When a computer becomes overrun with more information than its processor can handle, it crashes. The human brain responds much the same. Take me, for example. I recently wrapped up an ordinary day in the life of a third-year dental student. I had lectures in the morning and treated patients in the afternoon. On the ride home, something felt off. Everything I needed to get done was passing through my mind. I needed to study, finish lab work and prepare a treatment plan for tomorrow’s patient. Aside from school responsibilities, my wife needed me to get groceries. I got home, dropped my bag and knelt on the floor. All at once, those thoughts flooded my brain and I could not move. I just sat there, emotional and frozen.
The 2014 U.S. Census estimated 63.7 million adults 65 years and older will be living in the United States by 2050. Elderly adults are now more likely to keep their teeth, live independently and demand better care. However, they are also more likely to have xerostomia, physical or cognitive impairments and other comorbidities.
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.
With the second year of the ADAT test cycle underway, and the first testing window of three completed, there is a lot to gain from the experiences of our colleagues. For one, they’ve shown that while the ADAT is challenging, it can also be manageable with the proper study approach. Based off their feedback, here are some key strategies for preparing for the ADAT as well as specific tips for the dental student, general dentist and international dentist.
Chronic musculoskeletal pain is also one of the leading causes for dentists to retire prematurely. Dentists have reported increased prevalence rates of chronic neck pain, shoulder pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain. It is vital to avoid these problems from the beginning of our careers to avoid its ill effects later. As dental students, we concentrate on improving on our clinical work. Seldom do we concentrate on our work posture. So how can we do it?
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.
Dentists do more than fill and whiten teeth, place implants or do extractions. They are at the forefront of oral health. What they do in terms of prevention and treatment affects systemic health in a multitude of ways. For this reason, knowledge in medicine is a foundation for the practice of dentistry.