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Dental students begin new unit on coronal polishing

Sophomores learn the techniques to remove plaque from teeth
As she listens attentively, sophomore Wendy Ramirez prepares to learn the skills of coronal polishing to be able to utilize them in later practice. This unit will help push students further into their careers as dental practitioners. “I’m ready to dive straight into the unit,” sophomore Wendy Ramirez said. “ It’s interesting and I’m going to absorb as much information as I can about coronal polishing.” Photo Credit: Wendy Ramirez

Beginning intricate lessons on coronal polishing, students in Kirsten Winfield’s Dental Science II class are learning a procedure used to remove stains and plaque from the enamel surfaces of the teeth

“It’s one of the basic fundamentals that you need to know when you’re going into the dental field,” Winfield said. “It becomes very important because it’s a skill that is commonly utilized when you’re a dental assistant. It becomes even more important if you’re thinking of becoming a provider or a specialist because it makes you more desirable to be hired by dental companies, or offices here in town.”

Students will start to learn different techniques for polishing teeth and porcelain aesthetic restorations, what to avoid when polishing, and how to identify if a patient needs coronal polishing.

“There is a lot to learn about coronal polishing,” Winfield said. “We’re going to not only learn about the techniques that are used, but I also want to make sure that [my students] understand the procedures that are associated with coronal polishing.”

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With the hands-on nature of dentistry contrasting with the transition to online education, Winfield has prepared videos about the procedures of coronal polishing and an online lab that uses eggs as a substitute to simulate tooth enamel for students to practice their skills at-home.

“It’s hard to practice dentistry on your own and at home,” sophomore Ryan Tran said. “But I think the videos are the most helpful when coupled with labs because they break down the procedure step-by-step.”

The online lab will be posted on Canvas and will require students to apply the learned techniques of coronal polishing and perform the procedure on an egg shell as a substitute.

“The coronal polishing unit is something that I’ve been looking forward to,” sophomore Wendy Ramirez said. “I’ve been interested in trying to get as many skills as I can under my belt, especially coronal polishing, because I believe it pushes me one step further towards my goal of working in the dental field. I’m excited for the lab too because it’ll give me practice on coronal polishing.”

Helping guide students toward the field of Dental, Winfield is excited for students to start this new course. 

“I’ve actually had students who became dental assistants at the age of 16 years old,” Winfield said. “[Coronal polishing] is actually one of the skills that they can put on their job application, and it makes them more likely to be hired by these dental offices here in town.”

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