I love waking up to the smell of the crisp, mountain air. A gentle breeze rustles the trees. It’s a much-needed respite from the musty city air I’m used to. Most people can’t tell the difference until they have experienced it, but the contrast is unmistakable.
For me, backpacking is a great avenue to escape the stresses of dental school.
How long do you plan on practicing dentistry? Although we haven’t officially started our careers as licensed dentists yet, it is never too early to plan ahead for retirement. Saving your hard-earned money as a dentist after graduation doesn’t seem as glamorous as treating yourself, but saving and investing will allow you to have more control and freedom later in life. The futures of Social Security, tax rates, inflation, and the economy are uncertain, but the one thing you can control is your savings.
At this time of year, we have become accustomed to answering two questions asked by third year dental students. The first is: “Should I apply to residency programs?” The second is: “How do I know which residency program is right for me?”
Regardless of which school you’re attending, what grade point average you’ve maintained or how many scalings and root planings you’ve completed, we instantly and unequivocally answer “YES!!!” to the first question.
In the midst of busy day where there’s no time to chat, sending a text message to communicate is a quick, convenient option we often use to keep our messages brief and to the point. But, how many people actually prefer texting over talking on the phone? According to a 2011 report by the Pew Research Center, approximately 83% of Americans own cell phones and of these, 73% use the text messaging function. Additionally, a 2016 survey conducted by OpenMarket found that 75% of millennials “chose texting over talking,” often citing the convenience of communicating on their own schedule. As students, we often text our family, friends and classmates to coordinate our daily lives, but many of us may also text our patients to confirm appointments and address questions. While texting might seem to be a convenient way to contact patients, it’s important to remember that this action raises many important implications for patient privacy.
One of the reasons that many of you have chosen dentistry as a profession is to establish autonomy. You’d like to set your own schedule, take vacations when you please and not answer to a boss. However, patients want to be seen early in the morning and late at night, so your workdays will be long. Patients want to be seen during the weekend, so your weekends will be short. While it’s tempting to believe that you will be able to schedule your patients to meet your needs, you may not be able to meet your financial obligations if you do. If you learn to balance your work and your life while you are in dental school, it may be easier for you to continue to do so once you enter the profession. We have some simple suggestions that might help.
Depending on who you talk to, choosing to specialize could be either a premature decision where you miss out on the satisfaction of practicing a broad spectrum of dental procedures, or a great decision that will enable you to refine a highly-honed skillset simply by investing in a few additional years of schooling. This often means spending some time sorting through advice and anecdotes from friends, family and mentors in order to form your own decision on the matter. However, I believe that the best way to make an informed decision about specializing is to honestly assess yourself.
Preparation, proper form and good hand skills – we must be talking about dentistry, right? Well, not quite: we’re talking about sports!
Sports and dentistry have more in common than you might think. If you’ve ever played high school or collegiate sports, you know that success on the field begins before the game even starts, with late-night practices, team huddles, proper coaching and of course, hard work. Similarly, as dental students, we know all too well how pre-clinical practice and adequate preparation before appointments are crucial components to being successful in clinic.