Queenate Ibeto is completing her final semester as a dental student at Howard University College of Dentistry and serves as a Regional Delegate for THE NEXTDDS. Her latest blog post, The Plight of The Fourth-Year Dental Student, is featured on THE NEXTDDS blogs. In the following, Queenate shares her experiences in a third world country, which led her to dentistry, and relates some of the challenges she faces as a leader in her dental school. She also discusses her plans after graduation and what she enjoys most about dental school.
THE NEXTDDS: Why did you choose dentistry as a career path? What about the profession is appealing to you?
QI: I became interested in dentistry years ago during a visit to a third-world country where I first saw (what I now know is) rampant caries, numerous missing teeth, etc. I was stunned! I asked my mom about why; she told me that it was a matter of dental education and that in some places the people do not have access to dentists or have no knowledge that dentists even exist! At that point my interest in dentistry was sparked and I knew that it was a field that I was passionate about pursuing.
THE NEXTDDS: Is it generational?
QI: No. I am the first in my family to become a dentist. However, my sister is now a rising D2 student at Howard University College of Dentistry!
THE NEXTDDS: Were you excited / nervous when you first worked on a patient?
QI: When I started seeing patients in clinic, I was not really nervous to execute the initial comprehensive evaluation. After the patient had been comprehensively treatment planned, however, executing some procedures is what brought mild anxiety, particularly for molar root canals.
THE NEXTDDS: What aspect of dental school do you find to be the most challenging?
QI: Your life is pretty much dedicated to dental school for the four years that you are in school. It can also be financially straining because everything in dentistry costs.
As a student leader I am constantly called upon to manage several things going on with the student body. I am also involved with organizations outside of the dental school; THE NEXTDDS is just one example of that! The most challenging thing about dental school has been staying organized and trying not to get overwhelmed by the plethora of things that we have to manage in one day. Dentistry is not as simple as drilling and filling. It requires that we utilize our entire medical knowledge base to diagnose, treatment plan, and decide the best techniques to manage the problems that we identify. Delivering the news to the patient can also be a challenge too, because some dental procedures can be costly.
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?
QI: My dental education has been vast and I have enjoyed utilizing multiple educational sources to get a full grasp of dental concepts. Websites like THE NEXTDDS are important because they serve as platforms where mass dental topics are highlighted and discussed. THE NEXTDDS has the potential to be the “go-to” website for dental students whenever they need expanded learning opportunities.
THE NEXTDDS: What do you envision your next five years of dentistry to look like?
QI: I am very excited about entering the dental profession. Next year I see myself attending my General Practice Residency program in Charlotte, NC. Upon completion of that program I would like to find an associateship in Charlotte and work as a general dentist for one or two years and then begin the process of practice ownership.
THE NEXTDDS: What clinical topics do you find most intriguing?
QI: The current clinical topics that I find interesting involve endodontic technology and full-mouth rehabilitation cases. Endodontics is amazing to me because they are constantly evaluating the science behind root canal therapy and the findings are great to see, enabling me to mitigate concerns that some patient may have about RCT. Full-mouth rehabilitation cases are all-encompassing restorative dentistry cases that I enjoy because of the “before and after” effects. It is a huge blessing to be able to give a person a smile that they can be proud of!
THE NEXTDDS: How has your experience as a Student Ambassador for THE NEXTDDS helped you in networking with your peers?
QI: My student ambassador experience has been an excellent tool in allowing me to network with student leaders at other U.S. dental schools. We discuss similar issues that we have encountered while in dental school and formulate possible solutions to managing those issues. Most importantly, the sharing of ideas is what I think is amazing.
THE NEXTDDS: What do you enjoy most about being a dental student, or dental school in general?
QI: I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know dental students who have graduated and become dentists as well as my classmates and future colleagues. It is such an honor to be among such a group of talented and amazing people! I also have enjoyed my patients and educating them on oral healthcare. Seeing my patients grow in their dental knowledge and completing their cases has truly been fulfilling. I will surely miss those aspects of dental school.
THE NEXTDDS would also like to thank Queenate Ibeto for her outstanding support as a Student Ambassador at Howard University College of Dentistry for the 2014-2015 academic year and both a Student Ambassador and Regional Delegate for 2015-2016. Congratulations, and we hope all the best for you in your future endeavors!