Brace yourself: Orthodontics can be fine art (with a twist)

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Brace yourself: Orthodontics can be fine art (with a twist)

Annual competition spotlights Dentistry's high wire skills
Steve Steinberg

Dr. Sepideh Torkan, a student in the Department of Orthodontics at the School of Dentistry, has won the department’s annual wire sculpture contest with a creation titled "Dancers."

Second place went to Drs. Sherwin Habibi for his "Phoenix" sculpture, while other finalists included Drs. Yelena Akselrod, Neal Bastian and Veronica Toro.

The contest among first-year orthodontics residents requires entrants to use orthodontic materials such as wire, rubber bands and dental acrylic. 

Entries are judged by a vote of faculty, staff and students in three categories: most esthetically pleasing, most innovative design, and highest technical competence (quality of welding and soldering, for example).

Previous contestants have submitted creations including an aquarium with wire decorations and live fish, the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, a winged dragon and the head of the ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti.

The contest began in 1966, inspired by the late Dr. Ben Moffett, a department faculty member for three decades. After taking a UW art class in form and function, he thought it would be helpful to have someone give weekly lectures on the subject at the School of Dentistry. The lectures drew strong interest, which led to the creation of the contest.