January 10, 2022

The art of orthodontics: Dental students’ sculptures show their creative side

As they have done since 1966, first-year residents in the School of Dentistry’s Department of Orthodontics created wire sculptures for the department’s annual exhibition.

The sculptures must use primarily orthodontic materials – wire, rubber bands, and dental acrylic. Previous years’ entries have run the gamut from simple and elegant to creations as elaborate as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Lion King.

The annual event was sparked by Dr. Ben Moffett, a School of Dentistry professor emeritus of orthodontics who passed away in 2008 after three decades on the faculty. Dr. Moffett took a UW art class in form and function in the 1960s, after which he invited a lecturer on the subject to the dental school. The warmly received talks generated strong interest and led to the creation of the annual display.

This year’s entries came from the following entrants, who each furnished a description of their work.

Wire Coffee Brewer by Dr. Asher Chiu

Wire Coffee Brewer by Dr. Asher Chiu
For my wire sculpture I wanted to create something that is both esthetically pleasing and functional, like the arch wires we bend for our patients. The pour-over coffee maker made with soldered ortho wires was inspired by one of my favorite things – drinking freshly brewed coffee in the morning while camping in the wilderness. The wire coffee brewer is extremely lightweight, and, with a detachable filter holder, is a beautiful way to make pour-over coffee both on your kitchen countertop and by the campfire.

Delicate Arch by Dr. Deepa Gollamudi

Delicate Arch by Dr. Deepa Gollamudi
“After spending the past few years in Utah, my hiking adventures with friends and family were the most memorable! My wire sculpture was inspired by the Delicate Arch in Arches National Park.”

Headgear by Dr. Kelly McMonagle

Headgear by Dr. Kelly McMonagle
“An interpretive cephalogram tracing made entirely from pieces of headgear.”

Karavaki by Dr. Eleftheria Iris Michelaki

Karavaki by Dr. Eleftheria Iris Michelaki
“This project is inspired from an old Greek tradition which still thrives today. “Karavaki,” meaning a small boat, represents a powerful symbol of moving toward a new life. Before the Christmas tree decoration, the tradition was to decorate boats with lights. Even if a family did not own a boat, they would use small model boats to decorate. Children would carry the model boats around along with musical instruments as they sang the Christmas carols to their neighbors.”

Dad and I by Dr. Kha Nguyen

Dad and I by Dr. Kha Nguyen
“My parents have always been involved in every step of my journey. It would only be right if I got my dad involved in this project so he can understand a bit more about what I’m doing and enjoying every day. I sketched the birds and he learned to bend the orthodontic wires. My dad bent one of the hummingbirds. The one he bent said so much about his personality and how he is to me: humble, encouraging, supportive and inspiring. Can you guess which one he made?”