4th Year and COT

****IMPORTANT INFORMATION****

I made a huge mistake that you could avoid if you take my advice. I wasn’t prepared to think about disability insurance in the first half of my 4th year. I figured I had plenty of time and I would think about it later. That was a mistake. For the post part, disability companies won’t cover you with disability while you are active duty. The exception to this is the company Standard. They will cover you while on active duty if you are accepted and start coverage and payments BEFORE you get your orders. I was told not to expect my orders until March or April. For some reason, the Air Force decided to do something ahead of schedule for the first time ever and I got my orders in January. I was a couple of weeks away from having my disability paperwork finalized and it was all cancelled because I had gotten my orders. Everything was not lost, however. There is another company, Ameritas, that will give you disability insurance so you can lock in the payments at the age of 26 and then suspend coverage and payments while you are on active duty. After you separate at 30 or so, the coverage begins again with the same payments you were approved for at 26. Payments increase as you age. But, if I am injured at some point during my 4-year commitment, I will not get disability insurance. If I am not able to be a dentist afterwards because of that injury, I am just out of luck. I do a lot of wood working so cutting off a finger/injuring my hand is a possibility. If I had started the process sooner with Standard, I would have coverage right now. The Air Force has some coverage I think but it isn’t enough to be a much help at all.

I graduated from Iowa on May 26, 2017. I was notified in January that I received my top choice for AEGD location (Bellevue, Nebraska) which is near family so my wife and I were very happy about that. We were expecting our second child in August so we wanted to be somewhat close to our parents so they could help a little after the baby came. We were looking for a house to rent for a few weeks and found one we really liked that had been posted a few minutes earlier. We immediately filled out the online application because we liked the size, neighborhood, proximity to the clinic etc. It turns out four other people filled out the application just after we did so we were first in line. Luckily, my dad was in Omaha on business the following day so we scheduled a showing so he could stop by and look; I wasn’t going to sign a lease without someone I trust seeing it. Everything looked good so we signed the lease which started on May 5th.
Leading up to graduation, I also had to plan my move to Bellevue with the Air Force. It was extremely complicated and frustrating and I have forgotten a lot of the specifics about it. I am about to plan my move to my next base in the next few weeks so I will be able to add that information in after I remind myself how it all works.

The movers came one day in mid-May and packed all of our stuff up and loaded it onto their truck. Since we were only moving 3.5 hours away, we were able to have a door to door move. Usually, movers will pack up your stuff and load it on a moving truck. From there it would be taken to another larger truck or shipping container and added to the stuff from someone else who is moving. It would eventually be delivered a few weeks later. I took the next day off from school and drove to Bellevue that night to meet the movers the next morning. They moved everything in to the house in a couple of hours and I started unpacking before heading back to Iowa City.

We moved the rest of our stuff and ourselves to Bellevue the day after I graduated. Then it was time to prepare for COT. I ran every day to get ready for the PT test. Monday, Wednesday, Friday I would run 1.5 miles (the distance ran for the test), and on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday I followed 10K training app. At COT, you will run a 5K and another day somewhere around 4 miles so I wanted to be prepared for that.

Leading up to COT, I received emails with instructions about booking flights and all of that. There is a number to call and someone walks you through all of that so you just have to show up for your flight.

Alabama is hot and so. Freaking. humid. I will touch on some of the big things that I had the most questions about but I’m not going to go in to the day to day detail because a big part of COT is the experience.

COT starts on Monday with people trickling in throughout the day. The COT website gives specifics about when you need to be there and all of that. There is also a uniform list on that website. I would suggest buying everything for your uniform ahead of time if at all possible. Many people don’t so if you can’t you will be fine but it will make the first day a little less stressful. You will most likely be going to an AEGD-1 residency and you will be assigned a sponsor for the current class to answer questions for you and help you transition in to the residency and military. You will possibly get to the area well ahead of COT so I would recommend you ask your sponsor to help you buy your uniform. My sponsor offered to help and I’m glad he did. He took me to the base exchange (BX) and we went through the whole list. I have never had a uniform so he was a huge help. There were a few things they were out of at the BX that I had to buy at Maxwell and it was a disaster. The line for alterations wrapped around the store and took about an hour to get through. Everyone is running around and doesn’t know what to buy and it just wasn’t fun. Buy everything ahead of time if you can.

