Montessori school of

Dentistry — from Onion of course!

NEW YORK—Inside the Montessori School of Dentistry, you won’t find any old-fashioned cotton swabs, or so-called periodontal charts, or even any amalgam fillings. That’s because at this alternative-learning institution, students are being encouraged to break away from medical tradition and discover their very own root canal procedures.

“At Montessori, we believe dentistry is more than just the medical practice of treating tooth and gum disorders,” school director Dr. Howard Bundt told reporters Tuesday. “It’s about fostering creativity. It’s about promoting self-expression and individuality. It’s about looking at a decayed and rotten nerve pulp and drawing your own unique conclusions.”

“In fact, here at Montessori, dentistry is whatever our students want it to be,” Bundt continued.

Founded in 1981, and tailored after the teaching methods first developed by Italian-born educator Maria Montessori, the three-year academy offers a fresh and innovative approach to learning seldom found at more conventional schools of dentistry.

Teachers—or “roving dental facilitators,” as they prefer to be called—can be difficult to spot: They often choose to stay out of the way of their inquisitive pupils, and only make gentle suggestions as to how an infected root chamber should be drained.

“When performing a root canal, there’s no such thing as right or wrong,” said Montessori educator Vanessa Perrin, who added that she doesn’t so much teach her students how to treat an inflamed nerve, as lead them to an open mouth and then stand back. “Sure, we could say to our students, ‘The enamel here has completely eroded and needs to be addressed immediately.’ But what’s more satisfying, what’s more dynamic, is to just let them slowly develop an ‘impression’ of why a patient might be screaming.”

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