THE NEXTDDS Blog

Your D1 Survival Guide: Part 1--Note Taking and Adjusting to Dental School

Posted by Abby Halpern on Sat, Jan 30, 2016 @ 12:16 PM

Meet AbbyStarting dental school can be challenging for some first-year students, as you are faced with new terminology and a wealth information right out of the gate. You have to get acclimated to having endless hours of lectures each day, you don’t yet know how to succeed in the sim lab, and clinic is off in the distance. Well, I’m here to help.


As a D2 at the Dental College of Georgia, I’ve had some of those same questions. But with a little perseverance and helpful hints from more experienced students, I was able to get my footing. In this series, I’m going to tackle a few important issues and share some insight to help YOU through the process, too.

Q: What is the most effective way to take notes?

A: Dental students have various methods for studying and retaining information, and the key is to determine what regimen works best for you. As a second-year student, I’ve tried a whole bunch of methods and I tend to have particular methods for particular classes. For example, in my anatomy courses, I like to condense PowerPoint presentations by handwriting (in the tiniest of print) and drawing pictures that fill up a single page of computer paper per lecture. In these types of courses, understanding the relationship between things and visualizing the constituent parts is what I needed to focus on.

Recently, I started using an iPad to take notes during lectures using the Notability app. I’ve loved the organization this allows me, and I honestly think I’m more focused in class because of it. I’m more apt to flip through slides when the interface is so convenient. Other apps beneficial to my classmates include Evernote and GoogleDocs, and I’d encourage you to experiment with one or two others to see how they handle images, revisions, and your particular learning style.

Additionally, my classmates and I will often re-listen to lectures through software that our school provides. This method allows us to solidify information or ensure that we haven’t missed any key points during a fast-paced lecture. It’s also well suited for auditory learners.

Speaking of speed, you can also fast forward these lectures and get through material in half of the time if you need a refresher session. Do not get bogged down in wondering you if you are taking notes and studying the “right” way because there is no single correct way to accomplish this. My suggestion would be to attempt a method you think will be advantageous and to stick with what provides you with the greatest success.


Q: “How does dental school compare to undergrad?”

A: This is a great question because we, as dental students, are the type of people that want to know exactly what we are getting ourselves into. It’s a lot like that forever comparison, or lack thereof, between apples and oranges: for sure, they are both fruits and they have seeds, but beyond those aspects, they are totally different entities.
To be honest, and this may disappoint some of you, I do not think that your undergraduate degree is the most important factor in preparing you for dental school. The experiences you have inside the dental office and outside its confines give you a better understanding of the practitioner you want to be and thus the dedication and motivation you will adhere to during dental school in order to achieve these goals…but I could probably write a whole separate article on that topic.

I will say that your peers in dental school are so much more than just classmates. The bonds you make, the conversations you enjoy, and the realizations you have that these will be your future colleagues are all amazing experiences.

In opposition, the workload is no pleasant surprise. The hours of studying, preparing, and lab work are as rough as you’ve heard. So many people told me of the long hours; I reasoned with myself that I wouldn’t have the same exhaustive days. I’ve never been so quick to eat my words before. Most school days begin at 8am and end at 5pm. It can be difficult to stay focused for so many hours of lectures, especially at the beginning when your brain is used to maybe 3 to 4 hours of PowerPoint presentations per day as an undergrad. This rigor takes some getting used to, but your passion for this profession, along with those new relationships, help you push through. Dental school is incredibly different from your undergraduate education, and while this may seem daunting and scary at times, these differences are what make dental school such an impactful experience—the experience that will prepare you for the rest of you professional life.

I hope this helped give you an idea of what dental school really is like. In Part 2 of the series, we will cover how to keep your motivation and stamina over the four years of dental school as well as what to expect in your first patient experience. Stay tuned, and I welcome any questions you have!

 

Need more help acclimating to your first year in dental school? THE NEXTDDS has a host of instructional resources and step-by-step technique guides available to support you. Enroll today--it's FREE!

Tags: education, dental education, student, dental, studying, D1

5 Benefits of a DSO-Supported Practice for New Graduates

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 @ 07:00 PM

DSO-article-thumbTHE NEXTDDS Fall 2015 Magazine is now online! This issue features an article entitled Pick Your Path--What is a DSO? (on page 20) that looks at the role of the DSO-supported practice in modern dentistry and how new graduates may benefit from joining such a practice. Whether recent graduate or practicing dentist, there are many who may benefit from practicing in a DSO environment. Those desiring flexible schedules, bearing the burden of significant student loan debt, or needing to build competency in a structured practice model are ideal for the practice supported by a DSO. New dentists who wish to learn from proven business systems rather than a traditional solo practitioner are also well suited for the DSO model. Below are 5 benefits, that you can find out about more fully within the article, of a DSO-supported practice.

