Knowledge is power! A statement often taken for granted.
Before I embark you on a great journey, I must first let you know that my now chosen career path was brought about by a fluke. Upon entering college I was undecided of what path I would take career-wise, so I just began taking liberal arts electives. That first semester, Dental Hygiene students walked around campus recruiting other students to be their guinea pigs. Having a long break in my schedule I agreed to participate and have a young lady, by the name of Gina, clean my teeth. While in the chair, I inquired a bit about the program. She went on to explain about the health of the tissues, the make-up of the teeth, the different materials used, and the different types of restorations. By the time I left, I was sold. The next semester I registered for the Dental Hygiene program and began classes the following fall only to find out that half way through “Anatomy of Oral Facial Structures” and “Preliminary Denture” class, I was in the wrong program. Upon looking at my transcript the wrong code was used and I was now a Dental Lab Technician student!
After the initial shock that I wasn’t enroute to becoming a Hygienist, I sat back and thought, “what is dental lab?” It was interesting. It dealt with teeth and I had the chance to be creative with many different materials. So I said “what the hell, lets see what it’s all about” and I loved it! I’ve only been in the business five years, but I’d much rather sit at a bench creating than standing looking into the oral cavity of a patient. Now that I have painted a picture for you, I would like to bring the colors to life by stating a quote given by the anthropologist Shaw in 1924, “The writing cut with such precision upon the complex patterns of teeth may indeed be hieroglyphics, but even so, it was surely no random and meaningless scribbling. More probably it was a real organic language in which the principals of tooth design and mechanics were inscribed, and we might yet succeed in deciphering it if first we took pains to learn its dynamic alphabet and master the elements.”
In essence, knowing why the teeth function the way they do, we will have mastered the concept of occlusion, a subject the clinician and dental technician deals with everyday. This is why I’m ecstatic to say that signing up for the MDT Program, given by the American Society of Master Dental Technologists at New York University Dental College, Continuing Education, was the best move I ever made, thus a new journey. Upon entering the Program I had no clue of what was in store or what MDT was really about. All I knew was that every convention or seminar I attended I saw a select few intellectual individuals with the title M.D.T. I knew it was a prestigious title to hold, and I wanted it also. But, just not knowing the vast amount of knowledge it came with.
From the beginning, the M.D.T. Program grabbed my attention. Each Saturday filling my brain to its’ fullest capacity and leaving me longing for more knowledge. From the simplest definitions I had learned in college to the complex functions I was now learning, everything was coming together like a puzzle. I knew how to build up and contour teeth but never realized that nature had them this way for a reason, that there was Biomechanics involved, along with geometric relationships and fixed points of references. And let me not forget averages. It sounds like a math or science class, but it’s not, it’s the M.D.T. Program in all its glory.
I’ve always longed for knowledge and this Program put it together in a way that allows you to gain information from various sources. There’s no dental subject untouched; every lecturer and clinician bring their knowledge and experience to the table with a common ground at hand – “the patient.” No matter what technique is used, what type of restoration, whether you use the most elaborate Facebow or just arbitrarily mounting a case, the final judgment is made by the person in that chair.
Such great information acquired, but too much to share. Only those individuals who long for greatness in the dental field should attempt to embark on such a great journey. In the beginning I said, “knowledge is power,” but not over someone or something, but power within yourself to gain knowledge and utilize it to the best of your ability. Only my peers can appreciate the value of being an M.D.T., for there is no task at the bench or dental chair that can withhold us from being “consciously competent.”