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.
Many people see their dentist more often than their doctor so establishing a connection with your patients should be a priority. To ease the “awkward” phase of getting to know patients, several dentists have chosen creative marketing techniques that combine their hobbies with social media. The goal is for patients to feel more connected with their dentist and dental health.
My name is Kim Kelly and yesterday was my last day as ASDA’s senior manager of publications. I started at ASDA nearly nine years ago, before this blog existed. For the better part of a decade, I’ve worked with dental students to create the type of content they want to read. Today, with the launch of Contour magazine and the success of this blog, ASDA’s publications look very different from when I started. But no matter how much time passes, the publications are still centered around dental student authorship. It takes a lot of work to produce member-written publications. Between ASDA’s printed publications and this blog, we publish more than 400 pieces of content each year. That’s a lot of student writing and a lot of work by ASDA’s Editorial Board.
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.
I talked to a student recently who graduated dental school a few years ago with $300,000 of student debt (a figure some of you would be happy to have!). For a variety of reasons, she hadn’t worked in the last three years and spent some time overseas before that. Her outstanding debt is now closer to $450,000. In just a few years her outstanding debt increased 50 percent. What happened?
We all want to feel accepted, included and a part of something bigger. For most of us, becoming a dentist was once just a dream. Now we have the opportunity to learn, grow and develop skills to achieve our dream. Dentistry is a social, collaborative and interactive profession that requires empathy, compassion and respect. We work hard so that, one day, we can take care of our patients. However, the environment of dental school can exacerbate existing insecurities. As a consequence, we sometimes forget how to take care of ourselves and our peers.