Indian Journal of Dental Research

: 2008  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 181-

Tooth carving

B Sivapathasundharam 
 Department of Oral and Maxillo Facial Pathology, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College and Hospital, Alapakkam Main Road, Maduravoyal, Chennai - 600 095, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
B Sivapathasundharam
Department of Oral and Maxillo Facial Pathology, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College and Hospital, Alapakkam Main Road, Maduravoyal, Chennai - 600 095, Tamil Nadu

How to cite this article:
Sivapathasundharam B. Tooth carving.Indian J Dent Res 2008;19:181-181

How to cite this URL:
Sivapathasundharam B. Tooth carving. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2008 [cited 2021 Dec 4 ];19:181-181
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Full Text

Knowledge of dental anatomy or tooth morphology is essential for the practice of any branch of dentistry. This subject is introduced in the first year of BDS course and consists of teaching differences between deciduous and permanent teeth, chronology of tooth eruption, morphology of deciduous and permanent dentition, and root canal anatomy. Nearly 355 h (as per DCI requirements) are spent for the lecture and practical classes to teach this subject. As far as the lecture topics are concerned, the syllabus aptly suits the preclinical training requirements.

Practical classes consist of carving teeth in natural size (some colleges also require carving of three times bigger than the natural size), from central incisors to second molars with exact crown and root proportion, in wax blocks. Crown carving may help in the practice for crown and bridge and other restorative treatment, although most of the time crown or bridge work is done by the dental technician rather than the clinician. Restoring the tooth with silver amalgam or contouring the composite restoration may warrant knowledge of carving. But it is the neighboring teeth, which guide and dictate the carving rather than the knowledge acquired in tooth morphology practical classes.

Nevertheless, carving of crown can thus have some justification. But carving the root is an absolute waste of time, energy, and of course kilos of wax. Knowledge of root anatomy is a must for certain branches of dentistry. A good lecture class, explanatory charts, three-dimensional models, dry specimens, and an interactive multimedia presentation alone would suffice to make the students understand root anatomy thoroughly as is the case of teaching osteology. It is imperative to remember that anatomists or surgeons never carve bones to learn the anatomy of maxilla, mandible, or any other bones.

I strongly feel root carving may not help the students much, but on the contrary it may only increase the risk of failing in the practical exams, if the student happens to break the roots during the examination. Thus, the 250 productive hours spent for carving classes can be utilized in a better way by introducing newer subjects such as bioinformatics, molecular biology, or even comparative anatomy.

I welcome a creative debate on this issue, before we make a plea to the Dental Council of India.[Figure 1]