing - I was really bad at composite restorations. Like, REALLY bad. I couldn't get the anatomy of the restoration to look like real tooth anatomy. I couldn't get the margins to be undetectable. I couldn't get the proximal contact areas right - there would always be excess composite and tight contacts. I couldn't get the marginal ridge to look like a marginal ridge. It was frustrating because amalgam preps and restorations came intuitively to me. I didn't have to work hard in amalgam last trimester to get decent results. 

So I bitched and moaned for an entire day about how much composite sucked, how hard it was to manipulate composite material, how much I hated composite, etc. But at the end of the day, I knew that I couldn't fail the composite final. Even more pressing, composite is the bread-and-butter of general dentistry. I had to learn how to do composite properly. "No excuses," I said to myself, "there's no way I can allow myself to fail the composite final". So I sucked up my pride and asked a few upper classmen and TAs for help with my composite restorations. 

Class II composite restoration

"Not dead, can't quit," I repeated to myself all week. It didn't matter how many hours I had to put in, I was going to learn how to restore composite properly.

I'm proud to say that after a few hours of practice, my composite restorations look significantly better than they did on Monday. I won't even post pictures of my composite restorations from Monday - they were THAT bad...

So our final practice exam for composite is next Tuesday. We have to make a Class II prep on the natural tooth in the middle of the block and complete a Class II composite restoration. We're also doing a Class IV composite restoration on tooth #9 (the maxillary left central incisor).

We have to do a class II prep and restoration for our final (on the tooth in the center). 

We also have to do a class IV restoration using composite on #9.


  1. Stephanie- I was at AS too and Kyle's speech was so powerful and inspiring. Also, I love your blog & the beautiful pictures! I'm looking forward to keeping up with your dental school adventures. :)

    1. Thank you for your kind words Yesle! Hopefully I will see you at Annual Session next year!