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THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador Blogs

Minority Recruitment Into Dental School Increases

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Certain statistics have shown that only 3.5% of dentist in the United States of America are of African American decent. It is statistics like this that have sparked the current recruitment of African Americans and other minorities into dental schools. This is also mainly due to the lack of access to care in the areas which minorities reside, and the need to produce a dentist that will return to these areas and perform dental services for these communities. The access to care is a continuing issue with regards to dental treatment, and the dental profession as a whole has been putting forth great effort to resolve some of these discrepancies.


The University of Florida College of Dentistry is a strong advocate for the campaign to increase the number of minorities entering into dental schools. In early October I was given a great opportunity by the Office of Admissions at the University of Florida College of Dentistry to travel to Jacksonville, FL to represent the college at Florida A&M University, a historically black college/university. We went there to speak to a group of undergraduate and graduate minority students that were interested in health professions (not limited to dentistry) in an effort to inspire more minorities to want to enter the field of dentistry. In addition we were also there to give students that were already interested in entering dental school some information about our college and the admissions process.


I was pleasantly surprised with the audience that attended. We were speaking to a class of students that were being groomed to enter the health professions. During our visit myself along with another African American student from our college spoke to the students about our journey of getting into dental school along with some of the challenges we faced along the way as individuals. The students were in turn able to ask us questions and get our opinions on certain subjects.


During the session, we discussed various topics such as preparing for the DAT, the application process, interviews, amongst other things. In addition to myself and one other dental student, there was also a representative from our of Office of Admissions who serves as a part of the admissions committee to give the students some insight on what dental schools are looking for in applicants.


I personally thought that this was a great idea because I am sure that we were able to clear some things up for students and give them some advice that will make them more competitive applicants when applying to dental school.

The Gift of Giving: Mom-N-PA

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Despite the large number of dentists in Pennsylvania, there is still a great need of funding for the procedures that even Medicaid won’t cover. As dental students what can we do to help solve this problem? There is plenty we can do! Through lobbying efforts and volunteerism we are able to contribute in a meaningful way to many of dentistry’s major issues. This year on September 12-13 Mission of Mercy hosted its 2nd annual MOM-n-PA event. This event is a FREE full-service dental clinic hosted in Pennsylvania annually.  It is because of the lobbying efforts of various organizations like the Pennsylvania Dental Association, Temple University’s ASDA chapter, and the University of Pennsylvania’s ASDA chapter that the state was able to secure funds for this effort and other donated dental services throughout the state.  All services at MOM-n-PA were provided free of cost by a variety of volunteers ranging from students, dentists, specialists, assistants, hygienists and more.  During the 2 day event volunteers were able to provide over 2 Million dollars of dental care to the underserved.  Thank you to everyone who made it out to Allentown for this year’s special event. It is through efforts like this that we can eliminate barriers to care and underserved regions. Here are some responses from volunteers:


What was you favorite part of today? 


“The best part of today was hearing how appreciative all the patients were. One patient repeatedly thanked us and told us how everyone there receiving treatment only had positive things to say. For our last patient of the day she was unhappy with the dark color of one of her anteriors and said she was so excited to get it fixed for her wedding next month. Because we had extra time, the dentist decided to restore caries on 4 anteriors. The patient was thrilled and gave each of us a hug saying she couldn't wait for her fiancé to see her. That made the 3am wake up all worth it.” –Janine Musheno, D4 Temple University


The best thing about today was seeing how pleasantly surprised patients were about the kindness and quality of care the received. I was happy to have been a part of the event” - Veronica Szabo, D4 Temple University


“The experience of sitting chair side and assisting real dentists, oral surgeons, and endodontists was tremendously rewarding. Learning and having hands on experiences with different specialties and instruments was more educational than hours of sitting in lecture.” – Mike Santora, D2 Temple University


“The best part of today was the realization that not only are the developing countries in dire need of dental as well as medical care, but ‘closer to home’ there are so many people/families out there that need our services. Hats off to the people who arranged this event, it's a god send for people who would otherwise never visit a dentist. I was so astonished to see so many patients so early in the morning! 


Another thing I realized was the speed with which we worked was amazing; we don't necessarily realize this potential in dental school settings.” –Safa Sham D3, Temple University

Being in class all day, I lost perspective at times of the meaning of dentistry. Today at Allentown, being a part of an event and organization that improved the lives of others reminded me that we as dentists have a responsibility to society. We can better the lives of others and for that patients are truly grateful” – dental student,  Temple University


“An immobile senior citizen presented to the OS for multiple extractions. She has not been to the dentist in years due to financial burdens. She has been living with pain for as longs as she can remember. She was terrified at the concept of extracting her teeth. After 10 minutes, the procedure was over. She broke down into tears and would not stop thanking us. ‘I cant thank you enough’ she said; ‘I thought this would be my life; I’ve had such a hard year.’ She wanted to hug the oral surgeon and me. To be a part of that moment and to be able to provide her the relief was life changing. It gives our profession a deeper purpose.”- Habib Asmaro, D3


Hearing and seeing the absolute gratitude and relief of patients from entry to exit interview. Interacting with staff and seeing their selflessness. Also, practicing my minimal Spanish!” – Loren Genetti, D2


Next year: 

Our next mission will be on May 29 and 30, 2015 in Harrisburg PA. For more details please visit:  http://www.mom-n-pa.com/ 



Accidental Pathogen Exposure Injuries

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As dentists and dental students, we work with many sharp instruments on a day-to-day basis, including explorers, needles, burs, and endodontic files. With a full schedule of patients to treat, we often try to work at a quick pace and switch between instruments frequently. This puts us at risk for accidental injuries such as being stuck by a needle, cut by a bur, or poked by an explorer. This, in turn, potentially exposes us to blood borne pathogens from our patients such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV. 


When injuries occur it is important to stop the procedure immediately and initiate proper protocol. This includes cleaning the affected area, reporting the incident, filling out the appropriate paperwork, and seeing a physician as soon as possible to get bloodwork done and medications prescribed. This scary ordeal recently happened to me while I was on rotation at an off-campus clinic that primarily treats HIV positive patients. When it happened, I had to immediately drive back to campus to report the incident and that afternoon, I went to the doctor to have my blood drawn. Since the HIV status of my patient was already known, it was not necessary to test the patient but in cases when it is unknown, the patient is asked to consent to having bloodwork done as well. They can elect to be notified or not notified of the results.

