Sunday, January 16, 2011


Armamentarium. That's right. You have to say it slow and really emphasize the vowels or you will get tripped up as you say it. "Armamentarium" is one of the great words I have learned in dental school. Some other good words I have become familiar with in the past two and a half years are "spatulate", "recapitulate", "debubbalize", "marginate", "discoid-cleoid" and my favorite periodontal pathogen that took me some time to be able to say "actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans". If you are not familiar with the term, "armamentarium", you can easily substitute it for the synonym "stuff".

I have acquired some good gear thus far to add to my armamentarium and have realized that sometimes a good clinician is only as good as his gear. Some of the components of my armamentarium are meaningful to me and have proven their worthiness. Other instruments are more valuable to others. I will always remember the common phrase uttered by our various professors, "If I were stranded on an island, and I could only have one instrument, it would be my .....". The "blank" in that phrase would routinely change from thing to thing depending on the lecture and the dental specialty that the specific professor was identified with. One of our periodontists said he would do just fine on this "island" with just a perio probe. Another professor would take along his caries detector. Another one of our our faculty members would survive with his digital camera and finely tuned ability at capturing the "befores" and "afters" of his restorative work. I am sure that if there weren't any lawyers on this island, he may opt to change the camera for something else.

For me, at this point in my dental career as a new student-doctor, I would take my loupes to this island. I first acquired my loupes at the beginning of my first year of dental school. I have grown so accustomed to using them, that the one time I didn't have them, I felt somewhat handicapped in my ability to know what was going on, particularly at the fractions of millimeters which is what dentists are always dealing with. Luckily I was only doing a root canal on a previously extracted tooth on a bench-top just for practice. My loupes were safely stored in their box in my locker across the street at the dental clinic. I was really just too lazy to walk over to the clinic in the hot Arizona sun to retrieve them just to aid my vision in cutting my access opening. It is crazy to me that the use of loupes has not widely been used in dentistry until a relatively short time ago.

These bad boys are my 4.5x expanded field loupes from Designs For Vision. I can see those enamel prisms glistening under a bath of bond when I wear these guys.