UW School of Dentistry

RESD 520

Introduction to Operative Dentistry Technique

J. Wataha

3 Credits / Quarter 5 (Autumn, Second Year)

Course Description

ResD520 is a lecture-preclinical laboratory course given to 2nd year students. The course covers surgical techniques to restore one-surface carious lesions in permanent teeth, expanding on the concepts presented in ResD519. In the didactic portion of the course, students will learn the surgical principles of one-surface cavity preparations and how to apply them under various parameters of esthetics, anatomy, occlusion, systemic disease, and caries risk. The manipulation and management of amalgam, (bonded) composite, and glass ionomer restorative materials will be presented, with emphasis on the interactions between surgical preparation style, restorative material properties, patient disease activity, patient priorities, and anatomical variations. Students also will be introduced to bases and liners and how they are used to manage caries excavation to mitigate risks of pulpal degeneration. The most current thinking on caries detection and minimally invasive surgical techniques to preserve tissues will be introduced. Articles from the recent literature will be analyzed to emphasize evidence-based treatment and critical thinking. Cognitive competency exams will present clinical scenarios requiring application of principles and critical analysis.

In the pre-clinical laboratory portions of the course, students will apply the didactic material as they learn surgically prepare and restore one-surface lesions. Ergonomics during surgical preparation under magnification will be presented. Emphasis will be on application of didactic principles to various clinical situations. Self-assessment of clinical work will be emphasized throughout, and will be part of the course grading. Surgical competency exams will require application of learned perceptual and motor skills, time management, as well as didactic knowledge. Students also will be required to self-assess their communication, professionalism, critical thinking, and productivity. The ability of the student to accurately self-assess their professional behavior and performance will be part of course grading.

The knowledge and skills gained in ResD520 will be a basis for success in ResD 521 and 522, where more complex techniques will be taught, and a foundation for success in the clinical courses in the third and fourth years.

Educational Objectives

Students completing ResD520 should:

  1. Understand how the principles of surgical cavity preparation are applied under various clinical parameters to one-surface restorations.
  2. Develop skill in isolation of the surgical site with rubber dam or other techniques and understand why isolation is important, and when to use various techniques for isolation.
  3. Develop motor and perceptual skills necessary to surgically prepare and restore various types of one-surface cavity preparations to a clinically acceptable level while maintaining self-health (ergonomics).
  4. Develop skill in mixing and manipulation of amalgam, composite, bonding agents, bases, liners, and glass ionomers and understand the basis for procedures and when each material is most appropriately used to treat the patient.
  5. Develop critical thinking skills that allow accurate appraisal of the literature, and integration of relevant information to formulate the most appropriate treatment solution for the patient.
  6. Develop an ability to accurately assess the quality of surgical preparations and restorations.
  7. Develop an ability to accurately assess their communication, productivity, professionalism, and critical thinking.

Course Outline

Topics include: review of caries progression, review of cavity preparation principles,  review of general instrumentation, application of rubber dam, Class I, III, V, and pit cavity preparations, manipulation of amalgam, composite, bonding agents, bases, liners, and glass ionomers, principles of photo-polymerization, principles of enamel and dentin bonding,  principles of polishing amalgam and composite, preventative restorations, cervical isolation, advanced composite manipulation techniques, introduction to caries removal principles, introduction to management of pulpal inflammation.   Ergonomics and safe surgical operation will be emphasized throughout.

Course Expectations

Attendance at all lectures and laboratory sessions is expected. The student must successfully complete 8 timed and graded quadrant restorative projects and pass 2 surgical competencies, and are encouraged to complete 20 projects on natural teeth (a total of 36 preparations and 22 restorations). The student must pass written midterm and final cognitive competencies, and are encouraged to complete 8 online quizzes designed to improve their perceptual-critical thinking and analysis and integration of information skills.  Students must demonstrate that they have acquired sufficient perceptual and motor skills to pass surgical competency examinations.  Finally, upon the completion of the course, the student must visit the online course evaluation site and complete the online evaluation or state online that they do not choose to complete this evaluation. Throughout all lectures and labs, professional and ethical behavior is expected.  Safe laboratory practices are also expected to preserve a safe environment for all.

Effective Winter Quarter 2007, completion of on-line course evaluation is a requirement of this course.  Failure to comply will result in an “Incomplete” grade being assigned.

Competencies Addressed

  • UWSOD Competency 1: Examine a patient using contemporary diagnostic methods to evaluate the head and neck region and to reach a diagnosis of the patient’s oral and craniofacial health status.
  • UWSOD Competency 2: Communicate the risks and benefits of proposed care and alternative treatment strategies available, and then obtain expressed consent for treatment conveyed by a patient or legal guardian.
  • UWSOD Competency 7: Manage pulpal and peri-radicular disease.
  • UWSOD Competency 16: Manage diseases and conditions of the teeth.
  • UWSOD Competency 21: Recognize the role of lifelong learning and self-assessment in maintaining competency.
  • UWSOD Competency 22: Utilize critical thinking in assessing technical and scientific information for use in identifying patient needs and treatments.
  • UWSOD Competency 26: Evaluate the outcomes of treatment.


  • Canvas website for ResD 520: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/919322
  • Fundamentals of Operative Dentistry: A Contemporary Approach, Third Edition, Summit, Robbins, Hilton, and Schwartz. Quintessence Publishing Co. 2006.
  • Grade-pak faculty and self assessment forms course-pak.
  • Literature in Pubmed as directed

*last updated: 7/14/14