Compensation

With a guaranteed steady patient flow (a key driver in any practice) and competitive salary packages, it’s not surprising that this is a major factor in the decision for new graduates. Many affiliated dentists enjoy higher production and earn more than their counterparts in private practice due to an ability to spend time on patient care rather than business activities.

Ease of Employment

New graduates can face difficulties finding immediate employment for a number of reasons. Dentists are retiring later than in previous years, so the number of practices for sale/partnership have reduced. Recovery from the recession has been slow, so fewer private practices are hiring associates or graduates with little experience. It can be difficult for a new graduate to get a foot in the door or, alternately, to obtain capital for practice acquisition. Practices supported by DSOs are willing to employ new graduates and are able to support them to a degree that a private practice often cannot.

DSO_Path-thumbStudent Debt

Upon graduation, the average dentist has nearly $250,000 in student loan debt, creating a barrier to practice ownership. Generating enough income to cover debt and expenses the first few years as a solo practitioner can be challenging. Some DSOs have programs in place to help dental students retire their dental school debt faster.

Work/Life Balance

Modern employment trends are evolving, and lifestyle preferences such as regular hours, mobility, and flexible work schedules are becoming increasingly important. A successful dental career isn’t all about money, and married professionals and dual-profession families require a lifestyle that practice ownership doesn’t always allow.

Opportunities to Acquire Experience

Increasing confidence and clinical speed while building patient production is a big attraction for new dentists. Practices supported by DSOs are able to offer clinical supervision, ongoing education, in-house training, and other benefits that usually aren’t available in a traditional private practice. The opportunities for interaction with other dentists and peers is also an attractive feature of a larger practice structure. Organizations such as the Association of Dental Support Organizations (ADSO) have formed out this same imperative, enabling affiliated dentists to join a community and to brainstorm and collectively discuss issues affecting the profession.

DSO-supported practices are part of a growing trend in the industry to provide quality and affordable care to improve public health. Why is joining a practice associated with a DSO a smart move for a new dental graduate? Access the article now!

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Tags: dental students, dental, debt, dental support organization, student loan, DSO, graduating dentist

Professor's Perspective: Lisa Harper Mallonee on Student Technology

Posted by Christina Ferraro on Fri, Mar 06, 2015 @ 06:39 PM

Advisory Board Mallonee
Lisa F. Mallonee, BSDH, MPH, RD, LD
Texas A & M Baylor College of Dentistry
Associate Professor, Caruth School of Dental Hygiene

Harper Mallonee

What is the most rewarding aspect of your dental specialty?

I get to combine my two areas of interest (dental hygiene and nutrition) to educate students and practitioners.

 

What digital or online tools do you use in the classroom or clinical setting?

I use Blackboard in the classroom.

 

How often do you assign students material that requires online research?

My students are given several projects that require online research.

 

What advice can you give current dental students nearing graduation who are interested in your specialty?

As the Surgeon General stated in May of 2000 in his landmark report “The mouth is the window to all diseases of the body”. It is crucial that dental practitioners gain knowledge and expertise in treating the whole patient and not just the mouth.

 

Does this generation of students present any unique challenges to educators? 

The current generation of students are very hands-on and technologically savvy. It is important to keep them stimulated and address these learning styles in both the clinic and classroom settings.

 

What do you find to be the most difficult dental concept to teach?

The application of nutrition in the dental setting is often times a difficult concept to teach. The etiology of caries involves this application because host factors, bacteria, saliva and diet are the four crucial components. Oftentimes students make this application more difficult than it has to be. Diet (forms of foods, frequency of consumption and timing of foods/beverages) should be addressed and discussed with each of our patients who are at risk or present evidence of dental decay.


What digital adjunct materials do you find most useful for students, and for what lessons do you use them?

In our dental hygiene clinic, the only digital adjunct materials we use are digital x-rays. I think a digital camera is an incredible teaching tool for both patient and student. It allows the student to educate on their findings in the mouth while the patient gets a visual image of what is being discussed.


Why did you choose your specialty?

I have a passion for prevention! As both a registered dietitian and a registered dental hygienist, my goal is to educate and encourage the practical application of diet and nutrition in the dental setting. I also strive to foster interprofessional collaboration between dietetics practitioners and oral health care professionals. My enthusiasm for educating patients, students and practitioners about the oral health-nutrition link is what drives me professionally to make strides in this area.


What do you wish you had known about the dental industry as a whole when you were a student?

I wish I had known more about public health professional opportunities for the dental professional.

