UW School of Dentistry

RESD 521

Introduction to Operative Dentistry Technique

J. M. Anderson

3 Credits / Quarter 6 (Winter, Second Year)

Course Description

ResD521 is a lecture-preclinical laboratory course given to 2nd year students. The course presents surgical techniques to restore two-surface and three-surface carious lesions in permanent teeth, expanding on the didactic information and laboratory techniques presented in ResD519 and ResD520. In the didactic portion of the course, students will learn the surgical principles of multi-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 indirect cast gold 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 will also review bases and liners and how they are used as taught in ResD520. Articles from the recent literature will be tied to topics to emphasize evidence-based treatment and critical thinking. Didactic competency exams will present clinical scenarios requiring application of principles and critical analysis for successful completion.

In the pre-clinical laboratory portions of the course, students will apply the didactic information to surgically prepare and restore multi-surface lesions. Ergonomics during surgical preparation under magnification will be presented and reviewed from the ResD520 course. Emphasis will be on application of didactic prin­ciples and solutions to various clinical problems. Self-assessment of clinical work will be emphasized throughout, and part of the performance outcome. Clinical competency exams will require application of learned perceptual and motor skills, as well as didactic knowledge.

The knowledge and skills gained in ResD520 and ResD521 will be a basis for success in ResD522, where more complex techniques will be taught.

Educational Objectives

Students completing ResD521 should:

  1. Understand how the principles of cavity preparation are applied under various clinical parameters to multi-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. Understand the principles of safe ergonomic clinical positions.
  4. Develop motor and perceptual skills necessary to surgically prepare and restore various types of multi-surface cavity preparations to a clinically acceptable level.
  5. Review the skills learned in ResD520 that relate to manipulation of the various restorative materials.
  6. Develop critical thinking skills that allow integration of all relevant information to formulate the most appropriate treatment solution for the patient.
  7. Develop an ability to accurately self-assess the quality of surgical preparations and restorations.

Course Outline

Topics include:  review of caries progression, review of cavity preparation principles, review of general instrumentation, application of rubber dam, Class 2 cavity preparations, manipulation of amalgam, compos­ite, bonding agents, bases, liners, cast gold restorations, principles of photo polymerization, principles of enamel and dentin bonding, principles of polishing amalgam, composite and cast gold restorations, caries removal techniques, assessment of occlusion and occlusal adjustment and review of 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 30 clinical projects including the midterm and final examinations. Students are expected to self-evaluate their preclinical operations to an acceptable level. The students must pass the midterm and final written examina­tions. The students must pass the midterm and final practical 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. Instruments and laboratory bench should be kept clean and orderly through all laboratory sessions.

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.

Ethics and Professionalism:

Principles of professionalism and ethics will be discussed at appropriate times in the lectures and the teaching clinic. The course expects that students and faculty will adhere to the code of ethics and conduct themselves in a professional manner. Breaches in the code of ethics or unprofessional conduct will have severe consequences. The course also recognizes cultural differences and that there is diversity in dental school patients, faculty, staff, and students.

Competencies Addressed

  • UWSOD Competency 1: Examine a patient using contemporary diagnostic methods to evaluate the head and neck region and 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, then obtain expressed consent for treatment conveyed by a patient or legal guardian.
  • UWSOD Competency 7: Manage pulpal and periradicular 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.


  • Fundamentals of Operative Dentistry: A Contemporary Approach, Third Edition, Summit, Robbins, Hilton, and Schwartz. Quintessence Publishing Co. 2006
  • Operative Dentistry Course Manual.  J. Martin Anderson, DDS
  • *last updated: 9/4/12