I remember showing up a bit early for baseball practice when I was a child. My friend Andy was there on the pitcher mound, pitching to a batter. Perhaps more specifically, he was pitching AT and hitting the batters. Repeatedly. If he was not hitting them, they were diving out of the way.

Funny thing is Andy was not a pitcher. But in Little League, everyone wanted to be.

“Hey Andy-what are you doing?” I asked.

“I want to be a pitcher!”

“Yeah-but you are hitting all of the batters. Don’t you think you should slow down a bit and learn some control first?”

“Nah-I want to learn how to throw really fast then I can learn control later.”

I don’t know why that conversation has always stuck with me. It happened more than 40 years ago.

This allegory reminds me of dentistry: our learning and our teaching. We have either been taught to do something very methodically and very slowly and - try to - very perfectly. 

  • We’ll take 4 hours to perfect one tooth. 
  • The 12-24 burs that were listed for the 8-24 steps of crown preparations listed in my dental school text that sits on my desk just in front of me to this day.

That training translates poorly into the real world of stress and time constraints.

We were taught knowledge that did not translate into skills. With the reality of practice, production, and business, we needed to learn to work fast. 

I think of Andy. We started hitting lots of teeth. Lots of adjacent teeth. J hook margins. Overly tapered distal axial walls. Under reduction and over reduction that we did not anticipate.

The educational model of teaching has been broken for a very long time. 

Dr Lincoln Harris and I were chatting last night about reflections of the FRD and we planned this year's Crown Prep Boot Camps. We talked about the myths and challenges that we and our attendees need to overcome.

Here are some topics we came up with for our next bootcamp:

  1. Loose and relaxed. The tighter you grip, the worse your preps get.

  2. Slow is fast. Prep slow. Prep right.

  3. Multiple passes around the tooth is not efficient and is counter productive.

  4. Traditional depth cuts are not your friend.

  5. Control the bur or it will take charge…and it is not that bright.

  6. Be open to what you do not know and do not hold tight to sacred mythology.

  7. Break the Tinker Mode.

  8. Know your bur size and how to use it.

  9. Smaller burs to break contacts to avoid damage to adjacent or over-prepped/tipped axial walls.

  10. Fixing a bad prep with a fine finishing bur is like trying to wash a dirty car by starting with a wax polish

Don’t want to be Andy and up your restorative skills quickly. 


Join Dr Linc and myself for the next Crown Prep Boot Camp here. 

Want to learn about our most popular course, the FRD? Click here