Non-patient-based exams and licensure during the pandemic

This time of the year usually signifies great celebration for graduating dental students across the country. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, graduation ceremonies look a lot different this year with virtual walks across the stage and celebrations at home in quarantine. How graduates will become licensed is different as well, and non-patient-based alternatives are now coming to the forefront.

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic as a D4

With dental schools closed across the country, many seniors are navigating what the next steps in their dental career look like. Sandya Athigaman is a fourth-year dental student from Carlsbad, New Mexico, attending Texas A&M. After graduation, she plans to practice as a general dentist, serving in Texas. Here, Athigaman talks about the experience at her school and her tips for staying optimistic during these uncertain times.

5 lessons I learned after finishing dental school

My four years of dental school flew by. When I was trying to survive dental school, it seemed long and arduous — unending. However, when I stood on the stage to receive my doctoral hooding earlier this year, I couldn’t believe how fast those years came and went. It seemed like just yesterday I started my dental school journey and looking back on it now as a prosthodontics resident, I realize there are a few things I learned throughout the process.

Taking the licensure exam: A timeline

Each year, more than 6,000 dental students across the United States obtain dental licenses through a patient-based clinical licensure exam. As a dental student, I’ve learned all about what the test will entail: performing two fillings and a cleaning on a live patient, and then preparing a crown, bridge and an anterior root canal on plastic teeth. I’ve also learned about the controversies surrounding the exam.

A ‘match’ made in heaven: Selecting the right residency


You think you are finished. After surviving your classes and practicals and passing boards, you prepare for graduation and then you realize you have yet to figure out what exactly you’re supposed to do next. That was me in summer 2016. I had been so consumed with my school work and extracurricular activities that I neglected the reason why I came to school — to get a job.