The doctor prescribed me 28 days worth of two anti-viral medications intended to prevent me from getting infected. The doctor warned me that the medications are intense and come with side effects. Now that I’m into my third week of the medications, the side effects have lessened but the first week was awful. The main side effects I experienced included constant nausea, headache, trouble sleeping, and a general rundown feeling. For two days I also had this weird burning sensation in my stomach and the skin on my torso felt tingly and achy, much like when I come down with the flu. All I wanted to do was stay curled up in bed. In addition to finishing my meds, I have to return to the physician to have my blood drawn and tested again at 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months to make sure that I haven’t developed an infection.

This ordeal has taught me the hard way how important it is to be alert and aware at all times. When my accident happened, I was the assistant and the other student provider accidentally bumped into my hand with the bur, cutting my left ring finger through my glove. I didn’t even see how it happened because I was focused on suctioning for the patient at the time. Now when I’m assisting, I’m always paying attention to where the provider’s hands and instruments are even while I’m suctioning and performing my assistant duties. When I’m the provider, I rest the handpiece so that the bur faces away from me and I never recap the needle with my other hand. I always use either a needle cap holder or scoop the cap up with the needle itself.

Fortunately, the chances of developing an infection from accidents like this, even with direct exposure, is extremely low. However, no matter how low it is, it’s still scary, especially the first time it happens. This will hopefully be the one and only time in my career it happens to me, and I strongly urge everyone to self-assess the next time they’re treating a patient and make sure they’re doing everything they can to avoid accidental exposure injuries from happening to themselves. 

The Beginning of my Journey with Individuals with Special Needs

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The ADA House of Delegates recently passed resolution 96 which states the population of individuals with physical and mental disabilities are now considered a MUP: medically underserved population.  In honor of the resolution, I wanted to write about my experiences with the special needs population so far.


One very unique aspect about the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine’s Pre-doctoral program is the opportunity to work in the distinguished Center for Patients with Special Needs.  Patients range from those requiring behavior strategies to get into the dental chair to those requiring general anesthesia for work to be done. Here are some simple observations that I have made with my experience rotating as a third year through the clinic:


Record the Details.  As a third year in dental school most of my work in the special needs clinic is assisting where in the fourth year we become the primary provider.   Typically there is an assistant chair side and a clean hands assistant. In my time there so far, the detail that is put in any of the patient’s appointment notes are clear and incredibly detailed because it gives the next student a clear understanding of any behaviors that may occur, any triggers to unwanted behavior, or the most comfortable positions for the patient. It creates time efficiency and allows behavioral modification to progress from appointment to appointment.


The Team is Key. My first experience with a sedated patient was in the special needs clinic and I got to better understand the balance between the anesthesia being used and the dental work being done. Communication is incredibly important such as letting the anesthesiologist know the amount of throat packs used and when they were taken out, or informing the anesthesiologist of your progress through the treatment.


The assistant is also a crucial part of the team. There have been times when a fourth year student dentist and both third year assistants have had to use all of their hands to get a sedated patient into the correct angulation for taking radiographs on a NOMAD, keep their airway open, and use a mouth prop to open the mouth for placement.  Everyone in the team needs to be focused on his or her responsibilities.


Be Creative. My favorite part of the special needs clinic is not only the patients, but also the amount of problem solving that occurs in just one appointment.  Though in the general population each patient is unique, more extremes occur in the anatomy and oral health disease factors with patients that have special needs.  Rubber dam clamps can have a different purpose and cleanings can become creative when there are unexpected grooves and overlaps in the teeth.  Singing may be necessary.  The final solution to any problem in the special needs clinic is not comprised of the ideas of only one faculty or one student, but a combination of those in the room. 


Remove Uncomfortability. I was very nervous about interacting with patients after coming into dental school and learning more about the special needs clinic, fearing that I might trigger the patient into unwanted behavior and not understand how the appointment would progress.  Pitt Dental has a very active student chapter of AADMD (American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry), coordinating volunteer hours with special needs populations, and presenting lectures.  Connecting and becoming a part of AADMD gave me an opportunity to volunteer at local Special Olympic events: monitoring bocce, getting track and field athletes from event to event, and supervising bowling tournaments.  These experiences have changed my life and have made me more comfortable working with patients with special needs.  As a dental provider, it is important that your comfort level does not get in the way of patient treatment. If working with the special needs population causes you anxiety, I encourage you to work with this population outside of the dental clinic to get more comfortable.

The Rising Incidence of Oral Cancer

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Oral cancer is the term used to describe a group of cancers that primarily concentrate in the oral cavity, including the head and neck. The rising attention to this particular cancer gained headlines in 2010 when actor Michael Douglas revealed that his stage 4 “throat cancer” was the result of an HPV infection that he contracted from engaging in oral sex.1 It was later revealed that he actually had cancer of the tongue.  Many assumed that his oral cancer diagnosis must have been due to his history of smoking and alcohol use, but those were not the only culprits. Although healthcare providers are aware of the variety of manifestations of the numerous HPV types, the general public was shocked to hear of HPV-linked oral cancer because it is primarily known to cause cervical and anal cancer as well as genital warts. “Such throat cancers were far less common 15 years ago, but now this figure is on the rise, particularly with patients in their 40s and 50s with HPV-related cancers.”1 


The interesting news is that men are 2 times more likely than women to develop oral cancer.2 Oral cancer accounts for 2-4% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States. “An oral cancer diagnosis is something to take seriously” as stated by the Center for Disease Control because research shows that only 50% of people diagnosed with oral cancer are still alive after 5 years.2 This statistic is largely linked to the late diagnosis of the disease due to the fact that it is typically difficult to detect and generally painless.


Why do men have a higher risk for oral cancer than women? Unfortunately there are no published studies that exist that draw finite conclusions as to why. In recent years however, preventative vaccinations such as Gardisil have been studied and state that “Gardisil is the only HPV vaccine that helps protect your child against 4 types of HPV3.” It was not until recently that the vaccine was approved for use in young men from age 9-26 with hope of preventing the spread of this virus and hopefully having an effect on oral cancer rates however this particular data has yet to be revealed.


