Saturday, January 16, 2010

Letter to a Dental Student

A current dental student was relating all the stress and frustration that is the dental school experience. I was remembering my time in dental school. That's a time most dentists want to forget. It is a stressful time with compressed time schedules, late night lab work, and endless examinations. We often had no dental assistant to help with patient treatment. There were what seemed like hours spent waiting for a "check" of a procedure from a faculty member. A doctor I know is an oral surgeon who has experienced both dental and medical school. He stated that dental school was actually much more difficult (although the medical residency was even more so). ---So, to any dental student:

















For me the road seemed longest in my second year of dental school. One year completed and forever and a day to go. It is certainly a forbidding task to get all the "requirements" completed. Personally, I hated mundane lab work, carving wax patterns and setting plastic denture teeth in an articulator late into the night. I, therefore disliked prosthodontics (dentures). I knew I wanted to go into Pediatric Dentistry, so all this "other stuff" seemed designed exclusively to test my sanity. Still, in hind sight, all the difficulties you experience drift into the fog of the past and the skills and memories remaining that will stead you well. The juggling a dental student has to deal with is but a prelude to the business world's hustle. Enjoy, and do not fret too much. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

I remember the latter part of my senior year--all of a sudden the faculty accepted me as a peer, with more respect, as some kind of equal. They have been there before too, and respected the fact you made it through with your head held high.

18 comments:

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

That picture--the articulator, the red felt instrument pack, the bunsen burner and the black flame torch--the exact same stuff we used 20 years ago. Dentistry is slow to change I think.

nazzalaihsan said...

Greetings Dr.Dean,just browsing dental blogs then i found yours,i'm indonesian and a dentist,yours 9articulator and bunsen) are much modern than mine back then (1993),and there are still in use now.You're right about the old fashioned dentistry,compare with the latest dental material and equipment.Great blogs Dr.!

miss marilyn said...

Hey Dr Brandon

I really enjoyed this post. I'm in my last year, getting ready for NERBS. I'm excited to get moving with my life! Thanks for the encouragement.

~Marilyn
D4 at Maryland

Stella said...

Greetings Dr. Brandon! As a future dental student (expected to start July, 2010)it is good to get first hand information from those who have been through it. I am looking forward to starting my journey. As an international student, my biggest obstacle is tuition money to attend in July. I have been and am still looking for any and all assistance. Any advise/help from you and anyone out there that may know/have a way for me would be whole-heartedly appreciated. Be blessed!

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

Yes, unfortunately financing a dental education is a challenge. Sometimes the schools themselves have information about scholarships, etc. which may be available. It's been so long I do not have any great insights. Good luck.

stella said...

Thank you Dr. Brandon for your well wishes. I'll keep pressing on and will update you on my progress:)... Please keep doing what you do here...the encouragement you give to those of us who are working hard to successfully follow in your footsteps (and many others) is really GREAT! Good luck to you too in everything and many blessings!

Andrea said...

My 2 1/2 yr old was just 'diagnosed' with enamel hypoplasia and the pedaidontist wants to cap 8 molars with stainless steel crowns. I'm concerned with the potential health-risks associated with the chromium in particular in the stainless steel, especially since she's a girl and chromium has been shown to affect reproduction. Are there any studies you could refer me to or do you have any words of wisdom to calm my fears?
Thanks!

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

I have never seen a significant scinetific study that would cause me comcern about stainless steel crowns. Good sources might be the ada and the aapd. Crowns are pretty much the same material as the spoons and forks in your kitchen. See my other posts on dental restorations, etc.

Anonymous said...

my 15yr.old daughter has 13 permanent teeth missing. We are seeing a dentist, oral surgeon and orthodontist. They plan on pulling several baby teeth. we are waiting for them to figure out how to make something to cover up these spaces. Future surgeries include donor bone in upper mandible because it did not form correctly. Have you ever seen this many missing teeth. Not sure if we need to get a 2nd opinion. Thanks, Karon

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

See here: Congenitally Missing Teeth

Also, some syndromes like ectodermal dysplasia have many missing teeth. I had one patient a long time ago with one permanent tooth (that's it no mbaby teeth, no other permanent ones.

Anonymous said...

my 7 year old just had 2 pulpotomies, Ped Dent said although her cavaties were not that deep in the baby molars, due to her anatomy when he cleaned out the decay it got to the pulp. she has molars filled with the white cement like material but he did not cover baby molars with any silver crown covering. she has never had any pain they were just cavaties. her teeth were not abcessed or anything infected. is in necessary to top the molars off with the silver crown?

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

Please read my post on what is a pulpotomy.
It is the usual practice to place a stainless steeel crown on pulpotomized baby molars. Usually this is due to extensive decay and the necessity of tooth structure removal for the puloptomy. Over time, it has been found fillings do not hold up as well. The only time I have done fillings (white) is if decay was very small but deep and the tooth did not have to last that long till exfoliation. Sometimes that works ok, but often I have regretted that choice and had to do a crown later on or remove the tooth due to problems.

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John Moran said...

Thank you for an informative blog which gives helpful information.a healthy smile is an important part of overall health.Thank you and keep sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hello Dr. Brandon, you mentioned on this post that all the lab work and long hours setting teeth for the removable prosthesis seemed mundane and boring because you knew you wanted to go into pediatrics. What made you go into it? Why pediatric dentistry?

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

The short answer is that I liked kids, I liked the variety of procedures, I liked certain technical aspects like sedation, general anesthesia and dealing with syndromes and people with developmental disabilities. A more complete answer can be found here on the blog if you peruse the posts (and comments) on dental school. Also,m more in depth information can be found in my book: Dental School: Preparation, Survival and Success