On the first Thursday after you arrive, you will have the initial PT test. We were weighed on Wednesday to make things move a little faster that morning. Wake up is 4:30am every day. You aren’t supposed to have your light on before that but no one really checks after the first couple of days. You and your roommate have to be out of your room by 4:40 so I would suggest setting a vibrating alarm for earlier than 4:30 so you both have time to get ready. I slept in my PT clothes and just brushed my teeth and was out the door so it doesn’t take that much time.

There is a gym in the center of the COT campus where you will go as a flight or squadron to do the waist measurement. After that, you will do the push-ups and sit-ups a few flights at a time on the basketball court outside of the gym. You and your flight-mates will count for each other with the MITs (military training instructors) walking around and watching. I saw some people get away with pretty bad form, not bending their arms to 90 degrees but others were caught by the staff. If a rep doesn’t count, they will repeat the last rep number that did count and tell you what to fix like, “go lower,” or “keep your hands on your shoulders,” etc. Make sure you look up instructions on YouTube for proper Air Force push-up and sit-up technique. Like I said, some people got away with bad form but I wouldn’t count on it.

From there you will walk down to the track for the 1.5 mile run. The track isn’t a traditional circle track that is 6 laps for a mile. It is 1.5 miles from start to finish. It is called the paperclip because it has large curves to loop around different directions to make it 1.5 miles. It sounds weird but I preferred it over a normal track which I find very boring to run on.

At the end, you will be given a paper to initial that you acknowledge the scores for each section and then it is back to the dorms to shower and head to breakfast.

One of the biggest questions I have heard is about PT failure and getting kicked out of COT. I can tell you it does happen. BUT, not everyone who fails is kicked out. If you fail by a certain percentage (like 15-20% below the minimum), then you will be sent home and have to come back another time. If you fail but are within that window, the thought is that you will be able to get in good enough shape by the third week to pass the final PT test. Our class shrunk from 300 to 283 because of PT failures so it is something to take seriously

COT overall was a very stressful time. You never have enough time to get anywhere, or to study your lectures and finish your additional duties. You will be standing at attention in polyester long sleeve ABUs in the hot Alabama sun and humidity with a bug on your face and sweat literally dripping off your knuckles on to the ground but be unable to move. You will inevitably do something wrong that makes an MTI yell at you. You will smile at the wrong time or forget to say, “Good morning/afternoon/evening, sir/ma’am.” But don’t get too upset. It is all just a strategy to take you out of your comfort zone and see how you react. For the most part, the staff are just normal people who have a job to do. As you progress in the class, you will gain more privileges like going off campus, then off base in your blues, then off base in civilian clothes. Once this starts to happen, the staff calms down a little and in smaller groups will act more like humans.

There are additional duties assigned to every person in a flight. Then one person in each position is selected as the group leader of that position. There is the dorm advisor that is kind of like and RA with the group position being like a hall director. There is also a technology position (basically to set up the computer in the flight room before lecture), the academic position (make sure people submit assignments on time and do well on the tests), flight officer in charge (FOIC – pronounced foe-ic who is the leader of the flight) and several others that I can’t remember. Some positions were harder than others but try to do your best at whatever you get.

