Saturday, November 30, 2013

A wisdom tooth by any other name

Talking about the four #7’s here, the third and last molar the wisdom teeth.

In Korean, we call the wisdom tooth 사랑니 which literally means “love teeth”. They erupt around the time you learn what love (or puppy love) is. I think.

I was curious to know what people call wisdom teeth in other languages, hoping these terms would be insightful. Someone already did the work for me! From this blog:


My favorites: in Greek- does getting wisdom teeth mean you are normal and a conformist? ;)

All of our dental school dentoforms have third molars. It’s funny because I naturally assume everyone has third molars (counting up, #16, 17, 18…) but many people get third molars extracted.

A side note about extracting wisdom teeth: about five million people get their wisdom teeth extracted every year. Third molar extractions have become more controversial- these surgeries sometimes cause nerve damage during the surgery. ADA’s official position is neither yay or nay but you don’t always need to get them removed.

Friday, November 29, 2013

thanksgiving 2013 gratitude's: I’m still here.

Happy Thanksgiving lovelies!


It’s been a while since I did these gratitude posts. But now that it’s Thanksgiving and all…

  • I started the morning off at the Ronald McDonald House. It was a shift without my usual evening crew and I got to meet other new volunteers. Of course we started talking about how we got started. A volunteer told me that he heard about the house after a family member spent a year in the hospital years ago. “And then after he passed away, I started volunteering.” This got me thinking, I am so lucky I have my health and so does my loved ones: family and friends.

PicMonkey Collage

  • This movie TiMer. Alex watched the movie upon persistent begging on my part and we got to discuss it. (Both leading men are from our favorite TV show Gossip Girl! Did that surprise you? It certainly did AQ and me.) I am thankful for quirky romantic movies with interesting endings because they give me so much insight. It’s how I react to these endings that help me evaluate what I think about romance, fate, and life “detours”. Please watch TiMer on Netflix and talk about it with me!!!


I must mention Oona is an orthodontist! There is a super cute scene with her and Mikey playing dentist/patient: “suction please!”

  • I’ve been working on my spirituality. I reach out to God when I need stuff and happily forget when everything’s going well. My friend told me that even my reaching out for God comes from God’s grace. I don’t believe that the purpose of my hardships have been to bring me closer to God but they have had that effect on me.
  • I am also thankful for this blog and you readers. I like the writing part. It’s a good way to spend my energy and channel my frustration sometimes. But I love the feedback part: opening my inbox- to receive emails from you guys saying hello, asking questions, or even sending me something random my post reminded you of- is the best.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend and beyond,

What was your favorite Thanksgiving dish this year?
What weird-ending movie has stuck out to you recently?

Monday, November 25, 2013

One bad grade away from winter '13

Today I was talking to Sharon about how I need new hobbies. We had a pretty chillaxing weekend and I felt so uneasy NOT having anything I NEEDED to do. "You have your blog!" said Sharon. I love writing and this is a wonderful therapeutic outlet for me.

Three days out from Thanksgiving! We had a pretty relaxing pre-Thanksgiving weekend (albeit a late Friday laboratory session for me) so Lan, Christie and I made macarons from scratch. It was super fun and all the more delicious because we made it with love.


So about the title: I find myself saying this prayer SO MUCH these days.


This semester I’ve learned to let go. To drop the rope and accept that there are some things (like my internal feelings) I can’t change. It’s how act in spite of those feelings that moves me closer to my values and my goal.

Like that I didn’t make an A in my Dentures class: I beat myself up for a crabby midterm grade when our final grades came out. I was so close. It was a matter of a few questions I probably guessed wrong on the midterm. I pouted for a day then got over it. Another B on my dental school transcript isn’t going to make a difference. If a friend came to me about this problem, what would I say?

When I find myself thinking rationally with so much clarity, I can take off my frustration-tinted glasses and see things for what they are. Then deal with them OR accept them.

And just go out and run.

run river

Good night! Today’s an early bed day for me.


