Spoiler Alert: If you didn’t like waxing during D1, it will come back to haunt you in remo!
Oh remo! I can probably count on one hand the number of classmates who actually enjoyed remo. It’s a grueling process. However, my denture cases in clinic were, without a doubt, the most rewarding. Removable prosthodontics replaces teeth and soft tissues with a non-permanent prosthesis that can be removed, including partial and complete dentures.
1. Avoid Shortcuts
Of all the disciplines, a shortcut in remo will have the most deleterious snowball effect. From failing to take an accurate impression to skipping the anterior teeth try-in, seemingly harmless modifications can accumulate into serious problems. Good technique pays off!
I can truly speak from experience here. To save time, I skipped an anterior try-in. Instead, I set all denture teeth (anterior and posterior) prior to the wax try-in appointment. Unfortunately, the central incisors were placed too far anterior from the incisive papilla. The esthetics were unacceptable, and I ended up having to re-set everything. I learned the hard way that it’s best to stick to the tried-and-true procedure…as exasperating as it may seem!
2. Master Border Molding
Border molding is a difficult procedure to replicate in sim-lab on a manikin. However, do not disregard learning this critical procedure in lecture! Accurate border molding is essential for creating retention and avoiding soft tissue injury. Under-extended or over-extended borders will prevent retention of the denture. Over-extension may cause soft tissue trauma to the patient. Ouch!
3. Master Jaw Relations
Jaw relations is another difficult procedure to replicate in sim-lab on a manikin. However, do not disregard learning this critical procedure in lecture! Accurate jaw relations are essential for ensuring proper esthetics and function. If your vertical dimension (VDO) is “off,” the denture esthetics will be suboptimal, and the patient may have difficulty speaking and swallowing. This defeats the whole purpose of having dentures!
4. Pack your Patience
There’s just no other way to say it! Dentures require multiple appointments, plus significant lab work. From custom trays, to record bases, wax rims, to setting teeth, removable prosthodontics requires attention to detail and will undoubtedly test your patience. Many a dental student has cried over setting denture teeth. Eventually, one of your classmates may find their niche in setting teeth and offer to set teeth for a fee. I unequivocally suggest that you set your first set of dentures.
5. Understand your Grade
Your removable prosthodontics grade is comprised of both the lecture component (exams) and the sim-lab component (practicals). You should carefully examine the course syllabus to identify exactly what portion of your grade each component is assigned, then allocate your efforts accordingly. For example, if the lecture component comprises 30% of your final grade and the sim-lab component comprises 70% of your final grade, you should focus your efforts more heavily on sim-lab.
This advice sounds simplistic, but dental students are notorious for being over-achievers! However, you will take ~51 credits your D2 year. There is simply not enough time in the day to study in the same manner as undergrad. Rather than working harder, you must learn to work smarter. Tackle your courses in a strategic manner to maximize your time.
Did dentures make you cry? 😜 What additional tips do you have to ace remo? Comment below!
For a competitive edge in sim lab, download my Remo Quick Guide below. This comprehensive guide includes: complete dentures appointment sequence, border molding instructions, jaw relations instructions, and Kennedy classifications. Be sure to cross-reference your faculty’s guidelines as well (individual practitioners may differ).
To help assess denture problems in clinic, download the chairside guide for denture analysis below. This resource was shared on the Facebook group, Dental Clinical Pearls.