Petoskey Stone Polishing in SimLab

Last July, E and I went up to Traverse City, one of the most beautiful, small town vacation spots in Michigan (if you haven’t gone I would definitely recommend it). This was our second time up there together and besides brewery hopping and wine tasting, we collected the famous Petoskey Stones that can be found all along the Michigan coastline.

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They look almost like regular stones when they’re not wet because you can’t see the patterns on them so you’ll find most tourists (like us) hunting for them in the water.

For the next month or so E and I forgot about them and he carried them around in his sailing bag. Finally, when I realized he had been carrying rocks around in his bag for the past month I took them them back with me and kept them on my desk for the next couple of months until December…I had forgotten all about them until we started using the sanding discs (Soflex discs) in the SimLab. This reminded me that I could probably use this along with my rotary instrument to polish these rocks. I’ve never polished rocks before but I thought I’d give it a try.

My first try was alright but it took forever to try to polish them. We have 4 different grades of Soflex discs. Red is the roughest grade while yellow is the finest. These Soflex discs, if used properly, can make your restorations look amazing. A lot of people are afraid of using them in fear of damaging the cingulum when polishing the lingual side of the tooth but these come in large and small sizes. You just have to be patient and careful.

I actually started polishing one of them in class because I was just so excited to do it. I figured I would just do it for a couple of minutes before actually starting my Class III restorations. Of course, my friend R comes around and accidentally knocks the largest rock into the air vent in my station. It fit perfectly. He tried fishing it out but ended up pushing it further in. Finally, we had to talk to the professor, who was surprisingly chill about it (mostly because it was a precious Michigan Petoskey stone) and said to just ask the maintenance guy in the basement to help get it out.

So when I finally got around to polishing the first stone I started with the roughest grade and made my way to the finest grade. I actually came in after class over break for the rest of them and, with the generous help of the lab staff, I was able to use the polishing wheel in the wet lab. (I think we start using the wheels during our D2 year because I heard that it can help make dentures look really shiny) The wheel was a game changer. The final product was stunning and shinier than I had ever expected.

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I plan on giving these to E as a reminder of our favorite summer memories 😀

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