Monday, February 22, 2010

The D-3 Experience IV

As I edge closer and closer to completing my third year of dental school, I find myself sad to see it end. Yea, I want to graduate and actually have an income, but once you hit your stride in the clinics, it becomes pretty damn fun. The fourth year will be wrought with the stresses of licensure and I don’t intend to be in such a ‘stride’ ever again during school.

The summer semester you are a bit squeamish, scared if you will, because there is pretty much a ‘first time’ happening every day. The fall semester is a lot better because you are starting to do things you have already done. The spring semester is when it all comes together and you literally feel like a badass. This is because the instructors know who you are now and you are simply comfortable. It also helps to see the psychotic D-2s running around freaked out about doing a prophy or printing out a treatment plan. We’ve all been there.

You eventually get used to the ebb and flow of the controlled chaos that is any dental school clinic.

Today we had a lecture during lunch about the two licensure exams our school is considering for the class of 2011. The current class is taking the NERB, but most classes prior have taken the CRDTS. Believe me, I will be posting plenty on this stuff in the future, but for now I will leave it at that.

In the morning I took a class II amalgam performance exam. I swear dentin never looks the same when I get down into it – especially if there was caries. I’ve determined that the only REAL way to tell if the tooth still has caries is by feel – not sight. Pretty much anything not healthy and yellow looks like caries, and believe you me – I can see why so many people pulp out all the time. If you try to remove anything that isn’t ‘normal’ you may as well just remove the entire tooth. Case in point: my patient this morning had a radiographically simple class II; replacing a composite with a small bit of recurrent decay. Before I knew it, I was damn close to the pulp with a huge brownish-red circle still hovering around the axio-gingival line angle. Now when you are taking an exam, this becomes stressful because if you leave any caries in the prep – you fail. Well, I really poked around with my explorer and the spot felt firm. So I just held my breath, asked if I could place a liner, and had them grade the prep. Whew – no caries.

I find amalgam fairly easy to work with – aside from carving sweet anatomy. But as a clinical instructor I know is fond of saying: “Anatomy? You know what I say about anatomy? Anatomy (pause for effect) is over-rated.” Pure gold.

Finishing a performance exam is like finding relief after a bad burrito – it’s a battle going in, but the feeling of ‘passing’ is unequaled. Good wordplay yea?

So things are going well overall. Aside from the ‘RPD from hell,’ I feel as though I am getting a good deal accomplished overall. What is the RPD from hell you ask? Well, I plan on devoting an entire post to this beast at some point. Here’s a sneak peak. I took the final impression for the framework last July, and we still aren’t done. Yea, it’s that bad.

Aside from a crown performance exam, a couple of presentations, papers/ reports, and finals, I am about ready to mosey on into the D-4 year.

On the horizon decisions:
D-4 Rotations
GPR applications
Pre-order GOW 3 or not

Actually that last one isn’t really a decision, I already pre-ordered.