Although it may be an uncomfortable topic of discussion for many patients, it is important that if you see any abnormalities of the soft tissue, buccal or lingual mucosa, tongue or oropharynx, you take a sample and send it off for pathological examination. Once that occurs, the conversation can be further extended by discussing the patient’s social and sexual history. This may provide the information that you need to substantiate seeking further clinical examination from an oral pathologist. The sooner the diagnosis of oral cancer is made, the more likely the disease can be arrested before it becomes life threatening.




1. The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2013/06/09/michael-douglas-blames-throat-cancer-oral-sex-what-are-risks/Akb38cr5CCvj2HUKXJ5SCP/story.html 

2. CNN Health, http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/14/health/michael-douglas-tongue-cancer/ 

3. Gardisil, www.gardisil.com 

Canine Therapy- Why you should or should not invest in a dental therapy dog for your office

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Lower blood pressure. Recent studies have shown that having a therapy dog in a medical environment can actually lower patients blood pressure. Lowering blood pressure has several positive effects when it comes to dental procedures. A relaxation of the sympathetic nervous system can calm the heart rate, decrease stress and decrease anxiety. Many patients come into the dental office due to pain which can be a mental strain. Sometimes they have to take off school or work, which can post a financial burden. Others have had past experiences at the dentist office that were unpleasant and causes worry and scare towards the dentist. Overall, anything that can help calm the patient will allow us to do our job and treat our patients better.Canine Therapy- Why you should or should not invest in a dental therapy dog for your office



Distraction. The moment the patient walks in the door they form an opinion about the office. Some doctors have fish (show article) that have also been proven to have a calming effect. Some play smooth jazz, and others have videogames, premium television, and wine. Others offer massages like at the dental spa.  The atmosphere in the clinic is very important to the reputation of the office. If the patient perceives the office to be welcoming, friendly and relaxing, then that is how they will feel. Having a dental dog creates a sense of family, friendliness, and cute & cuddly!  They are a great positive distraction for children and adults, too!



Advertising. Dogs are a great form of advertisement for your practice. The idea of having a therapy animal in the dental office is fresh, and not many dentists have therapy dogs. It would definitely make your practice stand out, and would catch all dog lovers attention. I know I would love if my dentist had a dog, and I may even look forward to my 6 month check ups. The “mascot” of your office would advertise itself, and you can connect with other dog loving patients on a more personal level.



Health concerns: Dogs, like people, carry many germs. In fact, dogs even carry the same oral bacteria as humans! Having a pet at the dental office would require regular hygienic upkeep of the dogs fur, and nails, and overall systemic health. Shedding, drooling, and going potty in the dental office would certainly be unacceptable. Another concern could be allergens. Dogs that do have fur will shed, and patients allergies could respond. Although patients may enjoy the dogs, they may develop allergy symptoms such as stuffy nose or itchy throat that could interfere with the way we are able to provide dental care.


Time: Dogs are like humans, they take time to learn and develop their skills. An employee would have to be in charge of caring for the dog when they’re not at work. Training a dog to be a service provider is no easy task, and takes a lot of time and commitment. Misbehaving canines could not be tolerated. Any slip up by the dog could put the dentist and patient in danger. Therefore, a loving owner needs to be committed to the long-term success between the dental therapy dog and the clinic relationship.


Finances.  Dogs have needs, and monthly trips to the pet store are necessary to keep your pup happy. A budget should be considered before committing to a dental therapy dog in your practice. Immunizations, regular check ups, neutering, food and toys are just a few of the expenses that come along with being a dog owner. Although it may not seem like a lot at first, the money can add up.



Phobias. There are people out there that are very scared of friendly canines.  Cynophobia is the proper terminology for the abnormal specific fear of dogs. Whether it be poor past experience or an innate aversion to dogs, Cynophobics may not come to your office if there is a dog there. You may advertise that the therapy is completely optional and patients who prefer to not see or hear the dog will be kept at a safe distance if they wish. It may be a smart idea to survey your current patients to see how many would

Baseball Culture and Dentistry: how ADA is trying to step in and ban chewing tobacco in stadiums

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Growing up near the north side of Chicago, I was born and raised a Cubs fan. I know, I know, we’ve been cursed for over a century and haven’t been to the World Series since.  However, baseball culture runs deep in the lives of Chicagoans, and has been the nations pastime since before all of us were born.  Giving cheers with our $10 beers, sharing the helmet full of nachos, chomping on Cracker Jack and singing “Take me out to the ball game” during the seventh inning stretch are some of my fondest memories. It seems almost too normal to see players spitting at the ground, digging their cleats into the sand and stepping up to bat. The use of chewing tobacco by baseball players across the nation is incredibly common, and has been popping up in news stories lately.



This summer, the ADA has announced that it has been putting pressure on the MLB to ban use of smokeless tobacco in baseball stadiums. Unfortunately, MLB players and fans have been well aware of the very real side effects of smokeless tobacco use after the passing of legend Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres, just 54 years old before passing in June, 2014.  In August 2014, Curt Schilling told USA today he fully blames chewing tobacco for his oral cancer.


“I do believe without a doubt, unquestionably that chewing is what gave me cancer and I’m not going to sit up here from the pedestal and preach about chewing. I will say this: I did for about 30 years. It was an addictive habit. I can think of so many times in my life when it was so relaxing to just sit back and have a dip and do whatever, and I lost my sense of smell, my taste buds for the most part. I had gum issues, they bled, all this other stuff. None of it was enough to ever make me quit. The pain that I was in going through this treatment, the second or third day it was the only thing in my life that had that I wish I could go back and never have dipped. Not once. It was so painful.”


It would seem obvious to many that the substance should be restrained from baseball venues to protect the players and their fans. However, according to an article from ESPN entitled, “Eliminating chew ultimate MLB goal,” Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark said, “We give the players the opportunity to make the decision they're going to make against the backdrop of it being legal. At the end of the day, we don't condone it and they know we don't condone it." It seems difficult for the association to enforce tobacco use, which is otherwise legal. The players have already been restricted to keeping their chewing products concealed from cameras, and cannot use it while being interviewed. The ADA’s goal is to protect the overall health of the players, as well as their audience, which often times includes young adults.


After the recent news and increasing emotions surrounding the death and diagnosis from dipping, Washington Nationals Stephen Strasburg and Arizona Diamondbacks Addison Reed have proclaimed their plans to give up using smokeless tobacco. Other players are following suit. Hopefully, players will start recognizing the immense risk of using tobacco and not even need enforcement or banning to motivate them. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, “Close to 43,250 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 43,250 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years.” Let this be a motivation to us all to campaign for healthy mouths, on and off the baseball field.


