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THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador Blogs

A Unique Interdisciplinary Pediatric Experience

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It is a special opportunity to be the first dentist that a child will encounter in their lives and, in turn, have the ability to shape a child’s view of dentists. Pediatric dentists are at the forefront of oral health, as they affect the upbringing and hygiene of young children as they grow up. Over the past two years in dental school, I’ve become exposed to working with pediatric patients. The ways in which each child learns and grows are very diverse from one to the next. My aspiration to work with children is fueled by my desire to teach my patients and their parents and to be able to learn something new from them as well.

At the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, third and fourth year dental students have unique opportunities to join the campus president, Dr. Perman, and his team in President's Clinic, where students from other University of Maryland graduate programs evaluating pediatric patients together. This interdisciplinary approach is an essential experience for dental students because it is not just pediatric dentists that treat children. General dentists treat a lot of children and it is important that general dentists experience behavior modifications needed to ease and treat children.

During the President’s Clinic seminars, students from various disciplines not only have an opportunity to learn more about pediatric patients, but also incorporate interprofessional collaboration. When I arrived at President’s Clinic last week, I was greeted by a medical student, a nurse practitioner student, a pharmacy student, and a social work student. The five of us would be working as a team with equally important roles. Our first patient was a baby boy, only 6 weeks old, and had episodes of frequent vomiting. Our team’s collaboration was essential as we gathered medical, dental, and social history from the mother. Each student asked questions related to their field and once a through history was obtained, the medical student conducted a physical exam. After a through discussion, a treatment plan for the baby boy was agreed upon.

Even though the patients seen were being evaluated for digestive disorders, our primary focus was on interprofessional practice. It was really interesting to see the way the child could be evaluated in one visit from all aspects including medical, nursing, pharmacy, social work, and dentistry. As the future of many diverse professions, it is important that as students, we utilize interprofessional collaboration and work together towards a common goal of improving patient outcomes. Working together now as students will only make our interprofessional relationship stronger in our future work environments. This approach is characterized by teamwork, mutual respect, and shared decision-making. I believe that educating future professionals to prioritize interprofessional collaboration is essential to breaking the limits of success.


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. A close interprofessional relationship established between professionals in diverse fields is an intriguing aspect that I am very eager integrate into my dental education as I represent the future of patient healthcare.