Combining dentistry and the arts: My journey to dental school

Since I started walking, my feet were always on the move, trying to mimic the dancers I saw on television. When I was old enough for dance lessons, I enrolled in pre-ballet class, moving on to ballet, tap, hip-hop and jazz as the years went by. Dancing was a passion I discovered fairly early in life and, surprisingly, so was dentistry.

Dispelling the myths around dental research

Participating in research is popular among various pre-health professional fields. Doing research as an undergrad is not a “must-do,” but some dental schools see it as a plus. Although it sounds endearing and can add to the professional growth of many undergraduate students, research can be scary at the same time. This fear could be attributed to some of the stereotypes (or myths) we hold about research. Here, I want to dispel those myths and discuss how to enjoy being a part of research, while learning a lot from the experience.

Cosmetic dentistry from a cultural standpoint

White, perfectly aligned teeth have become an American staple. Because of this, many believe that the “Hollywood smile” is the healthiest, most ideal smile. Many dentists brand themselves as “cosmetic dentists” to address this demand. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry says that aesthetic dentistry must complement the overall general and oral health of the patient. Cosmetic dentistry refers to any dental work that improves the appearance of teeth, gums and occlusion, despite functionality. However, the importance of functionality in smile design must not be overlooked.

Put Instagram to good use

Do you spend way too much time on Instagram? Have you felt like too much of your precious time is spent staring at photos, captions and hashtags on a three-by-five inch screen? Well, there’s good news. If you follow the right Instagram accounts, it will not only give you more opportunities in the field of dentistry, but it can help you connect with other students and professionals.

How to choose the products you recommend to patients

As dental students, most of us did not have many options when it came to which dental materials to use in clinic. There was one brand of composite, one brand of impression material, one brand of prophy paste, etc. These limitations often carried over into the free patient home-hygiene bag given out after cleanings. I was a creature of habit and did not put much thought into the products that were given to our patients. At that time, I did not have any influence over which products were recommended to my clinic patients.

Investigating the mouth-body connection

We all know the expression “the eyes are the window to the soul.” As oral health professionals, we view the mouth as the window to the entire body. Studies have shown that good oral health correlates to better overall health. Contrarily, poor oral health has been linked to a long list of systemic diseases. A 2011 article in Diabetologia found a prominent link between oral health and diabetes.

5 ways to succeed in a team environment

teamworkYou’ve heard phrases such as “working in a team environment” and “team dynamics” so often that their actual meaning can become overlooked. Understanding the true concepts underlying these phrases can go a long way in maximizing a team’s output while enhancing our own understanding of where we fit in the team and how we contribute our most valuable skill sets.

According to a 2013 study by the journal Human Resources for Health, interdisciplinary team work in the healthcare setting is becoming more prevalent in this age as a result of various factors. These include an aging population with more complex health needs, the increasing complexity of skills and knowledge needed to provide comprehensive care, and fragmentation of disciplinary knowledge due to increasing specialization in the health professions.