What I did in Dallas is this: I bent stainless steel wires into different shapes. Dental school followed me all the way home. We had to make helices and “feet” (90 degrees and loops) to gain familiarity in working with the materials first. Then we moved onto adapting wires to create different appliances.
We also bonded brackets to our plastic mannequin’s teeth. And by “bonded” I mean super-glued.
The nature of adjunctive orthodontics is that we do a little bit of ortho to ensure restorative results. The Nance appliance we made functions to keep the molars from drifting forward, so that there is room for the premolars when they erupt. A general dentist may do this to prevent problems further down the road.
Our friends who are considering orthodontics got a good taste of working with wires and wire pliers. (I had to wonder though, if they had huge expectations weighing down on their poor callused hands as they plied these wires: “My loop isn’t perfect! Does that mean I have no future in orthodontics?”)
I had two hands full of blisters and red sharpie marks, last Friday at 2PM when we were finally done with this lab class. It was a scene from Master Chef- I worked up to the 2PM deadline and our professor walked around the lab, “hands down!”
I worked hard. I mean, I spent all of my Texas vacation working on these babies. But here’s the thing: I’d shown my work to my TA right after I got back and he had said, “great job, now let’s do it again.” Um, excuse me? But trust. And
second eleventh time around, all this had gotten much easier.