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.

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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!