Month: November 2016

Gold Inlay on #4

If you have been following me on twitter the last few days, then you have heard me talk about this gold inlay that I’ve been working on. Some of the predental students reading this may be asking “what in the world is a gold inlay?” You have come to the right place to find that out.

Inlays are for the posterior teeth and include the occlusal surface (chewing surface) and may also include the proximal surfaces of the tooth. An inlay can be used instead of an amalgam or resin in cases where the caries extended more lingually (towards the tongue) or buccally (towards the cheek). Using an inlay also allows for the dentist to shape the proximal (between the teeth) surface more easily because it is made on a model and not in the patient’s mouth.

I won’t torcher you with the details of creating an inlay but I will tell you that it is a cool experience. The gold is very expensive so the key is not to lose or waste it. The following are a few pictures I snapped while in the lab.

Right out of the Oven

gold inlay #4 image 1

This is what the inlay looked like, right after the gold was cast. The stem on the marginal ridge was actually longer but I cut it down. The next thing to do is to continue trimming the stem down by using a high-speed handpiece with a carbide bur or other instrument of choice. Be careful, though, the gold can get very hot!

Ready to try it in the model

gold inlay #4 image2

I just finished cutting down the stem and blending it in with the marginal ridge. I did a little bit of polishing to make it look decent and now it is time to try it in the model. The most important thing is to have proximal contact with the adjacent tooth. Some of the other minor problems such as a high marginal ridge can be fixed once it is on the model.


 Just about complete
gold inlay #4 image3
The tooth is placed and everything looks good. I polished the tooth a bit more and was in the process of adjusting the height of the marginal ridge. It is a little high which means the patient won’t be able to close down evenly on both sides. The last step is to cement the crown in and do some final polishing!


There you have it. A gold inlay on tooth #4!


Best Ways To Take Notes In Dental School

A lot of students struggle when it comes to figuring out a way to take notes in class. I am no exception to the norm. Everyone has different a little different “style” when it comes to taking notes and studying. Most of us want to know, what works best? I am going to rank the top ways to take notes in class! Don’t like the rankings? Tell us about it in the comments section!


1. Microsoft One Note

The is the clear winner in my book! If you have not played around with Microsoft One Note then you need to do so now. One Note allows you to “print” the Power Points to folders which can be organized by course, classes, and sections. After the Power Points are “printed” to the folder you can type notes or write notes (If you have a tablet) anywhere on the document. This program allows  you to view your documents with virtually NO load time and search key terms throughout your folders.

It may take slightly longer to get started because you have to have the PowerPoint loaded so you can “print” it to One Note but it makes studying a breeze. Forget something from last semester’s class? Search the term or browse through your old lectures! No need to load 15 Power Points just to see if that is where the correct slide is located.

Now that I have used this for about a year (my first year in dental school) I have found some small disadvantages. I like to make outlines and copy/paste photos from the lectures into the outline. One note will allow you to do so, however, it seems easier to do so from PowerPoint since I can use the crop option which is not present in One Note. Instead, the entire slide is pasted into Word and then the cropping is done from there. Not a big deal but just a small downside. Another downside is if the professor does not post the PowerPoint before the lecture. This can be slightly annoying and happens only every once in a while.

2. Don’t Take Notes at all!

This may sound crazy but not taking notes at all is one of the best ways of taking notes! What did I just say? I am pretty sure that I just said not taking notes is one of the best ways of taking notes! Yep, that’s what I said. How could this be? Easy, when I am frantically typing outlines, things the teacher is saying, or personal revelation about the lecture, I am missing the general picture of the lecture along with some key details for understanding the material.

Not taking notes on paper/computer does not mean that you are not doing anything. It means that your mind is actively engaged in the lecture (sometimes difficult with super boring professors). I dare you to try this! Put your laptops in your bag and paper and pen in the garbage and then just sit there. If there is a small list that seems important (example: Layers of the GI tract) then try to memorize them quickly. Inevitably the professor is going to talk about each point (layer). Do your best to remember some of the major details about each but keep your focus on the big picture by simply remembering the layers. By keeping engaged in the lecture studying/creating effective outlines will be much much much easier!

What about all the details that you miss out on? For many schools (if not all?) they do what are called verbatims and podcasts. Verbatims is where someone (usually hired by the class) writes word for word what the professor says for each slide. This allows the students to go back and read/listen to exactly what the professor said. This means you won’t be missing out on anything!

I will continue to add to the list of BEST WAYS TO TAKE NOTES as time permits. Let me know what you think the ideas and feel free to share your secrets with the rest of us!

Studying With Music


Many of us enjoy studying while listening to music. I do not want to say that there is a right or wrong type of music to listen to while studying but there is definitely a more effective music to listen to. Yes, I turn on my favorite tunes in the car or while at home relaxing. However, I usually (like most of you) use music to take my mind off of school, work, and the other cares of the world. Frankly, if I am going to be spending my time studying I want my focus to be on what I am studying not my music.


Generally, I only put my headphones on when I am not in a quiet study area. This includes my apartment (especially when my kids are running around), the library (when people are talking, eating, or making annoying repetitive sounds such as typing or tapping a pen), or any other public location.


I have a few simple guidelines when it comes to choosing study music that I try to follow at all times. It does not matter how much studying I want to get done, if I listen to music without following these guidelines I will not get any studying done. Check them out:


1. No Lyrics: Music with lyrics distract from what you are studying. Often times one will find themselves thinking more about the lyrics they are listening to instead of what they are studying!


2. Avoid Loud Music: Many of us like bands with jamming guitars and fast beating drums. The noise created by this music can be just as distracting as someone eating a bag of potato chips next to you in the library. It will often times break your focus and put you in an anxious mood.


3.  Low Tempo: The tempo of the music can also play a big role in how one studies. I like to be relaxed (not sleeping!) while studying. Fast paced music sometimes interrupts ones ability to slow down and think deeply about what they are studying. Why do you think Hollister and all those other clothing companies play the fast beat music? Simple, if you feel like you are in a hurry you might make the rash decision of over paying for a shirt that you otherwise may not have purchased! May not make sense to you but it sure makes sense to me. Tricking myself into thinking I understand something is pretty easy when I am anxious or in a hurry.


The guidelines are simple and have definitely helped me choose effective study music. Below is one of my study playlists. This list may not be for everyone but be creative and find music that HELPS you and does not hinder your studying. You are not limited to classical music by any means. There is plenty of suitable music that involves pianos, guitars, brass instruments, and whatever else you can think of.

Feel free to post songs that you like to study to in the comment section!