Advice for COT: Read the OTSMAN (OTS manual) before going. Here is a PDF. It changes a little every year but this will be a good start. Learn the Airman’s Creed well ahead of time and be able to recite it because they will ask you to. Also learn the first verse of the Air Force Song. It is on YouTube. You will also have to sing that as a group. They won’t ask you to sing it alone. Also, be ready physically. I had to prepare well ahead of time to get to the point that I wanted to be for the PT test. I got an 83 on the initial test and a 93 on the final test. You will get in better shape while you are there with all the marching, only have 10 minutes to eat and limited time/options for snacks (I lost 15 pounds while I was there), but test yourself ahead of time with a mock test and be sure you can pass the PT test so it is one less thing to worry about.

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I’m Back

So, I took a couple years off but I am back.

I got busy with school and ended up kind of forgetting about this blog. I recently received several messaged from people saying they thought the blog helped them get in to dental school or get accepted for the HPSP scholarship so I decided it would be a good idea to write a new post with information about my D4 year and also my first year as an Air Force Dentist

I left off in my last post part way through the first semester of my third year. First semester was wrapped up with 10 weeks for pediatrics and operative, both of which were a lot of fun. I was nervous about working with kids but it went really well. There are professional assistants who assist during operative procedures because you can’t spend all morning doing one filling on a kid. I was able to do a few stainless-steel crowns, one pulpotomy and a lot of simple operative in pedo.

Second semester was superblock: 20 of the most intense weeks of dental school. You rotate through endo, perio, and pros and try to make it through unscathed.

Cases are referred to endo for evaluation from elsewhere in the school or private practice dentists. Many of the cases that come in are too hard for third year dental students and are sent to the endo residents. If the canal is too curved, if it is a second molar, or if it was previously endo treated we had to send those to the residents. I ended up doing 7-8 root canals I think; a couple molars, a few premolars and some anteriors. I’m not sure exactly because that was quite a while ago.

Perio was like perio in every dental school. Scaling and root planing. Over. And over. And over. I was able to assist a few perio surgeries but dental students rarely get to do any themselves. At Iowa, patients are first evaluated in the oral diagnosis clinic where a comprehensive exam is completed and they are treatment-planned. A quick perio eval is done and if they need perio treatment, they are referred to third year students in their perio rotation for a complete eval and treatment.

Pros was the reason this rotation was so tough. There is an entrance test and midterm which were pretty difficult. If you fail these tests you get one make up test. If you fail that, you are held back a year. That happens to a couple people every year. There are a certain number of crowns, dentures and partial dentures you have to do and you have to do all of the lab work except for final processing.

4th year was a huge improvement from 3rd. You are kind of your own private practice. You are assigned comprehensive patients who you evaluate and treatment plan and then try to get as much work done as you can through the year. The full-time faculty during the 4th year are great. Most of the time in the clinic you will be staffed by adjunct dentists who come in 1-2 days per week when they are not working at their private practice.

That is all I am going to say for now to catch up with the dental school stuff. The most interesting information is from COT (commissioned officer training) and my time in the AEGD-1.

There is a lot to fill you in on…

My wife and I had a son on April 7, 2015. We named him James Martin. He was 9lbs 4oz and 21.5 inches long. He is happy and healthy and getting to know him and learning how to be a father has been absolutely great.

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Here he is at 3 or 4 days old.

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And here he is almost 5 months old. Just chillin’ on a walk with mom.

I started endodontics two days after my son was born. I actually had to leave the hospital, go to class and then come back right after to bring my wife and son home. Endo was pretty intense and they didn’t really tolerate missing class. I’m sure in my situation I could have but missing the first day would have really put me behind. Overall, I think I learned more in endo and had a better practical knowledge of the information than most of the other classes I have taken so far. It was really tough and stressful at times. They gave us a manual with basically everything we need to know and they expected you to have the entire thing memorized. If they asked you a question and you didn’t know, they would make you look it up and come back to ask you later. And if you ask them a question that was in the textbook or the manual, they wouldn’t answer because we could find it ourselves. This was annoying at the time and added to the stress of the simulation clinic sessions but it made me really learn the material. We had weekly quizzes, sometimes more than one per week, so we were constantly studying for it. By the time the final came around, there wasn’t much studying that was needed.

