Lyn Wilson is in the midst of her final year at The Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University. Most recently, Lyn wrote a blog contribution discussing how she dealt with personal grief during dental school. You can read her piece over on THE NEXTDDS platform. In this interview, Lyn shares her clinical interests within dentistry as well as her first patient experience.
THE NEXTDDS: Why did you choose to pursue dentistry as a career?
LW: My dad is a physician in internal medicine. I grew up working in his office and seeing how things worked. For the longest time, I thought I was going to medical school. But, when I came to Dental College of Georgia they had a program where they introduced you to all the different kinds of health sciences. And what I liked about dentistry was that I liked working with my hands as well as the problem-solving side and artistic aspect of the field. After blending those interests, I found dentistry to be an ideal career for me.
THE NEXTDDS: Will you describe what it was like to work on your first live patient?
LW: I’ve been around patients for a long time. I worked as a dental assistant and pharmacy technician, so I’ve handled a lot of different aspects of patient care. However, being the doctor for the first time, it was so cool to sit down and work. The first time I did a restoration, I was nervous. Up until that point, I had done thousands of them on mannequins and test mouths, but this was the first time on a real person. It felt awesome that I knew what to do; I was really well prepared thanks to my instructors.
THE NEXTDDS: What aspect of dental school is the most challenging for you?
LW: Time management. Dental school is not for the weak. You have to be willing to put in the time to do it…the assignments, studying, clinical requirements, and lab work. You normally have long days. However, it’s important to take time for yourself, too. You need to schedule some self-care time. It’s just a challenge to make sure everything gets done.
THE NEXTDDS: What roles do social media and educational sites such as THE NEXTDDS play in your dental education? How frequently do you access them for school-related activities?
LW: When I was taking didactic courses, we used a lot of different resources, including YouTube videos. I wasn’t aware of THE NEXTDDS website when I started my first year. If I have been, I totally would have been using it. Now I’m into webinars, digital scanning, and how “digital” technology affects dentistry.
THE NEXTDDS: What clinical topics do you find most intriguing?
LW: I really like oral medicine. People with medical conditions can affect how we plan our dental treatment. What we do in the mouth can affect people later on down the line and their systemic health. Specifically, what I’ve been really interested in lately is head-neck cancer and its effects and oral cancer treatment. This is an aspect I really enjoy. I like the management of those complicated patients.
THE NEXTDDS: What clinical topics would be most beneficial to illustrate in online articles/images/videos?
LW: I don’t see a lot of worthy resources on surgical procedures. I think suture techniques will be best illustrated through video tutorials. Endodontics is great but difficult to visualize. I think medical illustration is helpful. Complex aesthetic cases are very interesting to watch—the different procedures they use to get the desired aesthetic results. Watching those techniques are really awesome and helpful to incorporate into my practice and how I help patients achieve the results that they want.
THE NEXTDDS: How have you been enjoying your Student Ambassador experience?
LW: My Student Ambassador experience has been great. It’s great to hear from everybody and talk to people. When I go to different conferences and I see someone I know, I’ll say “Hey, THE NEXTDDS”! It’s really cool because you know that someone that does this and takes the extra time to network, you know they are going to be a great colleague. It has definitely helped me with networking with other students. I think it’s awesome to share information and learning from each other.
THE NEXTDDS: Besides student loans, what is a chief concern for you regarding dental school?
LW: The demands that are placed on us can get very stressful. You have to be really proactive with your own health and well-being while in dental school. There is external pressure put on us to perform well. The level of perfection we’re expected to strive for can be very difficult.
THE NEXTDDS: What do you envision your next five years of dentistry to look like?
LW: Well I’m going to graduate! I’m really hoping to do a residency. I’m not really 100% sure which route I’m going to take, but I do want to pursue more advanced training and specialize.
THE NEXTDDS: What do you enjoy most about being a dental student, or dental school in general?
LW: We have a class where we do a certain number of community service hours every year. That’s what I enjoy most; going out into the community and helping people whether it’s through oral cancer screening, oral hygiene, dental education, etc. Having that ability to go out into the community and make a difference in people’s lives is what I love most. It’s awesome to make an impact.
That’s very commendable Lyn! Thank you for participating in this interview. We greatly appreciate your thoughts and insight and we look forward to working with you for the rest of the year! Have a great final year!