You know I’m a student at Penn dental. I am also a patient here at two of their learning clinics. I have a student dentist at University of Pennsylvania who is a fourth year dental student. I also have my orthodontic resident who is also a student-in-training. While chatting with classmates who go to private practice for their dental needs, I thought about my experience as a patient at Penn dental school.
All in all, I’ve had a great experience. And here’s why:
- Let’s learn together. Because students recently learned these procedures and are perfecting them, they still have that excitement coming from new knowledge. I remember when I did not know anything about caries and my student dentist decided not to treat some early caries. I did not understand why. She explained to me how some caries are reversible if you catch them early enough. Ohhhh.
- A second opinion. Every student works closely with assigned faculty for each case. This means your treatment is thoroughly evaluated and considered by not one, but two trained professionals. If you have an assistant (like us first and second-year dental students), three sets of eyes will be looking over you and taking care of you. Plus, my dentist needs to do well because she needed to show good work to graduate!
- Honesty and integrity. If you are not a dentist, you don’t know if what your dentist is saying (or charging you for payment) is true and honest. Here at Penn dental, no problems there. The school is not here to make money. We are so thankful for each and every patient who comes through the doors to give us a learning opportunity. Not only does Penn do a good job estimating fees and treatment schedules, you will know that you are not being scammed on by your dentist. This, to me, is the biggest advantage.
The negatives, because they do exist:
- Time-consuming. School policy has us taking full mouth X-ray radiographs and complete medical history for every patient. Also at the initial visit, each patient has his impression taken for stone models and complete periodontal charting done. Moving forward with the treatments, because student needs approval from the faculty to check at every integral step, treatments do take longer than at private practices.
- Rotating door of dentists. This is also my personal problem. Dental school is four years so your student dentist will (eventually) receive her diploma and graduate! This means even if you absolutely LOVE your dentist, she will be gone after two years in clinic (I don’t know what I am going to do next year without my M!). Seniors will transfer patients to capable underclassmen, of course. But if you had a special bond with your dentist, you might shed a tear.
You can call Penn dental at 215-898-8965 to make an appointment OR contact your student dentist directly if you already have someone specific in mind. I’ve actually talked to a few non-dental friends about becoming my patients. One flat-out said, “are you any good?” You know, I talk about difficulties and messes in lab here on my blog, but I know I’ll be great come June. I’ll do the very best work I can and seek out help if I don’t think I can.