Modelling and dentistry

RWH in the dentist's chair
Me in the dentist's chair proudly viewing my new dentures. The head of another patient can be seen immediately to the right of my head. A demonstrator is standing with hand on hip.
Why is going to the dentist like modelling for artists? There is of course the obvious similarity that you have to sit still. But another similarity appears if you are receiving your dental treatment at a school of dentistry - in my case King's College Dental Institute, Camberwell (highly recommended). You must be willing to be talked about quite impersonally. In the studio you are "the model" and when the tutor says, for example, "that leg is too thick", she is not criticising your body but criticising the student's representation of your leg.

Dentistry at King's is similar to an artists' studio in that you are in a large room with lots of people - sixteen dentist's chairs! In fact it feels reasonably private, the chairs are set pointing outwards from a central aisle and there is a low partition between each chair so you are scarcely aware of the other patients. Yes, here you are "the patient". The student who is actually treating you will discuss with another student who is assisting and they must summon a demonstrator, explain the proposed treatment and get approval.

I have definitely been one student's "project" she has been treating me for over a year. She has selected me for her clinical case presentation as part of her final exam. She has prepared an A2 size poster with all my details and before and after photos. On Monday, I have to take my teeth back to the hospital so that she can present them to two examiners, and answer searching questions about the treatment she selected.

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12 November 2012 at 07:00:00 GMT  

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