Tags: education, technology, dental, advice, elearning, educator

Professor's Perspective: E.R. Schwedhelm

Posted by Christina Ferraro on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 @ 04:50 PM

Advisory Board Schwedhelm

Schwedhelm

 

E.R. Schwedhelm

Clinical Assistant Professor, Restorative Dentistry

University of Washington School of Dentistry

 

What is the most rewarding aspect of your dental specialty?

The interdisciplinary treatment planning

 

What digital or online tools do you use in the classroom or clinical setting?

I started using Canvas and PowerPoint Mix, have also used TurningPoint

 

What advice can you give current dental students nearing graduation who are interested in your specialty?

Get involved in study clubs

 

What do you find to be the most difficult dental concept to teach? Why?

CAD/CAM technology. The faculty are not trained, there are constant upgrades to software, equipment, cost, facilities, staff. Students have the impression that just a mouse click will do all.

 

Why did you choose your specialty?

Interdisciplinary treatment

Tags: classroom, education, technology, dental, elearning, educator

Professor's Perspective: Dr. David Dunning on Digital Engagement

Posted by Christina Ferraro on Fri, Feb 06, 2015 @ 05:04 PM

Advisory Board Dunning
UNMC Logo      
David G. Dunning, M.A., Ph.D.
Professor, Dept. of Oral Biology

What digital or online tools do you use in the classroom or clinical setting?

Dental management simulation (www.dentalsimulations.com)

 

How often do you assign students material that requires online research?

During the management simulation, weekly in that semester. Students also complete on-line courses in motivational interviewing and practice management at dentalcare.com.

 

Does this generation of students present any unique challenges to educators?

In an electronic age, attention spans can be challenging to engage and maintain.

 

What do you find to be the most difficult dental concept to teach? 

Dental insurance and practice valuations are both very complicated and involve many concepts, students are often unfamiliar with these concepts.

 

What digital adjunct materials do you find most useful for students, and for what lessons do you use them?

--Supplemental videos for the management simulation.

--Posted supplemental materials on THNEXTDDS and Blackboard.

--On-line course modules.

These options allow students to grasp concepts and learn at least to some degree at their own pace.

Tags: classroom, education, digital, dental education, technology, dental, elearning, educator

Professor's Perspective: Dr. Matthew Brock

Posted by Christina Ferraro on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 @ 02:54 PM

Advisory Board Brock
Brock
Dr. Matthew Brock
Visiting Professor, Department of Endodontics
University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry

1. What is the most rewarding aspect of your dental specialty?

A lot of our patients present to us with a tooth that is hurting.  It is rewarding to know that we can diagnose which tooth is the source of the problem, treat it with a root canal and get them almost immediate relief.

2. What digital or online tools do you use in the classroom or clinical setting?

We use Schick 33 digital radiographs and use this to better educate our patients about a root canal, before and after the procedure.

    3. What advice can you give current dental students nearing graduation who are interested in your specialty?

    I would recommend to shadow other endodontist, have an idea of where you want to live and practice and don’t get into it thinking you are going to make “mega bucks”…

    4. Does this generation of students present any unique challenges to educators?

    I feel that they are a little more ready for instant gratification and sometimes have unrealistic expectations of what it takes to build a solid practice.  I feel that it is easy to have mentor and assume that you to will be there in a year or two, whereas the reality is that it can take 5-10 years to build a practice.

      5. What digital adjunct materials do you find most useful for students, and for what lessons do you use them?

      I typically use video filmed through my microscope & radiographs in my Powerpoint or Key note presentations.

      6. Why did you choose your specialty?

      My step-father, John McSpadden, limited his practice to endodontics in the 1970s and developed the McSpadden Compactor, and later NiTi rotary files in the early 1990s.  I watched his NiTi rotary file company grow & even worked with the company 2 summers during college and found what he was doing fascinating and decided that I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

      7. What do you wish you had known about the dental industry as a whole when you were a student?

      A lot of research is manipulated by the principal investigators to prove or illustrate the point that their sponsor is trying to promote.  This leads us to a lot of articles that are basically paid advertisements that people sometimes read as the latest and greatest.

      Tags: classroom, education, THE NEXTDDS, technology, student, dental, advice, specialty, endodontics, elearning, educator

      Professor's Perspective: Dr. Anthony Eltink's Advice for Dental Grads

      Posted by Christina Ferraro on Fri, Dec 19, 2014 @ 05:39 PM

      This is the second in a series of interviews highlighting THE NEXTDDS Academic Advisory Board members and their views on dental education today. From their choices in digital tools in the classroom to what advice they would give current dental students, these academicians will weigh in on their experiences.

       

      Advisory Board Eltink

      Anthony P. Eltink, DMD, MS

      Orthodontics

       

      What is the most rewarding aspect of your dental specialty?