Do you focus on grades in dental school as much as you did in undergraduates?
What do grades MEAN to you? (I took them to mean my self-worth and self-validation for all the “sacrifices” I was making…. now they are just grades, no elaborate stories attached.)

Friday, November 22, 2013

8k racin’ in my pajamas

This has been on my to-do list for a long time: run a silly race. This past weekend was the weekend to do it for the Philadelphia Marathon weekend. I remembered the amazing energy and excitement from last year’s cheering & signed up early in the semester.

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I convinced Kathy to run the Rothman 8k in a silly costume. First we wanted her to dress up as a banana and me as the sock money (since she was going to pace me anyway…) but because the banana went missing, we ended up being two PJ’d sock monkeys.

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Ended the eight kilometers with a high-five from Mayor Nutter at finish line! It may not be 13.1 miles but I was struggling especially at the final uphill. I hadn’t been running as much as I hoped. But considering I was running in fleece pajamas, I was happy with my time of 48:09.


It was a super fun and a great weekend overall! Later in the evening I even had a carb-loading dinner courtesy of next day’s marathon runners. ;)

I love running and every time I go out for a run I never regret it. I’ve been playing with the idea of training with a group. At the DC half I saw so many Team in Training runners and was so inspired to do something similar. I’ll be held accountable which is great on days where it’s laziness holding me back but on other days where I’m crammed with school, another stress factor adding to my anxiety.

Happy weekend! Next week is Thanksgiving!!! Which in my world means sweet potato pie.


Have you followed a training plan for a race? Have you trained with a group?
What was your experience like? I’d love to hear about it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

something new (but old): first alginate impression

We saw our first snow of the day yesterday morning. One exam and it’ll be Thanksgiving!

Dental school is going. We have classes and lab and assisting. I spend a lot of time in the library and a lot of time in the basement lab.

It’s been hard for me to keep that sense of wonder and gratitude when I’m caught up in everyday details of A’s and B’s and assignment due dates. Our clinic (that I’m assisting in) temporarily got moved upstairs and I’ve been walking in every week thinking, “are we really in this place?” We get sunlight! (until 4PM anyway…) I remembered I felt this way first few weeks of school about every chandelier and every portrait plaque around Penn dental. Now I just run by them angry and stressed.

Today in clinic I took alginate impressions on a patient. I had totally butchered X-raying a patient an hour ago and I wanted to something right. And I did. It’s so weird: I explained what I was doing to the patient, mixed up the alginate dough, and talked the patient through the procedure. Just like D3’s and D4’s who seem so confident and in charge, I almost watched myself from outside doing this entire thing. I’m still faking it but sometimes it’s almost me.

It reminded me of this TED talk by Amy Cuddy: your body language affects YOU. It can transform you. (Dr. Cuddy says: “Don’t fake it til you make it, fake it til you become it.”)


Things get better.

Same for preps we just started for our fixed prost class; my preps suck. There’s no sugar coating it. It takes me hours to make something that sort of looks like a prep… and my eyes and back hurt by this point.

My brother sent me this Adventure Time meme and I have to remind this. Who enjoys sucking at something? Nobody, duh, but I can’t be good at every single thing I try. I am just silly sometimes.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

teeth in my backpack

We have to collect teeth for our upcoming Endodontics class. To get them autoclaved and X-rayed, I was carrying them in my backpack until I could drop them off at school.

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Some of these teeth are so clean and perfect, I don’t know why they were extracted! Probably sad periodontitis or even unfortunate trauma?

Anyway, so ridiculous and funny to be carrying around a pill jar full of teeth in my bag. Only in dental school….

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

complete dentures done.

One class down! I can now fabricate dentures for an edentulous patient.

I like that we are learning practical skills. It’s crazy because we need to KNOW the stuff and also be able to DO the procedures. This is dental school: learning real-life skills.

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Dental school is SO VERY arts and craft-y. A big part of it is learning how to use tricks to make processes easier, which for dentures is about 80% working with Bunsen burners and different types of wax.


