Predoctoral

Juggling full-time dental school and part-time research for the first time

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 10.55.43 PMWhen applying to dental school, I wasn’t considered your traditional student. I attended community college, completed a post-bac program and did not have research experience–something many predental students have experience in. Although I graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a research heavy institution, I was never exposed research. And when I realized having a research background would help my application to dental school, it was too late. Once I matriculated at UCSF for dental school, I realized having research experience is not necessary and thought to myself, “I didn’t have to do research to get in and I never will have to do it.” Things changed very quickly.

Reading between the lines: Clues to spot a “drug shopper”

pill-shoppingAs dental professionals, we strive to provide a pain-free experience to our patients. We use topical and local anesthesia to alleviate pain during the procedure, use our tactile grace to ensure that our patients have a positive dental visit, and prescribe our patients with pain medications after certain procedures to ease the recovery. However, when a patient comes into our office complaining of pain, how can we distinguish whether they are genuinely in pain or in search of pain medication for non-medical related reasons? Chances are, you will encounter this fraudulent seeking of prescription medications in your practice, known as “drug shopping.” According to the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws, approximately 20% of people in the United States have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. Here are some red flags to look for in a patient who is “drug shopping:”

Alcohol and networking: mix with caution

3184695159_03ab24fac2_zI moved to Wisconsin for residency last summer. As a native Midwesterner, I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with the culture, values and cheese curds of Middle America. License plates may label this state as America’s Dairyland, but it seems to me a different indulgence is its most famous export. Beer.

Wisconsin isn’t the only drinking danger zone! Today’s dental students face alcohol-fueled culture at mainstream professional events. Social receptions tend to come well stocked with spirits. I see four significant alcohol-centered threats staring you down as an ambitious young dentist working hard to expand your network.

Saliva soup: A delicacy worth tweeting about

nest

Imagine building anything completely out of your saliva. That’s what Cave Swiftlets do, building their nests out of puresaliva high up in the dark damp caves of the Southeast Asian island Borneo. Cave Swiftlets are nocturnal hunters and leave their nests at night. Other hours are spent building a nesting place for the young, hundreds of feet above the cave floor. Imagine making a nest of countless strands of saliva to swaddle your young, nearly suspended in thin air above hungry cockroaches on the cave floor. I couldn’t even begin to fathom the disgusting mess that would be. Instead of trying this techniques ourselves, humans praise the bird nests for other reasons. We eat them.

Dental insurance practices: In the patient’s best interest?

losing-money-to-insuranceAs dental students, we tend to focus on gaining as much clinical experience and knowledge as we possibly can during our dental school years. We try our best to avoid the confusing world of insurance, not thinking about the eventual contracts we will likely sign with dental insurance companies, or “third party payers”. Within these written agreements are a number of possible stipulations and common practices that will affect the way we run our practice and treat our patients.

For example, what if I told you that as an out-of-network, or non-participating provider, a dental insurance company could refuse to forward reimbursement to you, as this would be considered a “perk” of being an in-network contracted dentist? Read on for a list of common dental insurance practices for which every dental student and new dentist should be aware…

Preparing for NBDE I and II as an international dentist

In 2011, I graduated with my Bachelor of Dental Surgery in India and worked at a military hospital as a dental officer and at a volunteer organization for almost two years. Not long after, my husband and I moved to the United States, and I began my path to become licensed to practice in the US.

When we first moved, I was unsure what the future would hold for me, and the challenges that awaited. I spent the first several months adjusting to my life here before I started to figure out my next step. My mind raced with questions like “what’s next?” and I knew that I couldn’t sit idly and waste my time.

Keep reading for Shruti’s tips on taking the NBDE as a foreign-trained dentist.

Cheapskates taking dentistry into their own hands

Gone are the days of how-to books and manuals. Technology has given DIY (do it yourself)-driven people the option to ditch paper resources and utilize the power of the index finger to click, scroll, and select videos on websites like YouTube and Vimeo to learn how to accomplish certain tasks. Taking it a step further, some self-proclaimed home-based professionals believe they can save money here and there by doing repairs and fixes on their own instead of having trained professionals to solve the problem. True to the definition of “DIY”, Grant Hearn took home dental care to another level in TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates. Read more to see how he performed oral surgery on his wife…