We also had our intro to implants course at the end of the year. We learned about the different types of implants, we modified dentures that we had made the previous year to become implant-retained dentures. We also got some practice making a surgical guide for implant placement. The class didn’t take up too much of our time after hours really.

Another class worth mentioning was removable pros. In this class we learned all about designing removable partial dentures. I didn’t enjoy the class itself all that much but the material was interesting. It is like a puzzle when you’re trying to figure out what clasps to use, what major and minor connectors, and which teeth to use for support. We also learned the tooth modifications needed for removable partial dentures.

Now we can fast-forward to third year. Our third year is mostly clinic based. The year is split up into two halves. One half is called superblock and the other is clinical rotations. In superblock, you balance your time between endo, perio, and pros. This is a pretty intense time in your dental school career. Endo and perio, you are treating patients and scheduling out their treatment as it takes multiple appointments to finish one root canal or a scaling a root planning (which is all you do in perio except for the occasional assisting a graduate student or faculty in a surgery). In pros, you are scheduled patients to fill your requirements (a certain number of crowns, an implant patients, a certain number of full and partial dentures) and you are responsible for treatment planning and scheduling everything for this patient. It is a ton of paperwork and just as much clinical and lab work. If people fail superblock, it is usually because of pros. Half the class starts the year in superblock and the other half starts with the other clinical rotations. I have superblock second semester, and I’m starting in the oral surgery rotation. This rotation is 5 weeks and consists mostly of pulling teeth. We have to get 25 teeth pulled and two IV sedations but from what I’ve been told, people usually end up with 50-70 teeth. It could be one, two, or 32 teeth. If you do a full mouth extraction, there is also usually alveoloplasty involved (recontouring the alveolar ridge for dentures). We lay flaps for teeth that can’t be pulled easily and have the opportunity to use a handpiece to remove bone around teeth to remove them and place sutures after the surgery is done. It’s a lot of fun once you get past being scared since you have never done anything like this before.

My next rotation will be oral diagnosis and radiology for 5 weeks. Every new patient that comes to the school needs to be screened and treatment planned. That happens in oral diagnosis. Any radiographs that are needed are made and interpreted in radiology.

From there I will go to operative and pediatrics for 10 weeks. Operative is basically the same thing I did last year but with much more extensive restorations that are much closer to the pulp. I’m really looking forward to this rotation. The pediatrics rotation I’m not looking forward to all that much. I don’t have much experience dealing with little kids much less with other people’s kids. I have heard that patient management is tough. In this rotation, you are given professional pediatric assistants though, so that should help. Hopefully it will turn out to be fun. This rotation will take me into February and then I will start superblock.

It’s Been Awhile…

Sorry for the long absence. I got extremely busy and then the blog kind of got put on the back burner.

There is a lot to fill you in on. My wife and I are expecting a baby in mid April which is really exciting. My wife and the baby are doing great. There haven’t been any problems and overall the pregnancy has gone smoothly. Once the baby is here, my wife, who teaches fourth grade now, will stay home full time. Fortunately, the due date lines up perfectly for maternity leave to go through the end of the school year so she won’t have to go back to teach at the end of the year which works out well. (It’s almost like we planned it or something).

The reason it will work for us for my wife to stay home with the baby is mostly due to the Health Professions Scholarship. The scholarship comes to around $28,000 per year in addition to covering tuition, books and my health insurance. This plus what we have saved will get us through the next two and a half years.

