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 Program

Alright, so here is the big news of the semester…I found out shortly after Thanksgiving that I was accepted to the 3 year Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program! For those of you who don’t know, the HPSP is a deal where I will get the next three years of dental school paid for (tuition and fees) and I will be given a generous living stipend in exchange for serving as a dentist in the Air Force for three years after graduating. I will also be able to apply to stay for a fourth year and have 72% of my first year paid back. I couldn’t believe it when I found out. I’ve always wanted to join the military and now I’m getting the chance.

There was a slight problem, though. Originally when I was applying for the scholarship, I was under the impression that I would not hear about a selection until around January or February. I was over the weight requirement at the beginning of the school year (a lot of sitting around and studying can do that) and I had made a plan to get in shape based on January being the deadline. After hearing that I was accepted and would need to pass the physical in December, my diet was accelerated more than I would have liked. Some days consisted of around 900 calories and an hour on a bike at the gym. Not fun during finals week, let me tell you. Well, all in all, I lost 38 pounds, quite a bit of that in the past two months, and easily passed my physical. According to my recruiter, I will be sworn in sometime in the next few weeks and become a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. I won’t have much for duties throughout the rest of my time at dental school. After graduating I will go to Commissioned Officer Training in Alabama for five weeks, then I will be promoted to Captain and then stationed on a base to serve as a dentist to military members and their families.

Thanks for reading and happy studying!