So this was my competency exam tooth, an gold onlay #19.
An onlay preparation is one of the hardest preparations you can do, as it takes lots of little specific angles and bevels and all sorts little ledges.  Well, for a competency, you have to do the whole thing, start to finish, without anyone's help in the least.
Here is what happened...which was great btw.

Here is what the tooth looks like all prepared.  We took an impression and then went to the lab to make some GOLD.

So now, we make sure it looks really nice, polished it up, try it in the mouth and then adjust the crown as necessary to make sure it fits how he bites and chews.  Then...CEMENT.

There we go, now that's how you polish a gold crown.  On a side note, I'm sure no one knows what this is, but I have a passion for secondary anatomy (don't take that the wrong way!)

How far I've come...

I just found a pic of my first onlay filling.  An onlay is kind of like a half crown, only covering a few of the spots that need to be covered and leaving the rest in tact.  This was almost two years ago...  What would I change now?  GEEZ JUSTIN, try polishing that gold a little more.  I'm embarassed... but i like everything else:)
High Noble Onlay #3

If I could do only gold for the rest of my life... I would be okay with that.

From broken to more broken to FIXED.

So it seems as though every enormous amalgam (silver filling) I take out, there appears to be a huge crack running down the middle of the tooth.  It's like the filling acts as a wedge or ax head and splits the tooth apart.
When that happens, sometimes they need a root canal, other times we can stick a crown on the tooth to hold it together and they end up being just fine... this tooth is one of those.

First I had to remove the silver filling, THEN I had to recreate the entire tooth out of amalgam so we would have a nice strong base to put a new shiny gold crown on.
Tooth rebuilt out of a silver filling

Then, we removed enough of the tooth so that we can put a cute little gold crown on top of it and then took an impression of that.

Tooth prepared for a gold crown

THEN the fun part...we make the gold crown down in the laboratory.

NOW, we can try it in the mouth, and if everything looks perfect, we end up cementing it in the mouth.

...and of course I can't find the picture of the cemented crown.  I will see him again soon, and have to take another final picture:)  WHOOPS.