D2 Fall

The New TAMCOD Dental School


A couple weeks ago, the school held a new site dedication/ ground breaking ceremony for the new building coming Fall of 2019. They say we will be able to spend our very last semester of D4 year in the building in 2020. I am so stoked about this structure because the one we are currently in was built in 1950 (although the school was “the” state dental college back in October 3, 1905 at a different Dallas location). As D1 and D2 students, we spend most of our time on the basement level of this building, where there are no windows and hallways that almost resemble a prison after hours. I hear this new building now has windows for the D1 and D2 labs, which I am very jealous about.

At the site dedication, if I heard them correctly, it was mentioned that the entering class sizes are expected to go up about 30 percent. Currently, the D1 class is around 100-105 students, so starting in 2020, TAMCOD may have class sizes of around 130 students! I personally am a fan of smaller class sizes, but I think the college is trying to churn out more dentists to serve in our underserved communities.

The new 9 story structure will cost $129 million and include a parking garage for patients (much needed in downtown), a new sim lab, 300 operatories, classrooms and study areas, and new dental technology for students. The school will also be incorporating a “group practice” model in clinic that will pair up dental student, dental hygiene students and faculty to work together on each patient. This is suppose to both make it easier on the patient because specialists will be coming to visit them and get us use to working with a dental team. I hear, however, that this would change our current model of one student seeing the same patient all year to one student rotating through different patients. This could either create less personal connections with patients or prove to be a better learning model by exposing us to more cases.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 11.10.50 PM

I wonder what will happen to our current building when this new building is finished. Perhaps it will be demolished? Used as office space? Absorbed into the Baylor Medical Center next door? Left to collect dust and put the derelict halls to use for haunted houses? I guess we will find out in 2020!


D2 Fall

Scary Dental School Stories

In honor of Halloween, here are some crazy scary stuff straight out of the terrifying halls of TAMCOD.


When your sim head starts to give you the creeps.



When you sear your finger with a drop of hot wax.



When your gold crown comes out half cast and you have to re-wax.



When one wrong move makes you drop the box down to the patient’s (typodont’s) now lacerated gingiva.



The thought of having a patient with these over-lined lipsScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 7.14.48 PM


Dental school can be pretty scary, y’all.

Happy Halloween 2017!


D2 Fall

Purchasing Loupes

As it seems like most of my classmates decided which loupes purchase for the next 3 years by he end of D1 year, I felt a bit of urgency in figuring out what to choose. If you don’t already know, loupes are optional eyewear for dental students (and dentists), although you would be crazy not to invest in a pair. Not only do we get a student discount, but the pros of wearing loupes greatly outweigh the cons. Loupes both protect your eyes during dental procedures and magnify the patient’s arch. The patient benefits from some more accurate dental work and the dentist doesn’t have to break their back to do it!

There were several vendors that came to our school first year:

  • Surgitel
  • Oroscoptic
  • Designs for Vision
  • LumaDent
  • Q-Optics

By the time second year started, I managed to narrow it down to 2 vendors: Surgitel and Q-optics. I decided on 3.5x magnification, but then switched to 4.5x. I think a lot of people in class chose the 2.5x or 3x. Here is a picture from the Surgitel website for comparison:

Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 9.58.59 PM

Both vendors offered a lens option that allows you to see the full arch while still maintaining magnification. This is the lens that I preferred. Surgitel calls this “Expanded field” while Q-optics calls this “Prismatic”. To help me in my decision, here was my pro and con list:

Surgitel: PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Very clear image (at both 3.5x and 4.5x)
  • Less expensive

Surgitel: CONS

  • Uncomfortable nose piece (I have a high nose bridge)
  • Did not offer a lifetime warranty
  • Ugly frames


Q-Optics: PROS

  • Cute frames (also cute colors, always a plus)
  • Comfortable
  • Longer working distance (discourages me from bending forward too much)
  • Lifetime warranty

Q-optics: CONS

  • Slightly heavier than Surgitel
  • 3.5x magnification had a hazy image, but switching to 4.5x fixed the problem!
  • More expensive


Side note: I tried both Surgitel and Q-Optics loupe lights. Although the Q-optics light is better in terms of convenience (button instead of a knob to turn the light on), it always left me with a feeling of “flash blindness” you get after taking too many flash photos.

So as you can see, this was a pretty tough decision for me. I think I am probably the last in my class to decide on loupes, but I’m glad I did thorough research. What was my final decision? Q-optics 4.5x magnification prismatics with the Surgitel light!