      Being an orthodontist allows you to form relationships with children and families, and it is a pleasure to watch them grow up.  The positive impacts on a child's self confidence and self esteem that are directly related to the improvements in their smiles are incredible, and it is great to be a part of these changes.

       

      What digital or online tools do you use in the classroom or clinical setting?

      The biggest advancements in digital technology in orthodontics lie in the realm of digital treatment planning and execution with appliances such as Invisalign.  Taking the patient's teeth to a computer screen, manipulating their occlusion in a virtual world, and then applying that clinically is an amazing advancement in orthodontic technology.

       

      How often do you assign students material that requires online research?

      Much of the learning for our orthodontic residents comes from finding an understanding of the literature and determining orthodontic treatments that are evidence-based and sound.  The internet is rich with both information and misinformation, and we work hard to create orthodontists who understand the power of online tools.

       

      What advice can you give current dental students nearing graduation who are interested in your specialty?

      Interview well, and be different.  Orthodontics as a specialty is very competitive, and you will be competing with other very qualified applicants.  If you interview well and are memorable it will go a long way toward ranking highly for the residency match.

       

      Does this generation of students present any unique challenges to educators? If so, explain.

      Education in a residency program is driven by self-motivation.  We provide opportunities to learn, but there is no spoon-feeding of information.  Younger generations might not be used to this method of instruction, and might miss opportunities to learn.

       

      What do you find to be the most difficult dental concept to teach? Why?

      Craniofacial growth and development - the head and neck go through so many changes during periods of growth, and the complex nature of dental development takes place in this very dynamic environment.  These are difficult concepts to teach and to test.

       

      What digital adjunct materials do you find most useful for students, and for what lessons do you use them?

      Technologies for virtual treatment outcomes and digital treatment planning are crucial to understanding orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning.  We use these routinely in our orthodontic department.

       

      Why did you choose your specialty?

      I chose orthodontics because of the total package that it offers - low stress, "clean" dentistry, you get to work with kids, no emergencies, generous compensation, physically less demanding than general dentistry.... 

       

      What do you wish you had known about the dental industry as a whole when you were a student?

      I wish I had known more about running a business.  We spend so many hours learning about diseases, teeth and therapies, and are then thrust out in the world and asked to run a business.   Well-organized, specialty specific business courses should be added to the dental school and residency curricula.

       

       

       

      Tags: classroom, education, technology, student, dental, advice, online, change, industry, grad

      Professor's Perspective: Dental Educator & Clinician John Christensen

      Posted by Christina Ferraro on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 @ 05:26 PM

      This is the first in a series of interviews highlighting THE NEXTDDS Academic Advisory Board members and their views on dental education today. From their choices in digital tools in the classroom to what advice they would give current dental students, these academicians will weigh in on their experiences.

       

      Advisory Board Christensen

      describe the image

      John Christensen, DDS, MS, MS

      Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

       

      What is the most rewarding aspect of your dental specialty?

      Working with a varied population daily (children and adolescents) who make every appointment different.  You never know what is coming next.

       

      What digital or online tools do you use in the classroom or clinical setting?

      Digital photos, x-rays, models for orthodontic diagnosis. I use Dolphin software to help work up orthodontic cases.  I use Pubmed, Google scholar alerts for information and education. Dentaltraumaguide.org is the best resource for trauma available.

       

      How often do you assign students material that requires online research?

      Often, it is a way of getting journal articles without the journal.

       

      What advice can you give current dental students nearing graduation who are interested in your specialty?

      Visit dentists in the specialty you are considering and observe for more than an afternoon.  Do they seem happy? Challenged? Frustrated?  That tells you a lot about the specialty.

       

      Does this generation of students present any unique challenges to educators? 

      Yes, the amount of information available to students is almost overwhelming.  Couple that with all the information coming from news, social media, etc. and I think the current generation has a difficult time finding time to focus on the material at hand. Multitasking is not the answer.

       

      What do you find to be the most difficult dental concept to teach?

      Critical thinking to apply different concepts to a single problem.  Students often know A, know B, and know C.  What they have trouble with is combining A, B, and C to make D which is the best solution to the problem.

       

      What digital adjunct materials do you find most useful for students, and for what lessons do you use them?

      Dentaltraumaguide.org for resource.  Dolphin Imaging to see what treatment might look like. 

       

      Why did you choose your specialty?

      Children create another dimension to treatment and that is time.  They change and one needs to understand growth and development to incorporate the changes into the treatment solutions.

       

      What do you wish you had known about the dental industry as a whole when you were a student?

      My father was a dentist so I knew most of what was happening.  I wish I knew more about where we are going.  Will dentistry and dentists just become technicians providing services or will we continue to be part of the health team?

      Tags: children, orthodontic, classroom, student, dental, elearning, educator, online

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