I took the National Dental Boards Part 1 on December 29. Fortunately I passed on my first attempt. I was dreading having to continue studying to retake the test over spring break. In terms of studying, I started casually in early November going through the Dental Boards Mastery app. It was developed by students at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and it is pretty great. It’s basically the Dental Decks in your pocket. The app keeps track of what you get right and wrong, which subjects to work on and different categories within the subjects that you are weakest. It also gives detailed explanations of the answers for each question. The app is really convenient because you can get through a handful on the bus or between classes without having to carry around a bunch of flashcards from the decks. It also has other great information like important terms and mnemonics which are really helpful. I went through the entire app. I liked that I could gauge my progress as I studied. Most of my class used it, some people only used this app. We all really liked it.

In addition to the app, I used a First Aid book from 2009. I think it was the second edition. This book is good to fill in the gaps that you don’t remember from the basic science classes and refresh what you did learn. I used First Aid for all of the subjects except anatomy. I did not like how this section was presented. It didn’t really fit with my learning style. For the anatomy section, I used the notes from the anatomy class we had as D1s. This worked for me because the professor for this class really geared it toward dental students. We had two units over general anatomy and the rest of the class was just head and neck. I skipped the first two units and then went through everything from the rest of the class. I focused most of my time on this section since the questions here can be very detailed. I’m glad I didn’t waste my time on general anatomy; I only had two or three questions from that material.

I also used released exams to gauge my progress. I bought a CD of released exams from an upperclassman and my school provided some as well.
I really buckled down to study after Thanksgiving. This was difficult while simultaneously studying for finals. I didn’t enjoy the second half of November or any of December too much. We finished up finals week on December 19 and then it was all day everyday devoted to boards. My wife and I went home for Christmas early on the 24th and then came back late on the 26th. I took two sets of released exams (I think they were from 2004 and 2009, each had 200 questions; the actual test is 400) and simulated a test for myself to see if I needed to study at home over Christmas. I got an 80% on this practice test. Part 1 boards are scored on an adjusted scale. So according to many sources, you need somewhere around a 65% to get a passing score of 75. I’m glad I tested myself so that I knew I could take some time off and relax over Christmas. According to the 1998 conversion chart an 80% is a score of around 92 or something like that. I’m not sure if that chart is still applicable but it definitely gave me confidence. Once we got back, I used the 27th and 28th to review everything and then took the test on the 29th. It was a long day (7 hours) and some of the questions were kind of obscure but for the most part, it seemed like a manageable test. The test is split up into two sections each with 200 questions. I went through each section and put answers for everything even if I wasn’t sure and then I went back through the section again to check my answers. I finished each section with about a half an hour to spare. Overall I felt somewhat confident when I was done. Then came the waiting game.

I think Part 1 boards are curved based on the group that takes the test during a certain time period. That means that you don’t get your score right away like the DAT even though you take the test on a computer. On Friday January 16th, my wife and I went home for a baby shower. This was the only time that worked for us since we both had Monday off for Martin Luther King day. The problem with this was the results from boards came on Saturday the 17th. We had an appointment in our home town Monday morning to have a family friend look at our car so I was stuck waiting all of Saturday, all of Sunday, and most of the morning on Monday and then we had a five hour drive back before I could get my results. It was torture to wait all weekend after so many people in my class were putting “Passed!” on Facebook. I considered driving back to our apartment Sunday morning and then returning Sunday night but that wouldn’t have changed whether I passed or not so I begrudgingly decided against it.

First semester went well. We started treating operative and preventive patients which is pretty awesome. (Preventive patients are just prophy recalls) A lot of schools don’t have D2s treat patients but we have the opportunity to with several checks along the way by faculty. We actually saw three patients last year a D1s for prophy appointments. Didactic courses also went well. We had fixed prosthodontics lab and lecture, operative lecture, growth and development, oral pathology, human pathology, microbiology, anesthesia and pain control, experiential learning, and periodontics (I think that’s everything). I ended up doing well in all the classes even with studying for boards over finals which I was pretty happy about.

