Indian Journal of Dental Research

: 2009  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 130-

Tooth carving

PK Baskar 
 Professor Emeritus, Vinayaka Mission's University, Salem, India

Correspondence Address:
P K Baskar
Professor Emeritus, Vinayaka Mission«SQ»s University, Salem

How to cite this article:
Baskar P K. Tooth carving.Indian J Dent Res 2009;20:130-130

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Baskar P K. Tooth carving. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2009 [cited 2022 Jun 25 ];20:130-130
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I acknowledge with admiration the editorial entitled 'Tooth Carving' by Dr. Sivapathasundharam. [1] The subject of tooth carving (theory and practical) can be safely discarded from the syllabus of Bachelor of Dental Surgery.

Senior members of the faculty have a responsibility to periodically review and modify this syllabus, which was formulated more than 50 years ago. It should be restructured to suit the present needs, with particular reference to the population of the country. It is necessary to keep in mind that a large proportion of people in this country live below the poverty line, are illiterate, and live in the rural areas.

The syllabus should be carefully designed to ensure that students spend their time and energy on subjects and activities that are meaningful and so acquire the skills necessary to become good dental surgeons later in life. A subject such as tooth carving is not only irrelevant but also a waste of valuable time and energy. It is unfortunate that when students enter dental college they are greeted with Bunsen burners, wax knives, and wax. This can dampen their enthusiasm and, besides, such practices convert dentistry from being a biological science into a mechanical science.

I have already conveyed through an earlier guest editorial [2] my considered opinion that dentistry should be a postgraduate course, to be done after taking a graduate degree in medicine. This would mean that students of dentistry will have a better understanding of the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and pathology of the entire human body. It is important to realize that oral tissues are greatly influenced by systemic conditions.

Medical students undergoing training in surgery do not have to practice carving organs such as the heart and kidney with wax and a hot knife to master the anatomy of these organs. Why should it be different for students of dentistry?

I was one of the fortunate students who had an opportunity to listen to Sir. Herald Gillies, the world-famous plastic surgeon, who addressed a meeting at the Madras Medical College (1958); at one point he confessed: 'I cannot draw beautiful noses but I can make them.'


1Sivapathasundharam B. Editorial: Tooth carving. Indian J Dent Res 2008;19:181.
2Baskar PK. Guest Editorial. Indian J Dent Res 2004;15(3):89