Some other facts about baseball & tobacco:

-According to Tobacco.org, in 1860, Blackwell Tobacco Company's Bull Durham, which rose to become the most famous brand in world, and gave rise to the term "bull pen" for a baseball dugout.


-Bill Tuttle, of the Minnesota Twins (1960’s) was diagnosed with and died from oral cancer, but during his life worked to educate players about the risks of chewing tobacco by volunteering through NSTEP, or National Spit Tobacco Education Program.


-According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, other notable professional sports players who have suffered from oral and pharyngeal cancer include:

            - Hubert Green, golfer

            - Jim Thorpe, football, baseball, track and field

            - Charles Hamilton, NASCAR driver

            - Donnie Walsh, Operations, Indiana Pacers

The Basics of Xylitol

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What is all buzz about xylitol?

It turns out xylitol has many benefits. With respect to dentistry, xylitol is an anticariogenic sweetener that can be beneficial for patients at risk for developing caries.

What is xylitol?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring polyol 5-carbon sugar alcohol that can be used as substitute sweetener. It was initially discovered in wood chips in 1890 and in wheat and oat straw in 1891. Xylitol is produced by birch trees and other hard woods that contain xylan. The sweetness of xylitol is approximately that of sucrose; however, it is about 10 times more expensive to produce than sucrose.1

Why is xylitol beneficial to dentistry?

While xylitol can be used as a sweetener it also contains non-cariogenic properties. Xylitol is non fermentable by oral bacteria. It can decrease bacterial metabolism thus resulting in less of a pH drop within dental plaque. The metabolic end point is xylitol-5-phosphate which is toxic, and very few species can use this for energy production. Xylitol can also reduce the amount of volume of supragingival plaque as result of reduced production of extracellular polysaccharides and biofilm matrix. In addition, xylitol also promotes selection of xylitol-resistant mutans streptococci, which are assumed to be less resistant than the xylitol-resistant strains. Xylitol also stimulates salivary secretions, which help offset acid challenges from the pathologic side.

What are the patient recommendations for xylitol?

Any patient that is at risk for caries could be recommended to use a xylitol containing product in addition to fluoride exposure. A patient must consume 5g of xylitol per day in order to have a therapeutic effect on S. mutans. The daily xylitol intake should be divided into three or four doses with an exposure time of 5 to 10 minutes for each dose.

What different forms does xylitol come in?

Xylitol can be found naturally in berries, vegetables, fruit, mushrooms and birch wood. Xylitol can be delivered to the teeth in the form of mints, gum, and or lozenges. It is important to read the ingredients, and for xylitol to have decay-preventing levels it should be listed as the first ingredient.3 More so, xylitol can also be bought in bulk and used in place of other sweeteners for beverages, cereals, or baking.2,3

What about the safety of xylitol and does it have any side effects?

Xylitol has been shown to be generally safe in humans, and has shown to be toxic only in dogs.4 It has been approved as safe by several different agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives, and the European Union’s Scientific Committee for Food.3 A side effect associated with xylitol is it may cause a large amount of soft stools. Since xylitol is digested slowly in the large intestine, it can act similarly to fiber, resulting in a laxative type effect.3

What are some additional benefits of xylitol?

Since xylitol has 2/3 fewer calories than that of most sugars, it is a great alternative sweetener. It also has very little insulin release, thus making it a great resource for those on low-carbohydrate diets, reducing their glycemic index. Since xylitol does not require insulin to enter cells, it is great source of energy for diabetics.4 Xylitol has also been shown to inhibit the growth of S. pneumoniae and Streptococcus mitis, thus making it a possible way to prevent acute otitis media.5 While we know xylitol has many benefits for the field of dentistry, it is possible in the future we may see xylitol and some of its antimicrobial properties surfacing in general medicine. It seems there is till much research to be done on the benefits of xylitol, but in the mean time it is a great product to recommend to patients with moderate to high caries risk.


  1. Christine Nielsen Nathe RDH, MS, Franklin Garcia‐Godoy, DDS, MS, FICD, Norman O. Harris, DDS, MSD, FACD. 2014. Primary Preventive Dentistry ‐ 8th Ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN-10: 0‐13‐ 284570‐9, ISBN‐13: 978‐0‐13-284570‐0. STAT!Ref Online Electronic Medical Library. http://online.statref.com/Document.aspx?fxId=104&docId=282. 10/27/2014 12:24:27 AM CDT (UTC --‐05:00).
  2. Christine N. Nathe RDH, MS. 2011. Dental Public Health: Contemporary Practice for the Dental Hygienist - 3rd Ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 0‐13-514205-9, ISBN 978‐0‐13‐514205-‐9. http://online.statref.com/Document.aspx?fxId=197&docId=7. 11/3/2014 4:51:59 PM CST (UTC --‐06:00).
  3. California Dental Association. Xylitol: The Decay--Preventative Sweetner.[Pamphlet].
  4. Peterson, M. E. (2013). Xylitol. Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, 28(1), 18--‐20. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.tcam.2013.03.008
  5. Azarpazhooh A, Limeback H, Lawrence HP, Shah PS. Xylitol for preventing acute otitis media in children up to 12 years of age. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD007095. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007095.pub2.

Healthy Smiles for Baltimore Kids

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Behind every healthy smile is a healthy mind and body. Healthy Smiles for Baltimore Kids is a student group that is focused on educating inner-city Baltimore kids about various health topics. The goal is to help children improve their overall health and prevent them from making poor lifestyle choices. As a member of Healthy Smiles, this student organization provides a semester-long after school curriculum at local elementary and middle schools, as well as participating in local health fairs where we provide games, oral health information, and oral screenings to children in the community.

Every Thursday after a busy day in class and clinic at the University of Maryland School Of Dentistry, Healthy Smiles for Baltimore Kids members head to the Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore. Since October 3rd, Healthy Smiles has been providing a weekly lesson to the children in this after school program. The curriculum we are providing is seven weeks long, and is designed for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. The curriculum focuses on seven topics including oral health, nutrition, teamwork, physical activity, leadership, careers, and community service. The different topics included in this curriculum emphasize that many different components impact a child’s oral and overall health. As future oral health care providers, we are learning through this program to look at the big picture, and not only a patient’s teeth.  

