UW News

January 15, 2009

Orthodontic wire sculptures mix art and technique

School Of Dentistry


Since 1966, the School of Dentistry’s Department of Orthodontics has conducted an annual orthodontic wire sculpture contest for first-year residents, with entries judged in three categories: 1) most esthetically pleasing; 2) most innovative design; 3) highest technical competence (quality of welding, soldering, etc.). Entrants must use predominantly orthodontic materials, such as wire, rubber bands and dental acrylic.


First-year residents Alfonso Navarette and Jake Dabell won top honors in the annual contest this year.


Navarette won first prize, a $50 University Bookstore gift card, for his rendering of a spider and its web. Dabell won second prize, a $25 gift card, for creating a pond with skaters and a holiday tree. In all, five entries were judged by popular vote in December.


Elaborate creations from previous contests have included a guitar, a geisha figure, a model town, the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, a strand of DNA and the Lion King.


The contest was inspired by the late Ben Moffett, a School of Dentistry professor emeritus of orthodontics who died at age 84 on Oct. 1. He served as a dentistry faculty member for three decades.


In the 1960s, he took an art class in form and function on Upper Campus, and he found the material so useful that he arranged to bring a lecturer on the subject to the School of Dentistry for weekly talks. Interest in the subject continued to evolve and soon led to the creation of the contest.