Int J Esthet Dent 10 (2015), No. 1 9. Feb. 2015
A concept is proposed for an approach to the learning of dental morphology and occlusion. Dental morphology, function, and esthetics should reflect a fundamental driving force, that is, the faithful emulation of the natural dentition's structural (functional, mechanical) and esthetic properties. The innovative part of the proposed approach is the emphasis on visual arts and the 2D-3D-4D aspect that starts with drawing (2D/3D) and continues with partial wax-up exercises that are followed by labial waxups and, finally, full wax-ups using innovative technical aids (electric waxers, prefabricated wax patterns, etc). Finally, the concept of layers (4D) and the histoanatomy of enamel/dentin and optical depth are taught through the realization of layering exercises (advanced acrylic mock-ups and composite resin restorations). All these techniques and materials are not only used to teach morphology and occlusion, but also constitute essential tools that will be of significant use for the student dentists and dental technologists in their future daily practice. The clinical significance of the presented methodology should allow not only students but also practicing dentists and dental technologists to help their youngest collaborators to develop a deep sense of morphology, function, and esthetics.