As for second semester, we have fixed pros 2 that is ending soon and will be replaced by removable partial denture prosthodontics. We are also taking orthodontics lecture and lab, esthetic dentistry, basic pharmacology, pediatric dentistry, oral radiology, and we are continuing experiential learning, operative, and oral pathology, as well as seeing patients most Tuesdays in either operative or preventive clinics. We will be starting anesthesia and pain control 2 in March and Endodontics lab and lecture in April. They keep us pretty busy but it is going well. I will post some pictures below of some restorations I have done this year in the sim clinic.

I think that pretty much covers everything that has happened so far this year. I’m hoping to keep things up to date from now on.

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With this restoration, I took the picture before I put in the proximal boxes on the mesial and distal to take care of the unsupported enamel. These teeth have simulated caries in them. You normally would not leave that ML cusp unsupported like that but the tooth had more caries than it should have so I had to just follow the simulation. I also cleaned up the distal of that cusp before restoring with dispersalloy.

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I don’t have a before picture but this was a simulated class IV. We were practicing with different opacities of material to match a real tooth. It looks a little too translucent because the adjacent teeth are solid plastic but it was actually correct.

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This restoration was a 3 surface composite. The picture of the prep is after I built up the mesial and distal contacts and then removed the matrices to finish.

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This is from fixed pros II. We did a prep for an all ceramic crown in fixed pros I, scanned it with Cerec and had the crowns milled in the lab at school. We just got them back today to do the external characterization. The instructors showed us a finished crown to mimic since we couldn’t copy the adjacent teeth. I also added in a few craze lines for fun.

Quick Grade Update

Hey everyone,
Just a quick update here. The final grades were just released. I ended up doing well overall. I don’t want to publish too many specifics here but I’m pretty happy with where I am right now. I don’t know what my class rank is but it doesn’t matter much at this point. It will change a lot between now and after 3rd year when I will need to report it for applying for the Air Force AEGD-1.
That’s it for now. Good luck to those taking the DAT and applying this summer!

Health Professions Scholarship Update

It’s finally official. I am now 2nd Lieutenant DentalStudentDDS. I was sworn in on March 4th, the day before my 23rd birthday. It was surprisingly quick. I walked from anatomy class at the medical school to the ROTC building that is about two blocks away. I took my oath in about 30 seconds and that was it. I was in.

Since I’m in the three year scholarship program, my benefits start on the first day of class my second year which is August 25th. Here is a breakdown of the pay:

Tuition and fees are paid directly to the university

Monthly stipend: $2,122.00 for 10.5 months ($22,281 which is taxable)

Base Pay during the annual 45-day active duty tour: $4,242.48 (taxable)

Basic Allowance for subsistence during the 45-day active duty tour: $359.81 (nontaxable)

Basic Allowance for housing during the 45-day active duty tour: $1,273.95 (nontaxable)

Total: $28,157.24

I’m also fortunate that health insurance is required at my school. Since it is, I will be reimbursed for that cost which is $130 per month. Some schools don’t require it so it wouldn’t be reimbursed in that case. I will also be reimbursed for books and some other school related expenses.

Besides starting benefits in August, not much will change for quite some time with this scholarship. The 45-day active duty tour doesn’t change anything. I stay in school and basically just can’t leave the country. I will be going to Commissioned Officer Training in July after I graduate in 2017. From there, I hope to go on to an AEGD-1 with the Air Force before beginning my 3-year repayment. Everyone with this scholarship has to apply for an AEGD (Advanced Education in General Dentistry), a residency where you get extra training in all of the specialties. You don’t have to accept if you are offered a position, you just have to apply. From what I have heard, the scope of your practice while in the military is really limited if you do not do the residency. Obviously I can’t say first hand if this is true but I think the extra training would really benefit my future practice regardless.

That’s about all I have for this update. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

One Year Down

Well, I’m back. Sorry it has been so incredibly long since my last post. Second semester was extremely busy.

So it’s official. I’ve finished my first year of dental school. We took our last final on June 20th and we are on summer break until August 25th. I guess I should insert the obligatory “1/4th a dentist” comment here. A lot happened over the last several months. I’ll give the sparknote version here.

