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

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

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      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

      Recommendations for reducing the burden of dental student loan debt

      Posted by John Papa on Tue, Oct 08, 2013 @ 10:59 AM

      Are you starting to worry about how you're going to pay for your dental school education? One of the biggest concerns that we hear consistently from dental students is getting out from under their debt burden when they finish school.

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      Many people already have previous schooling debt from their undergraduate programs and are looking for recommendations for reducing the burden of dental student loan debt.

      The good news is that there are a few simple tips that can make a big difference for virtually every student.

       

       

      • Compare costs. Above all other recommendations for reducing the burden of dental student loan debt, the best method for ensuring less debt is paying less upfront. For example, in-state tuition is cheaper than out-of-state tuition and both of these numbers can vary significantly between schools. Getting into an in-state program or one with substantially lower tuition than comparable programs can mean the difference of thousands of dollars.

      • Try to get government loans. Not only are government loans less expensive, but the government is also vastly more flexible when it comes to working with those who are experiencing financial difficulties after the fact. In addition, consolidating government loans can be much more helpful (i.e. result in more discounted rates) than consolidating private loans.

      • Consolidate student loans. Do you have multiple loans? You may be able to group them together and make one payment at a lower rate. Keep in mind that you can consolidate private or government loans, but you cannot mix the two. Take the time to crunch the numbers before you agree to consolidation to ensure that it will save you money in the long run.

      • Prepay loans whenever possible. Most students are not able to pay down their loans while they're still in school, but they may have the means to pay the interest in order to prevent it from adding to an already high loan balance. Additionally, if you have higher interest loans (i.e. credit card debt, car payments) these loans should take priority and be paid off first. However, if paying off your dental school debt early is an option, you should take advantage of it. Pay off your highest interest loan first, and make sure to apply the money toward the principal, not the interest. Paying down the principal saves you money over the loan's lifetime.1

      • Make every payment on time. Late charges add to an already big bill and they are entirely avoidable. Some people find it beneficial to enroll in an automatic payment program so they never forget to make a payment.

      • Qualify for loan forgiveness. The government will forgive debts after 10 years for borrowers that make their career in the public sector. (http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service). The government is also aggressively promoting other relief programs including the Pay As You Earn program (http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/pay-as-you-earn) which adjusts repayment to affordable levels while extending the loan term to accommodate that. Either way, the key is to get your arms around your post-graduation obligations before you leave school so that you can apply for these programs ahead of time. Questions? Let us know we’d love to help!
      1. http://www.finaid.org/loans/prepayment.phtml

      Tags: student, loan, government, debt, private, payment

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