In order to engage the children during these hour-long lessons, the lesson plans are centered on keeping their attention by allowing them to be involved and participate. To teach the lessons, we use many games, videos, and pictures. For the lesson on nutrition, the children were put in groups and each group filled in a laminated white paper plate with foods they would put in each portion of their plate. There were sections for protein, grains, vegetables, dairy, and fruit. At the end of the lesson, children were given an Oreo cookie and when they were done eating it, they were told to smile at a partner and look at all the food stuck in their teeth. There was a lot of giggling from the children as they all had black pieces of Oreo all over their teeth. The children were then given an apple slice. When they were done eating it, they turned to their partner and smiled again, but this time, the children noticed that there was no food stuck in their partner’s teeth. This exercise was a rewarding treat for the children but it also emphasized the important aspects of their lesson on nutrition. When the children are faced with making decisions about the food they eat in the future, we hope that they will always remember this exciting exercise.  

Learning this important curriculum as children will help them to continue to make healthy choices and develop good habits as they grow up. For Healthy Smiles members, providing education to these children and seeing them get excited about what they are learning reminds us why we are working so hard in dental school.  

Getting the Most out of Dental School:

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     Four years may seem like forever, but as a senior, I reflect on how much additional material I want to learn. If you hunger for knowledge like myself (which I hope is the case, knowing the profession you are about to embark upon), you are always trying to squeeze more knowledge into your head!  To break this down, I will outline each year of dental school by paragraph by beginning with what is most important. 

     D1! This year is year where you are the thirstiest for knowledge but you get more than you bargain for and end up underneath Nigara Falls, drowning in information from clinical professors to PhDs. What you need to extrapolate from this year is Gross/Dental Anatomy, hence why these two classes are worth the most credits. Acing these two classes will set a freshman up for years to come. Freshman year is about the foundational knowledge and history of dentistry. 

     D2, you final made it through the hell pit of first year. This is where you begin majority of your pre-clinical training. Cut, Prep, Burn those teeth in those typodonts until you can prepare a textbook Class II and minimum with chamfer crown preparation in under an hour. This should allow for an easier transition into actual clinics. The D2 year is a continuation of the building of didactic learning that molds a young scholar into a soon to be clinician while building vital hand skills. 

     D3 = Clinics + Classes + Extra-curriculums. With so much to juggle this year you don’t know what is the most important in a year that eventually will become a blur because it goes by so fast. For me I would say proper comprehensive treatment planning for your patients. Do as the professor says in dental school and work your patients up properly. By working your patients up in all the clinics, you will simultaneously meet your entire clinical requirement and at the same time expose yourself to all facets of dentistry. Poor treatment planning results in repeating steps and confusion among you and your patient, which means a lot of wasted time. By now, as a D3, you are in no situation able to waste time. 

     D4, I am currently living in this moment, but all I can say is that my hunger is beginning to grow again, and I am ready for a new chapter; Residency training! After being at one interview all I can say to the rest of my colleagues is be yourself and be confident. Remember the majority of the greatness that got you where you are is already written on a piece of paper. 

Student Orgs: Should I Get Involved?

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From ASDA to AO, SNDA and AAWD, getting involved in student organizations your first year of dental school can be very overwhelming.  Most likely we were all very involved in our undergraduate community and would like to continue in dental school, but are overwhelmed at the thought of simply being in a professional program.  Grades, hand skills, and your patients always come first, but being involved in student organizations is also extremely important to your dental education. 


Whether you are the president, social chair or simply a member, being part of an organization allows you to access and belong to a community within dental school.  Meeting people from all different classes will not only expand your horizon of friends, but also introduce you to upper classmen from whom you can learn a great deal.  Upper classmen have been imperative to my dental school experience so far, and an invaluable benefit of being involved in a student organization.  Not all upper classmen are the same, so you may get lucky and get someone that will share their notes, advice, and extracted teeth with you or you may not.  Regardless, you are making connections, which is everything in dentistry.  Who knows what you may need in the future—a patient for an SRP competency, dental decks, or help with your GPR application—and who know who might be able to help you. 


Additionally, most organizations bring in speakers to present on important issues in dentistry.  These speakers, ranging from lab techs to local dentists and medical malpractice insurance companies, all have good information to share.  Although it may not seem important at the time with the next waxing competency just days away, it will help in the long run.


Many organizations are much deeper than you may think.  Most groups at your school are part of a larger national organization and host annual meetings where you can not only meet more students, but also learn about other schools and the pressing issues in dentistry that you may not have exposure to at your school.  These meetings are great for networking and reigniting that spark you had back before you started that physiology course first year.  Being part of an organization that has a national component also gives you access to the many benefits of their members from discounted hotels to life insurance and contact information of dentists nationwide within the group.


Lastly and possibly most importantly, involving yourself in student organizations develops your leadership skills.  The ability to delegate, run meetings and work with others is extremely important in dentistry as many of us will be faced with the challenge of running a practice some day.  Being responsible for events and other individuals will help you practice for the day that you become the boss because at that point, you will be in charge of running things smoothly as both your income and the income of many others depends on you.

It truly is never too late to get involved.  Whether you are a first year just getting your toes wet or a fourth year trying to figure out what to do post-grad, student organizations have something that can benefit you as a dental student and future practitioner.

What's in my Toothpaste?

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Have you ever heard of triclosan? Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton recently signed into effect a bill that will ban all products containing triclosan by January 1, 2017. This means many of the shampoos, soaps, deodorants, face washes, cleaning agents, and toothpastes currently used by Minnesotans will need to change their active ingredients, or the products will be removed from the shelves.  This anti-infective agent even found its way into Fruit of the Loom socks, air filters, and mop heads (according to Beyondpesticides.com).



So why is this product so ubiquitous? Triclosan was first introduced in 1972 as a surgical scrub in the healthcare industry.  Its broad-spectrum properties made it very effective in preventing hospital acquired infections, even MRSA. Within the last decade, many companies have begun introducing triclosan into their products. This anti-infective is a powerful inhibitor of a bacterial enzyme needed for fatty acid synthesis. Due to its potency, a little bit of triclosan goes a long way. We all know corporations love profit margins, so they began incorporating triclosan into various products. Various textiles and plastics, even children’s’ toys, contain the chemical under the trade name Microban. Now, it’s found in almost every antimicrobial hand soap and body wash, and, according to the FDA, evidence shows that triclosan adds no benefit over washing with regular soap and water.