We had anatomy and histology classes that were kind of combined into one super class we called Gristo (Gross anatomy + histo). The tests were taken at the same time but the grades were split up at the end. Anatomy was tough. It was definitely more detail oriented than I was used to. Luckily the professors for these classes were fantastic. They really engaged us in the material and were really willing to adjust the class as we went when something didn’t work or if something really worked well. We finished these classes up in May making for a very intense week. We had a lecture test in operative the Friday before and then Monday we had cumulative lab tests in anatomy and histology and then cumulative lecture tests in both on Wednesday. That week is a blur. We capped it off with our white coat ceremony Friday night of that week. This ceremony is basically a symbolic rite of passage where we gain clinical privileges. After that week, we felt that we really earned those white coats.

Another class we had was occlusion. In the lab portion of this class, we made a set of complete dentures to fit our mannequins in the sim clinic. This class was challenging but once we got the hang of the procedures and techniques, it could be fun sometimes depending on the day and whether or not someone accidentally walked off with your mixing bowl and spatula in the bench lab. Below is a picture in the middle of setting the denture teeth and another of the final dentures I turned in. We finished them up and polished them after they came back from the lab.

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We finished up Operative in June. This class was one of my favorites. I love working with my hands. I’ve carved and used small rotary instruments for years so the lab aspect was just fun for me. The lab practicals went really well and my skills improved substantially throughout the class. Here is a picture of an amalgam restoration of a simulated buccal cusp fracture of a mandibular second premolar, before final polishing. I was pretty happy with how it turned out. The picture quality isn’t that great here but you get the idea.

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I can’t forget about Anesthesia. This was just a short 1 credit course that we didn’t start until around April. It went over the general techniques of the injections, the types of anesthetics, anatomy, and things like that. This class also had the dreaded “stab lab” where we took turns injecting each other with anesthetic. Everyone got nine shots on one side of their mouth. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds but it also wasn’t pleasant. We had a resident as an instructor for our group. He really walked us through everything so there wasn’t anything to worry about. We all had to have our BP taken before we could be injected to make sure we were all healthy. There were some very high BPs that morning. Everyone was a little nervous. Of course right after that was a lunch and learn that served Chick-fil-a. It was almost hard to enjoy the chicken sandwich with half of my face and tongue numb but I managed without too much cheek and tongue biting.

We had preventive dentistry where we have our first patient experiences. We start by working on one another doing cleanings and charting. Then in May we had our first two patient experiences. We could either have random recall patients from the patient pool or we could bring in family members. I had a random patient and a family member. Both appointments went well. Working with patients really solidified in my mind that I’m joining the right profession.

At the beginning of May we started oral radiology 1. It was just a general overview of anatomy landmarks and procedures. We did get to have patient contact at the end of the class in June. We were split into groups and assigned a certain morning where we would make all of the radiographs needed for that morning. It was pretty fun. Before that we had to practice placing the digital receptor on each other so we could remember how uncomfortable it is when we place them in patients. We also practiced making radiographs of skulls to make sure we were getting the placement right.

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Well, that is about all I have to talk about for classes at the moment. I’m waiting for my last two grades to be posted online. The deadline is July 9th but all but two are up there now. I’m pretty confident that I know my grades in these two courses so I can say that I’m happy with how the semester went. Lets hope I don’t forget it all before this fall. My wife and I are taking the summer off for some much needed relaxation. There are several beaches near by where we have already spent several days canoeing, reading, and fishing. I have the fairly painful sunburn to prove it. Other than that, I’m doing some work for my grandpa cleaning and recovering antique binoculars that he collects and restores for some extra money. (This is actually good practice for improving dexterity I’ve found). I’m also casually reviewing some things from the school year like dental anatomy and things like that so it stays fresh.

That’s all for now. I hope everyone is enjoying the summer!