Increasing Skill with Precisely Defined Objectives: Primary Planes

Of the many unique concepts in PTC’s, I believe one of the most interesting is the primary plane.

I first heard of primary planes when I was introduced to PTC in 1983. I thought it was a very clever idea/concept, but I must admit that for nearly 15 years I really didn’t understand the true purpose of it.

Purpose of Primary Planes

Creating primary planes is one of the first steps in contouring wax or ceramic restorations.

On posterior anatomy, primary planes make the teeth look sharp and angular. I’m often asked,”why start with planes when you could just make the tooth round to begin with?”. It is a good question because, on the surface, (no pun intended) it appears that making a tooth angular then smoothing it down is a waste of time. However, once you understand the fundamental purpose of the planes it all makes sense. The purpose of contouring a primary plane is to remove excess material and quickly establish the final heights of contour.

That single statement dramatically changed the way I looked at dental technology. I know that might seem a little extreme but it forced me, for the first time, to focus on the precise features of the case I was working on. I now refer to those features as “The precisely defined objectives”, in all our hands-on technical courses. You could say it is the same as having the ability to focus and you would be partially correct, but it is much more than that.

A precisely defined objectives is:

Increasing Skill with Precisely Defined Objectives

A precisely defined objective requires certainty; certainty requires knowledge; knowledge is rooted in fundamentals. In the absence of certainty it would only be reasonable to expect mediocrity.

The perspective of having a precisely defined objective influences all creative acts. It becomes certainty in the stroke of the bur, in the placement of the brush, in the selection of the color, confidence in communication and so much more.

PTC is known world wide for setting a predictable standard of quality, consistency and productivity. PTC’s knowledge transfer techniques work because we understand the value of certainty, fundamentals, standards and stable references. If you understand the concept of primary planes I’ve been discussing in this article, you are on the right track to understanding the real value of PTC training.

I truly believe there is no better way to prepare for the future than to be certain your technicians, new and experienced, have strong, proven technical fundamentals that provide them, and you, with the common communication and technical foundation that is essential to the success of your business.

Jim Mahan, CDT
President and CEO

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