Before entering dental school, I worked as a registered dietitian. My life centered around health and wellness. I woke up at 5:15 a.m. every weekday to go to the gym. I meal-prepped every weekend. I spent a lot of my free time researching new health products, while also coming up with new ways to make traditional comfort foods healthier. My life focused on being healthy and learning new ways to help my patients eat better.
After over a decade of working as a general dentist in England, my wife and I decided to move to her hometown, Los Angeles. This decision brought one huge implication: My dental degree and license were not accepted by the state of California. So I set out to enter a program for international dentists, which meant spending at least two years in dental school again.
Thought leaders are recognized as an authority in their fields of expertise. When you want to learn something about a particular subject, these are the people you go to talk to, the ones whose opinions matter most. Thought leaders provide a lot of value, but how do you actually identify if someone is a thought leader or not?
One of the most challenging parts of being a first-year dental student has been figuring out the most efficient and effective study strategies. Unlike in college, in dental school, you are expected to study large amounts of material in short periods of time. For example, a 10-question quiz on two weeks of material for one class might be on 200–300 PowerPoint slides. Is it possible to study this much material, or possibly more for every class, while still doing well? Yes, it is!
Shelves and shelves full of toothpastes, mouth rinses, teeth whiteners and more — which one to buy? In addition to having to choose from a multitude of items, patients may also have questions about the chemicals that make up these products. Dental professionals field questions about toothpaste and whiteners with ingredients such as fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), triclosan, and hydrogen peroxide and/or carbamide peroxide. Some patients favor products free of these elements and move toward what are perceived as better, natural products. Dental professionals should know about research regarding chemicals in dental products that patients are likely to encounter.
Each year, ASDA publishes nearly 300 articles in Contour magazine and the Mouthing Off blog combined — planned, written and edited by dental students. Each piece of student-written content can be considered for a Gold Crown Award in the media category, which honors excellence in chapter publications, social media and websites, and outstanding contributions to ASDA national publications.
Engage, ASDA’s advocacy action alert system, keeps members informed about key issues affecting dentistry and allows ASDA members to advocate for the profession by voicing their position to their legislators. ASDA Speaker of the House Ryan Twaddle says, “When our days are packed with studying, exams and clinic, [it’s easy] to think the end goal is graduation. However, lawmakers are continuously creating policies that you must follow after graduation.”