Dentists have proven themselves time and time again to be dynamic innovators in the medical field. From Dr. Horace Wells, the pioneer of anesthesia, to Dr. William Rollins, who revolutionized radiation protection, there is a rich history of dentists on the cutting edge. The artisanship inherent in dentistry pushes modernization. All of this is driven by the ideal of comprehensive patient-centered care. However, in a field entrenched in tradition, new technologies can seem disruptive. Often we are slow to integrate them, especially in an educational setting. Though there are countless factors in evolving face of dentistry, one consistent challenge remains.
Decisions shape the course of our lives like a hot PKT on wax. Many times people find decision-making stressful and burdensome. I am no different, however I always turn to my ABC’s to help simplify the situation. The ABC’s to my life are something I invented in college. Although I obtained a chemistry degree, one of the most valuable takeaways was self-discovery. The ABC’s I developed can be used to handle any situation.
Lobby Day. Hundreds of dental students gathered in Washington, D.C. to meet with senators and representatives from their states. The goal: to lobby for dentists, patients and dental students on behalf of the profession. If you have attended Lobby Day, you know the thrill of scampering around the nation’s capitol.
For most students, this is not the case. Dental school is tough and time-consuming, which makes travel across the country difficult. But all is not lost when it comes to advocacy. Being in the nation’s capitol delivering your message is incredible, but not always feasible. One of the best places to meet with a member of Congress is in their respective district.
There are numerous benefits dentistry offers, but unlike other professions, ours offers opportunities for travel. It may seem like you only travel to the simulation lab or clinic. Do not be fooled by the four walls of your school as there are opportunities. It is easy to get caught up in the business of our lives while in school. Endless deadlines, lab work, progress notes and consults can seem like a never-ending to-do list. Opportunities to travel lie in every pit and fissure.
Most of us would agree that beginning dental school is challenging. I’d liken it to being in the passenger seat of a muscle car during a drag race. You’re excited to get going, but largely unprepared for the change of pace that you’re about to experience. How we adapt during this time is instrumental to our future success.
Public service announcement: Justine Bednarski is a closeted shopaholic (pun intended). Aside from not owning enough hangers for the surplus of tops I have somehow accumulated, my kryptonite lies in the hands of the shoe gods. Although trendy, my riding boots and strappy wedges weren’t quite the style of shoe appropriate for the pre-clinical and clinical settings of dental school.
Dentistry is an evolving field and new technology seems to be developing more rapidly each year. How have these innovations affected the dental school experience in the last half century? As a third-generation future dentist, I did some research by interviewing my father, Dr. Dennis Wong. I wanted to see how his experience at school was different from mine. My father attended dental school from 1975-1979 at University of California, San Francisco. He is exactly forty years ahead of me in his dental career. He has been a solo practitioner in the Bay Area since graduation.