D2 Fall

Wax On, Wax Off

As we slaved away this week to create wax patterns for a gold bridge, my section of the class had an off-campus rotation where we learned about CAD/CAM dental technology. If you are unfamiliar with this, it stands for “Computer aided design and computer-aided manufacturing.” The name is pretty self-explanatory. After creating a crown preparation, you can use the software to scan in your preparation. From there, it can be compared to a master cast, which is very useful is figuring out where you over or under cut the preparation. Most importantly, it can be used to manufacture dental prostheses (crowns, veneers, inlays, onlays, fixed bridges, implants, etc…).

Scanning in the crown prep. On the left of the screen is the scanner digitalizing the image of the prep I made (on the right). Compared to the master cast, my prep was 84% correct!

Here are the steps you have to go through in order to make just one gold crown. Waxing up this single crown with proper occlusion took me maybe 1 or 2 lab periods (~5 hours?). When I got down to step 7, my gold unfortunately did not completely enter the investment, creating a crown with a huge void in it, essentially making it clinically unacceptable (a clinically acceptable way of saying “useless”). As a result, I had to re-wax the tooth (this time it took me 7 hours) and invest again for casting. This is a very long and tedious process, as you can imagine.

Step 1: Create the crown preparation
Step 2: Fabricate a pindex cast of the typodont and create the wax pattern for the crown on the crown prep
Step 3: Check for proper occlusion (this part is the worst). Not only does the crown have to look pretty, but it also has to occlude properly with the opposing arch.
Step 4: If you are lucky enough to finally get checked off for occlusion, place a sprue on the mesio-buccal cusp of the wax pattern and place in sprue former.
Step 6: Invest the sprue-ed wax pattern in a metal ring. Once the investment material is set remove the blue sprue former. This is when you place the investment in a 1200 degree furnace to burn out the wax you just slaved over for days.
Step 7: Melt 6 pieces of gold in a crucible. Once it is molten, retrieve the investment from the oven and place on the stage to the right of the crucible. You then release the pin holding the arm in place. The arm will spin around like a centrifuge and the molten gold will rush into the space in the investment created by the burnt out wax pattern.
Step 8: The wax pattern has successfully been transformed into a gold crown.
Step 9: The gold sprue is cut off and the crown surface is polished.
Step 10: Check occlusion once again and remove eccentric (non functional) contacts.
Step 11: Seat in patient’s (typodont’s) mouth.


The only drawback is this software (including laptop and scanner) is $130,000. However, after seeing the CAD/CAM technology, I was amazed by how simple the whole process was. I can see myself saving so much time by forgoing the whole waxing and casting (or more realistically sending it to a lab) process. For now, I am going to finish polishing my bridge and low key complain about not having my own personal CAD/CAM.


D2 Fall


I went out and saw the movie “It” the other day and, like a true dental student, I couldn’t help but pay way too much attention to Pennywise’s abnormally long maxillary central incisors during the dialogue with Georgie.


We recently learned about CRR (crown-root ratio) in Fixed Prosthodontics class. It is “a measure of the length of tooth occlusal to the alveolar crest of bone compared with the length of root embedded in the bone.” (Shillingburg 85) Ideally, the ratio should be 2:3, although 1:1 is also sometimes acceptable. The problem with too much crown show is that the opposing teeth will create stress on the crown and may make them mobile. The occlusal force created by natural teeth (assume these are his natural teeth) can reach 150lbs!

Anyways, we don’t really know the length of Pennywise’s roots, but if it’s anywhere near normal, he may not have those 2 teeth in the sequel. And honestly, I can’t think of anything scarier.

D2 Fall

First exam of the year

We just finished our 5th week of second year and just had our first set of exams this week. That feels so weird to say. This week, I had to re-teach myself how to study after a month of no tests or quizzes. Although that sounds pretty nice (it is), there is significantly more time spent in lab compared to first year. Before starting school at TAMCOD (formerly Baylor), I frequently heard about how notorious this school was, out of all the other Texas schools, for lab work. Although our class schedule ends at 2 or 5, sometimes I stay until 7 to finish that day’s lab work. Here is the first page of the D1 and D2 schedules for comparison:

I crossed out each day as a way to congratulate myself for surviving another day…The next page was worse as it approached “Blacktober”.


The D1 schedule was 3 pages long and this year’s schedule is 2 pages. The D2 schedule has much less exams, and most of the exams are actually practicals.

I’m glad to say that I can now have a proper weekend and sleep before midnight every day!

D2 Fall

My Birthday!

Well, it was exactly a week ago from today.  I’m officially no longer “forever 21” or “feelin’ 22”, but turns out people actually still do like you when you’re 23. It was on a Thursday (the only day our schedule ends at noon) so that was great! Except I ended up staying in lab until about 5 or 6 anyways to finish making my custom tray.

Despite this, it was still an awesome day and I had chocolate for lunch because why not.