The first wax-up assignment

We were asked to write the USC logo using an electric waxer. After I laid down initial layer of wax, I refined the shape of the letters with a discoid/cleoid carver. 

Teeth Waxing Exercise

Portions of teeth were cut away using our dental hand-piece and restored to its original contours with white wax. 

Dental Composite Resin

Full Occlusal

This composite restorations was completed on a typodont teeth. The entire occlusal surface was removed prior to the etch, prime, and bonding.  Each cusp was built one-by-one. I light cured each cusp as I went in order to preserve the anatomy.  

Photograph by Dr. Pascal Magne.


Smaller restorative areas require more care because you need to more precisely control the volume of each resin placement. 

Full occlusal composite restoration on real human tooth

This direct composite restoration was placed one cusp at a time followed by polishing with a pointed occlu-brush.  

These are human teeth that were mounted for practice. I find the time to practice whenever I can. It keeps my hand skills sharp and allows me to refine my technique. Over time, such work can be done without mental strain and that is where you want to be in your technical abilities. 

The entire occlusal surface was prepped to simulate likely real world situations. 

This is a completed run of restorations. 

* I did not polish or place any liquid on these restorations for this picture.  


High levels of precision in preparing teeth for crown restorations are expected of students. This module was easily one of my favorites in dental school.

Carving as a form of meditation

This tree was carved using a 1/8mm round carbide bur on a high-speed dental hand-piece. It took about 15 minutes to get the initial form and another 20 minutes to refine. Unfortunately, I dulled the ultra small bur blades in the process and rendered it useless.

When doing this type of work, you have to focus completely on what you are doing as any stray movement can ruin the work you've done. And if you are able to achieve this level of focus, everything else falls away. Your mind becomes clear and you are only mindful of where you are and where you want to go - each touch of the bur to the tooth taking you closer to you goal.   

Provisional Restoration on tooth #8. 

Provisional Restoration on tooth #8. 



Complete full dentures

This set of upper and lower denture took over 20 hours to complete to the satisfaction of the course director.  It was the first time I became frustrated in dental school because I could not see what I needed to see (the relationships of the teeth in alignment with one another). There were too many points of reference (the gingiva, the incisal edges, the line angles of the teeth, etc.) It was only after I learned how to see the big picture that I could see what I was missing. At that point, I could work much faster with better results.