Implants are quickly becoming a staple of modern dentistry. Did you know that you can take implant training courses as a student? It may seem like jumping the gun, but you can learn a lot, set yourself apart as a job applicant and save a lot of money by expanding your knowledge base now.
Julianne Doty, Las Vegas ’18, recently attended the Shatkin F.I.R.S.T. Mini Dental Implant Course. After graduation, she plans to stay in Las Vegas and work as a general dentist. Kristi Agari, Las Vegas ’18, attended the Sin City Laryngology and Sleep Medicine Conference, and she has her sights set on oral surgery in California once she graduates. Here are their suggestions for dental students to maximize their educational opportunities while in school.
Why did you decide to take an implant course?
Kristi: I will be matriculating into the oral and maxillofacial surgery program at University of Southern California and wanted to expand my knowledge in sleep surgery.
Julianne: I took the course after a recent UNLV graduate recommended it to me.
Did you pay out of pocket for your course?
Kristi: As a fourth-year dental student at the UNLV School of Dental Medicine, I received a special reduced fee to attend. One of the greatest advantages of attending a dental school in Las Vegas is the multitude of educational experiences and professional conferences held in the city. The sleep conference was at Planet Hollywood, so I was able to stay locally and commute.
Julianne: Students were not required to pay for this course; all fees were waived. However, the same course is offered in Buffalo, New York, where their lab is located, and I plan to attend this summer. I will have to pay for lodging and travel expenses associated with that course.
Were the courses beneficial to you? Would you recommend that students invest the time and money in CE courses during school?
Kristi: This meeting and other conferences like it serve as opportunities to expand your knowledge in specialized areas. We’ve heard so much that “dental school doesn’t make you a great dentist; dental school makes you a great student to learn dentistry.” Our dental school careers are just the beginning, and there is always more to learn to become better providers for our patients. Conferences such as these are invaluable, and they are definitely worth the reduced fee as a dental student. With my budget, the standard pricing might not have allowed me to attend.
Also, it’s probably better to attend these types of educational events as an upperclassman because they’re only valuable once you have a solid foundation and knowledge base.
Julianne: The first day was extremely useful. The doctor presented the science behind mini implants, the necessary criteria for success and contraindications. The second day focused mostly on marketing, which seemed irrelevant to me at this point in my dental career. Overall, I would still recommend this course, although I think some lectures could have been cut from the second day.
I would suggest that students take as many CE courses as possible while they are in school. They can open your eyes to new techniques and technologies in our field. And many of them are free for students.
Should all students take an implant course? Do you plan to take more in the future?
Kristi: Implants are becoming the standard of care. Even if a dentist chooses not to place implants in their practice, they must have sufficient knowledge to present the option to make sure their patient is well-informed. More specialized courses are beneficial, too. For example, dental professionals are often the first line of defense to recognize and respond to patients at risk for sleep apnea.
Julianne: Dentistry is constantly advancing, and it’s important to stay on top of new techniques and procedures to offer patients the best care. I had no idea how many ways mini implants could be incorporated into a general practice. The lecturers presented on new technology using mini implants to open the airway in sleep apnea patients, denture-supported implants (delivered in one 60-minute office visit) and full mouth fixed esthetic cases. Dr. Shatkin also reviewed sinus lift techniques and immediate cases. I plan to take the advanced mini implant course in Buffalo this summer to expand on what I’ve learned.
There are ample opportunities for continuing education as a student once you know what interests you. Many courses are free or discounted for students, and they are a great way to expand the knowledge you’ve acquired in school and market unique skills to future employers. We’d recommend taking advantage of as many of these opportunities as you can.
~ Kristi Agari and Julianne Doty, Las Vegas ‘18
Kristi and Julianne are both D4s in Las Vegas. Julianne plans to stay in Las Vegas to work as a general dentist with Pacific Dental Services. Kristi will enter into the six-year oral surgery residency program at USC this summer.