In high school, I started going to the gym every day and avoiding junk food because I wanted to be healthier. I couldn’t run 400 meters without getting winded. I spent hours in front of my computer. My favorite Saturday lunchtime tradition was getting a pizza from Pizza Hut and eating it all myself. At first, exercising more and eating less junk food did make me feel healthier. I felt more alert. I could finally run a mile without stopping. I became more confident in myself and less clumsy when I walked.
But with my aspiring-dentist Type-A personality, exercise and eating became parts of my life that I liked to work on obsessively. When I moved away to college in Boston, hundreds of miles away from home, I was excited to make my own decisions.
Your first experience interacting with a patient face-to-face can be a little intimidating. It may be the first time you feel like a real dentist, even though you’re still in the middle of your studies. You’ll always remember that first patient. As your clinical knowledge grows, you may even think back to how that first visit could have gone smoother. Despite all the pre-clinical training we receive, interacting with real patients is different than sitting in a lecture with other students. Here are some tips to make the first experience a positive one.
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.
Every day we interact with diverse patients in the clinic, we are obligated to provide the best treatment possible to those we serve. Many of us have worked with patients enrolled in Medicaid and have seen first-hand how big an impact it can have on someone’s oral health. In May, my colleague, Districts 10 & 11 Legislative Coordinator Walter Fuentes, wrote about the funding implications for Medicaid if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed and replaced. I would like to share with you more about how this could affect Medicaid expansion.
As dental students we have done it hundreds of times already: local anesthesia. It’s may be the only procedure we have 100% confidence in completing. It’s like July 4th fireworks going off in dental brains because the patient’s “lip feels huge” and it is time to start the procedure. Yet, on a rare occasion, when we go through the normal routine with the appropriate dosage of anesthesia, they still have sensation. What gives?
Jab! Cross! Hook! Uppercut!
I am no Muhammad Ali, but you can typically find me at a local boxing gym after a long day of clinic and classes pounding away at a heavy bag with my hot pink Everest ® gloves.
At a towering 5 foot 2 inches, I am not your typical image of an Ultimate Fighting Champion. Not to mention with pieces of plaster and alginate stuck in my hair from doing lab work, I certainly do not look the part. However, looks are deceiving. I pack a mean uppercut and one-two punch.
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.