Why the recent concern after 40 years of use? Minnesota began raising concerns of its use after a study showed triclosan accumulating in the bottom of lakes and rivers. The state of 10,000 lakes has every right to be worried. Over 95% of triclosan used has ended up in consumer products, which often end up down the drain. The downstream victims are primary producers, algae populations that are vital to the aquatic ecosystems they inhabit. Furthermore, there is concern about microbial resistance. Although studies are not agreeing on whether resistance has arisen from triclosan’s prevalence, one must always be wary of the irresponsible use of antibiotics. Finally, there is concern that triclosan is toxic to human health. So far, it has not been found to have any carcinogenic or mutagenic effects. Because of its lipophilicity, it has been found in breast milk samples. However, there is no evidence that this antimicrobial agent is harmful to humans.


Why is a surgical scrub in my toothpaste?

Colgate Total® is the only toothpaste to date that contains triclosan as an active ingredient. Before you go throw away all of your Colgate Total®, understand that the FDA has (and still does) approve of triclosan’s use as an anti-gingivitis ingredient. There exist animal studies that link triclosan to altered hormonal regulation, specifically thyroid hormones. However, these studies used excessively high concentrations of triclosan in a rat model and have since been disproved by human-tested randomized, placebo controlled clinical trials using 0.3% triclosan toothpaste.


What can you tell your patient?

-The FDA and ADA currently have no reason to believe triclosan is harmful to humans.

-Studies show no triclosan-resistant bacteria following long-term use of toothpaste containing triclosan.

-Triclosan-containing toothpastes were more effective than traditional toothpastes in preventing plaque-induced periodontitis and peri-implantitis.

-Environmental concerns, notably aquatic bacterial and algae populations, could benefit from a decreased use of soaps, shampoos, face washes, and cleaning agents containing triclosan.

Leadership in Dental School

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It’s never too late to become a student leader in dental school.  The opportunities are endless and the benefits are rewarding.  Not only will such leadership roles give you a well-deserved break from countless hours of studying and laboratory work, but also it will provide you a forum to meet and learn from people of diverse backgrounds and experiences.  Becoming involved in leadership teaches skills important for clinical practice, such as teamwork and communication.  Perhaps most importantly, being in a leadership position gives you a voice and the ability to engage in new ideas and efforts on the behalf of dental students.


During the first few months of dental school, I was hesitant in becoming too involved in dental school because of the difficulty of balancing my course load with the time commitment and responsibility associated with extracurricular roles.  However, in my experience, my gradual incorporation of leadership responsibilities into my dental school regimen has positively enriched my overall dental school experience.  Through my involvement, I have had the chance to meet older dental students, who have served as invaluable mentors and have given me excellent advice on classes and NBDE studying.  Additionally, more responsibility has surprisingly enhanced my time management by forcing me to use my studying time more effectively and efficiently. Most significantly, through my leadership activities, I have had the pleasure of representing and serving my fellow dental students, which has truly been an extremely gratifying experience.


You may be asking yourself how you can become involved in leadership at your school.  The simple answer is that opportunities to get involved are numerous and varied -- both locally and nationally.  The key is to find a leadership role that caters to your interests. If you have an interest in public health and dentistry, get involved with your student outreach clinic if your school has one.  If you have a specific interest in a specialty or particular aspect of dentistry, pursue a leadership role in those clubs that target those specific areas.


To begin participating in leadership activities, attend a club or organization’s meetings or contact the current leaders asking how you can get involved.  Many of these organizations have events and/or fundraisers.  Volunteer your time to help with these events and take on responsibility by heading a committee for the event.   



The beauty of dental student leadership is that you can make it your own.  Get involved in an organization that you are passionate about and take it to the next level.  Work with your colleagues to host events that benefit your peers and educate them on topics that interest you.  Attend national conferences where you can meet dental students across the nation and create friendships while engaging in leadership opportunities.  Be proactive, get involved!  Becoming a student leader is not just a great way to further your dental career -- it is a unique avenue for cultivating important skills and developing relationships that will serve you for a lifetime!

The Link Between Periodontitis & Heart Disease

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Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. Caused frequently by poor oral hygiene, gingivitis is characterized by inflamed gums that are likely to bleed easily. This condition is typically resolved with diligent oral home care and/or professional cleanings. However, if left untreated, gingivitis progresses to a more severe form of gum disease – periodontitis. Bone loss (attachment loss) occurs in periodontitis due to the perpetual inflammatory reaction caused by the buildup of bacteria. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that ~50% of Americans have periodontitis; that translates to a significant ~65 million Americans.



Another finding from the CDC indicates that the leading cause of deaths for men and women in America is due to heart disease. Heart disease is responsible for approximately 600,000 Americans’ deaths each year. Years ago, researchers suggested that periodontal disease was a direct cause of heart disease, explaining that the same bacteria found in the mouth was capable of traveling to the heart and other organs once it was introduced to the bloodstream via brushing/dental procedures. This cause-effect relationship between periodontal disease and heart disease has continued to be popular among the general population since its proposal years ago. However, more recent evidence suggests that the two diseases are merely associated with one another, linked by their ability to produce similar inflammatory markers.


Both periodontal and heart diseases are, in essence, the product of inflammation. The diseases are known to generate C-reactive protein, which is a protein created by the liver when there is systemic inflammation. Certainly, the two diseases are related further by sharing similar risk factors; these risk factors include cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus, and age. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that despite the shared qualities, the two diseases occur independently of one another. Treating periodontal disease, in other words, will not prevent a heart attack in theory. The American Heart Association and the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs both support this conclusion, based on the studies that are currently available.


The majority of studies assessing the relationship between periodontal disease and heart disease have been observational studies. Observational studies may only prove association--not cause-effect relationships. For this reason, further research is necessary in order to establish or deny whether a cause-effect relationship exists between the two diseases. Determining the relationship with certainty may allow health care providers to take a novel approach toward treating heart disease. Currently, 600,000 deaths are attributed to heart disease in the United States. Perhaps this number could be reduced drastically once the complex relationship is finally unraveled. In the meanwhile, the importance of meticulous oral hygiene should be emphasized for overall health maintenance. 

