Orthodontics Practiced In Dental Advanced Studies

Record taking, models, retainers will be involved in the next lesson

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Kamiran Hinton

Following a unit on stitching, Dental Advanced Studies students are now practicing orthodontics, a dental speciality revolving mal-positioned teeth, jaws and misaligned bite patterns. Students will be preparing, mounting and cleaning braces as part of the unit. 

“This unit is definitely one of the most interesting ones we’re doing this year, at least in my opinion,” Dental teacher Kirsten Winfield said. “There’s a lot from previous labs in this one, in particular impressions. They’re sort of the guideline for everything else students will be doing.”

Impressions, molds created from a patient’s teeth, are used in orthodontics to visualize treatment plans and help to properly mount braces, among other techniques. The molds require 20 minutes to take on average, not including drying time. 

“After actually filling the model we have to trim up the impression when it’s set,” senior Matthew Garcia said. “There’s a lot of specific standards you have to meet when trimming it and it’s probably the most stressful part of the lab, though very satisfying. There’s also always the possibility that the grindstone cracks your model, forcing you to restart completely.”

Orthodontistry is one of the most common dental specialties and the field makes up the eighth most common dental procedures performed. Using proper personal protective equipment, procedures and materials, dental labs are done with the intent of being as close to the real experience as possible. 

“I feel like even if I don’t end up specializing as an orthodontist, it’d still be important to understand some specifics of the field to answer questions from patients about their options,” Garcia said. “Even in general it’s just a really interesting unit, especially since it’s practically identical to real procedures that might be done on patients.”