I think there needs to be a Michaels’ here so I can go pick up craft boxes and organizers for this new teeth-making hobby of mine. ;)

Monday, November 4, 2013

dentists in fine art: American Gothic

american-gothic-models“In 1930, Iowa artist Grant Wood painted American Gothic. The models he used for the painting were his sister Nan Wood Graham and his dentist, Byron McKeeby.”

Picture and quote source

Sunday, November 3, 2013

How to study anxiety, depression in animal models

We studied anxiety and sedative medications in Pharmacology and Dr. Hersh brought up an interesting point: we study these drugs in animal models. He talked about how rats are barred from food to create anxiety. WHAT. I had to look into this.

PD*26602368picture source

(Side note: these lectures are unintentionally funny because our professor mimics rats scurrying around on these medications or Michael J. Fox on Parkinson’s disease medication. He’s crawling on the floor and stuff. It’s that guilty laughter… )

How do you make your animal model anxious and/or depressed? (warning: this is kind of distressing for humans too)

- Pit of despair: used by Harry Harlow to isolate monkeys for as long as a year, to cause them to develop depression
- Use a strain of mice that is more depression-prone. (I didn’t know such a thing existed!)
- Separate mice from parents, get them bullied by bigger mice, make them chronically stressed by putting rats close- they’ll think they’re in lethal danger. (This blog post is pretty great)

And how do you measure how depressed your animal is? By exposing them to helpless situations and seeing how long they last before giving up. These helpless situations include:

- Forced swimming test.

It looks nothing like this picture. (source)swimmingRat-300x253

- Tail suspension test. (This was someone’s genius idea in 1985)… I just can’t include a picture of this here. They are too sad. Mice are literally suspended from a high point with taped tails.
- Open field test: taking advantage of the fact that mice do not like open spaces- exposing them to wide open space and observing their behavior.

I was getting sad reading about this… Then a cute guy in glasses brought over apple donuts and I felt a little bit better.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

braces progressin’- ONE YEAR!

Thank God for Hip City Veg and their amazing groothies. I have been there every single day this week! Their being on Penn campus makes me life exponentially better, I look forward to lunch all morning. ;)

I had an interesting conversation with a friend about veganism there. He mentioned that it’s important to emphasize that your quality of life does NOT have to decrease while converting to veganism. You can appeal to health benefits, animal cruelty, economic reasons, until the cows come home (I have been loving this phrase lately BTW) but until that person feels their enjoyment of food won’t decrease, you won’t convince her.2013-10-29 12.05.56

Same thing for me. I knew having braces was a good thing. Short term discomfort for a lifetime of perfect teeth. Seems easy enough… until it isn’t. I kept thinking: “what about DURING when I have my braces on? Do I just suffer for two plus something years?”

That’s when I needed to think about eating milkshakes and groothies and mushy apples so I could be happy NOW, instead always looking at “life after braces”.

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Dr. Malerman gave us a lecture on orthodontics & I got to thinking about how my life’s different with braces. (An upperclassman told me about his website when she was getting braces!- it’s really fun and has all these braces-friendly recipes)

I don’t eat salads in public.
I don’t eat chewy milk caramel candies.
I go to the restroom whenever I can.
I carry around floss in my purse.

These are little nuisances but my life isn’t awful with braces. And the positives:

I get to see my lovely orthodontist and hang around the Ortho department at Penn.
I now have had braces… in a profession where almost everyone’s been metal-faced.
I can actually use my incisors to eat! Instead of having to cut up pizzas because I couldn’t bite down on them. (Or worse, tear into them like a wolf or something.)

It’s been a year. If you look at my very FIRST picture, my bit is visibly open. And now?


I tried to find a picture of me smiling instead of taking one now… because I’m still in PJ’s with crazy hair. I bought these onesies at the Penn bookstore and DIED of adorableness. Matching onesies for me and little ones??? (LO???)