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

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We’ve all been there. It’s orientation, there are a bijilion things to do from understanding your academic schedules, finding people who will be your closest friends in dental school, and navigating through the endless maze of school organizations all offering free things.


As a first year student, you are inundated with tons of opportunities to become involved in school. But how do you know which clubs to pick and invest your time in? For those who want to specialize after dental school, the answer is easy. Ortho Club, Pediatrics Club, OMS Club, you get my drift. For others, dental school can be a confusing place with too many acronyms – ADEA, ASDA, ADA, etc.


Here’s the Game Plan

Step 1: Find a club you may be interested in joining.

Finding a club that is worth investing your precious dental school time in can be difficult. You have to be selective but also open minded to new ideas and roles. For example, I am currently webmaster of my professional fraternity. I have never created a website in my life, but I took this opportunity as a challenge to myself to create the best website the club has ever seen and as a learning opportunity to develop new computer skills.


Step 2: Ask upperclassmen who are active in the club what they enjoy most about the club.

To join a club you must understand the club. Speaking to upperclassmen about their involvement in the club will help you understand the goals of the organization. Their passion may rub off on you!


Step 3: Figure out what attracts YOU to the club.

So you’ve spoken with the President of ASDA and members who attended the ASDA Annual Session. The next step is to use their experiences to understand how you can benefit by joining their club. You may be attracted by the travel opportunities, you may be interested in research, or you may simply be interested in reaping the benefits of an academically driven club that provides tutorials.


Step 4: Define a goal for yourself.

At NYU, there are clubs that offer tutorials and workshops for students IF you are a member. Other clubs are involved in cultivating cultural experiences for the student body and even more clubs are geared towards helping rising fourth years network with professionals in their intended fields. Determine what a club can offer you as an active member and what you can offer to that club.


Step 5: Seek opportunities to fulfill your goals.

Do you want to be the next Fundraising Chair of your Pediatrics Society or the new treasurer of the Salsa club? What about founding your own club? Many of my peers started their own club during their first years in dental school. If you are passionate about something and want to leave a footprint behind, go forth and make it a reality. There is nothing stopping you from leaving behind a legacy. 

Dental School - What is it really like?

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I often am asked the question, “So…is dental school harder for you because you are in a 3-year accelerated program?” In all honesty, I don’t really have a good answer to that question because I don’t have any other experience to compare it to. All I can do is tell you what school is like here at Pacific, and let you decide for yourself.



The 3-year Curriculum:

Pacific has recently developed what is known as the “Pacific Dental Helix Curriculum.” Quoting from the school’s website, this curriculum ”places a strong focus on active learning and critical thinking by integrating across multiple disciplinary areas and using small-group case-based learning as a signature pedagogy”. The helix is made up of five strands: Integrated Clinical Sciences, Integrated Medical Sciences, Integrated Preclinical Technique, Clinical Practice, and Personal Instruction Program. Each of these strands is spread throughout the 3 years. We are in school for 10 months out of the year (one month off during the summer, one week off for fall break, two weeks for winter break, and one week for spring break).


Year One: The Classroom and Sim Lab

The first year at Pacific has a strong focus on the Integrated Medical Sciences (anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology), Integrated Preclinical Technique (a.k.a. “Sim Lab,” dental anatomy, operative, fixed prosth etc.) and Integrated Clinical Sciences (ICS - learning how to be doctors, diagnostics, perio, endo etc.).


We have an exam almost every Monday at 8am. Some weeks we also have an additional exam on Friday. School is in session from 8-5 every day with a 1-hour lunch break.


Most of Mondays are spent in ICS in small group workshops such as learning the basics of a head and neck exam, how to perio chart, or do a prophy. Later we get lectures on varying subjects such as perio, endo, and oral surgery. Tuesdays are split between dental anatomy and medical sciences. Wednesdays are for fixed prosthodontics and Thursdays for operative. Fridays are then reserved for additional medical sciences. Practicals are commonplace (about every other week) – and so is failing them.


Year Two: The Classroom and Clinic

This is an exciting time in dental school because everyone who made it through to 2nd year gets to begin comprehensive patient care in the clinic! Half of the time is spent in clinic each day, and half is spent in the classroom. During 2nd year, we take general pathology, pharmacology, removable prosth, implantology and more. In clinic, we do many recalls, cleanings and fillings, but the sky is the limit (almost). Patient care is comprehensive. If our patients need crowns, we see them through. If they need endo (depending on the difficulty) we do those too. We also tag team with another student for our first denture case. Included in our 2nd year experience are several rotations through different clinics such as radiology, oral surgery, and pediatrics. In short, 2nd year clinic gives us a taste of lots of different areas of dentistry, so that in 3rd year we can continue to sharpen those skills. We surely can’t forget about NBDE I, which takes place anytime from Oct to February during 2nd year.


Year Three: The Clinic

In 3rd year, we continue with classes such as ICS and Oral Pathology, but most of our time is spent is in the clinic – including two evenings every week. Many ask how we can get through dental school in just three years, and night clinic is one of the ways that is made possible.  NBDE II can be taken roughly midway through third year.


That is a summary of how dental school is from my perspective at a 3-year school. I would love to hear from other people and what dental school is like for you and how you spend your days!

Incorporating CAD/CAM Technology in the Dental Office

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Innovations in dental technology have always played a key role in our profession. While many new products seem gimmicky, there are some out there that really define the type of care we can offer to our patients. Occasionally products come out which become total “game changers.” CAD/CAM is one of these technologies. It allows us as dental professionals to deliver better products on a faster and more economical timeline. Through careful planning and under the right circumstances, it will increase productivity and meet the demands of patients on a regular, predictable basis.


CAD/CAM technology has been around for roughly 30 years. Initially, there was some concern as to the quality of milled indirect restorations. Primitive crowns produced by CEREC machines had poor margins and lacked basic tooth anatomy. Both the hardware and software weren’t user friendly, making it difficult to implement in many cases. As the technology developed, dental laboratories began to use it to cut costs. They found that they could maintain the same quality with a more economical production. Those dentists that opposed in-house fabrication would often receive milled laboratory restorations without even knowing the difference!


