Sunday, June 14, 2009


Ok, here is my first post in a bit. I really haven’t had any reason not to post, outside of rediscovering what having a life is all about. I actually have time to do stuff…it is a crazy feeling.

That’s not to say that things can’t get stressful. In fact, I would say that school itself IS more stressful in the clinics, but you get used to it, and then you go home and drink a beer or scotch. I mean let’s consider: on the one hand, you are sitting in a lecture hall fighting to stay awake while you learn about kidney stones or something. Yea, not stressful. On the other other hand, you are running around the clinics like a chicken with its head chopped off trying to find the vitrebond, or locate a professor to help you use the facebow or do something else you vaguely remember being taught in a half-assed fashion eons ago. Yea, stressful.

In fairness though, things would be much smoother if all the damn construction wasn’t conveniently scheduled for my entrance into the clinics – again, something that would have been nice to know during interviews..cough cough. Would I have gone somewhere else? Probably not, but it still sucks.

So clinic craziness aside, things are still great. You learn a billion things a day and you feel the experience growing with each and every patient encounter. I no longer am timid when rooting around someone’s mouth. I am slowly improving my operator positioning as I learn how much easier it is when you can have the patient move their head to one side or the other (the mannequin head lacked this quality).

My major complaint as of now is that I STILL have not cut a tooth yet…seriously. I have classmates that have done tons of direct restorations, crowns, ect. I have been doing initial exams and dentures all day every day so far. All my initial patients seem to have zero caries and tons of perio issues which will require either more dentures or RPDs. However, good things are on the rise. A recent transfer patient needs about twelve, count em’, TWELVE directs. Not the crappy class V’s either. I’m talking class I’s, II’s, and III’s. The stuff we get tested on for boards. Hopefully he returns my friendly phone call for an appointment. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.

OK, time for the gist of this post. How hard would it be to sit us down during one of our ‘comp care’ lectures and outline exactly WHAT we are expected to accomplish/turn in this semester? This course is run by so many different people that clearly don’t communicate with one another and it is impossible to get a straight answer. We have FOUR performance exams that MUST be completed before this quick 12 week semester ends. Yes they aren't part of the comp care course, but we also have no lectures for these when else are we supposed to find out? Two of these are for perio and two for restorative. Yes you can find all this information if you dig around on blackboard or ask an upperclassmen. But why can’t there be one big sheet of paper they hand out during one of numerous lectures that says: “THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO BEFORE FALL.”
There is some random endo exam we must take in July also. What should we study? Who knows.

Ahhh but complaining feels stupid when I am still in such a good place. Yea I spent 6 hours at school this weekend doing assorted lab work and filling up my scheduler. But I even impressed myself at how easy making record bases and wax rims was this time around (first time in 6 months..must be like riding a bike). I can only pray that this technical carry-over applies to operative procedures as well.

I was going to whine more, but I see no point. This is how dental school goes, just suck it up and learn as much as you can. There are plenty of great teachers and opportunities to really develop. These last two years are what count the most towards getting off on the right foot in the real world. Real-time job training.