Carving teeth: Initiation

I carved my first tooth out of wax last week, I like to refer to it as my initiation into Dental School /Dentistry. As Dental Students we have to know the details of each tooth in the mouth, which believe it or not is a tedious task. This is what we do in Occlusion class, we learn about the intricacies and details of the different teeth and how the maxillary (upper) and the mandibulary (lower) teeth align with each other in the!
In studying the anterior (front) teeth we got a chance to carve, with all the correct dimensions, the right maxillary central incisor - this was pretty fun but time consuming.

Here's what I did:
I first had to get my tools together: wax, boley gauge, carving knife and a sheet of paper to reduce the mess. I then had to use the boley gauge to mark my dimensions on the wax, after which I drew an outline of the tooth.
Maxillary Central Incisor
Length Crown
Mesiodistal Crown
Mesiodistal Cervix
Bucco-lingial Diameter
Bucco-lingual  Cervix
Mesial cervix/Distal cervix

from left: boley gauge, block of wax with dimensions and outline of tooth drawn, carving knife.
  After that was done it was time to get to carving! The wax was pretty hard, I had to use the carving knife to shave down to the outline that was drawn on the wax.
wax shaved down towards the outline drawn
The aim of this part was to get as close as possible to the outline made, so I had to carve some more.

Proximal/side view: wax carved to the outline drawn
Facial/front view: wax carved to the outline drawn
After the carving to the outline was done it was time to put everything learned in Occlusion class to work! Generally speaking, the mesial surface should be angled acutely, the distal surface more round, cervical line at mesial surface should be lower than on the distal surface,the root should taper distally (how's that for mumbo-jumbo??)
So after carefully carving and measuring and carving and measuring some more I finally had what looked like the right maxillary central incisor with the correct dimensions.
Facial/front view: finished product (not yet polished)
Lingual/back view: finished product (not yet polished)
Carving the tooth was a fun exercise though time consuming. The images above are far from perfect but was my first of two trials. The second was a little better but I took no pictures of those.
Go ahead and add your critique!


Unknown said...

You rock, Smithsonian! Well-written.

Damion said...


Camille said...

this is pretty cool, keep it up.

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