Today in 2014, in-house CAD/CAM has exploded in popularity. Competition between production companies has worked in our favor to improve the technology in an unprecedented way. The new video laser scanners record millions of points of data with accuracy in seconds. Scanning, designing, and milling are so intuitive that the average dental assistant can be trained in a few short weeks to produce excellent restorations. All of this enables the dentist to see more patients while maintaining a high standard of care.


Many want to jump right in with CAD/CAM, but see the initial expense of the system as a burden. Speaking with those who have already invested in the technology, they report a typical break-even point in their monthly payment after delivering roughly twenty crowns per month. Anything additional in production will bring in almost complete profit. This principle should entice those who work in an office with multiple doctors. If the cost of the unit is split between two or three dentists, greater profits can be achieved more quickly.


Another way to control costs is to purchase a used system. While the supplier won’t encourage such an action, they will likely provide mechanical and technical support on a used system. If this option interests you, do plenty of research to know exactly what you are getting. Some hardware may not be what you are looking for if you want the optimal configuration.


CAD/CAM technology truly is a game changer. It is here to stay. As time goes on, its capabilities continue to improve and allow you to deliver better dental care. Dedicate your time now as a student to master CAD/CAM. It will give you a competitive edge for years to come!

Tips for Treating Children

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Tips for Treating Children


As some of you know, and as some of you may quickly find out, performing dental procedures on children can be quite challenging. So, why not have them be your first patients ever?! Well, at my school, the first “clinical” experience we have is providing preventative dental care (prophies and sealants) to children at their elementary school. Every Tuesday in the second semester of the D1 year, our class got to practice our newly learned prophy and sealant skills on children at two different elementary schools in the area. Having our first patient experience be on young children (age 4-9) was challenging enough, but we were also practicing in a foreign place (their school cafeteria) and the equipment we were using was stuff you would see at an army base back in the day; not at all like the equipment we were familiar with in our clinic. However, although this entire concept was new to us, we adapted very well and it was a great learning experience for us and the children. Also, it was great feeling knowing we were able to educate and provide free dental care to children who had not seen the dentist in years or had never seen a dentist in their lives.


Throughout this experience, I learned three very crucial skills you have to have when practicing dental care on young children:


Be kind and persuasive:

The hardest and often most time-consuming step in treating children is the first step: getting them to sit in the dental chair. Before I started this experience, I never thought getting someone to sit in a chair would be so challenging! However, I quickly learned with my first patient that children can be afraid of the “big” dental chair. In order to overcome this challenge, I had to be extra kind (because we should always be kind to every patient) and persuade the young girl to sit in the dental chair. Sometimes saying “the other children sit in this chair all the time” works well, or you can always go with the classic Disney reference by calling it the princess chair. If the parents were present, having them sit in the chair with the child on their lap is a great method. Another method that worked well for me was having them sit in a smaller, more familiar chair and working them up to the bigger dental chair. Whichever way you approach this challenge, you always have to be kind and sometimes persuasive.


Be up-to-date on Disney characters/cartoons:

In order to ease their nerves, you have to talk to them about things they like. This means having knowledge about the newest and coolest cartoons and Disney characters. You can always ask the classic questions about their pets/siblings, but in order to really ease their fears, talking about cartoons is a must. I also found that referencing toothpaste as “princess paste” is a great way to get the young girls to brush their teeth. Additionally, telling them that you want to give them a “princess smile” will allow you to easily give them a prophy.


Be quick with your hands and demonstrate:

Not only is it a challenge to get children to open their mouths, but it is also a challenge to keep their mouth open long enough to do the procedure. An easy way to get them to open their mouths is by telling them you want to count their teeth, and ask them how many teeth they think they have. You always get a laugh out of this question because they usually say some ridiculously high number. Having them hold a mirror and count with you eases their nerves and gives you more time to look in their mouth. Also, kids look up to you and love when they can mimic you. Therefore, I’ll usually give them a pair of gloves like the ones I wear. This makes them feel special and can keep them occupied while you work in their mouths. Demonstrating each step with them is a successful way of having them cooperate and allow you to do your procedure.  For example, when giving a prophy, show them how the prophy cup spins by placing it on the tip of their finger. This will tickle their finger and then you can say that you are going to tickle their teeth with it. They will laugh and have no problem opening their mouths for this. Also, when placing etchant and sealant on their teeth, first show them how it works on a cotton ball because they often think the pointy end is a needle and will hurt them. Telling them you are placing a “raincoat” over their teeth to protect from “sugar bugs” is a great analogy they will comprehend.  However, no matter what trick you try, they will never keep their mouth open for long periods of time, therefore you have to develop quick hand skills in order to successfully complete the dental procedure.


To do or not to do? Post-graduate education

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     Sometimes the fourth year of dental school can feel like a series of hurdles. As fourth year students, a whole slew of licensing exams, externships, and requirements occupy our thoughts and define our daily efforts. As we run this race, we begin to confront the question of what to do when we graduate. To some, another year of training seems unappealing after completing the four year obstacle course that is dental school. Many of my classmates do not want to have to go through another application process or feel that they can start earning more money right away in a private practice. A lot of students are simply trying to avoid thinking about what to do next. 


    I, on the other hand, have no hesitations about applying for a position as a general practice resident. For one, I appreciate the value of a good education. We only have so much opportunity to learn full time before we have to join the workforce. A one year residency in general dentistry is an opportunity to gain sophistication in your work. It is a chance to not only improve the quality of the procedures you already know, but to perform more advanced procedures that will change the nature of your dental practice for life. I believe that the mentorship available in post-graduate programs can prepare a person more thoroughly than a 2-day CE course for a career in complex dentistry.


    While there is clearly much to gain from post-graduate education, I feel that there is very little to lose. In most cases there is no tuition to pay. In fact, you actually get paid a significant salary to learn! Residents see many more and many different types of patients, including those that are medically compromised and have special dental needs.

At this point in my education, I do not yet know how I would like to shape my dental career. I have considered specializing and have enjoyed many areas of dentistry, but after a little more than one year, I find it hard to commit to any one area of practice. If I do choose to specialize or focus my career in the future, I believe that a general residency will have greatly improved my ability to work with other dental specialists and with general dentists. More experience in general dentistry will help me to continue to see my patient’s comprehensive treatment needs instead of focusing exclusively on my niche.


    Although the application process can be difficult and the thought of adding another hurdle to my list can be daunting, I am hopeful that it will all be worth it. Wish me luck!