Friday, June 27, 2014

typical day of a dental student ft Sharon

I get a lot of questions asking what my typical day as a dental student is like! I thought I’d recruit my dental school friend Sharon to tell me about her day. I’ve featured Sharon on the blog before: we discussed prioritizing health & fitness as a dental student and her military scholarship with the Air Force. Here’s her typical day as a dental student at Penn Dental Medicine (aka our newly minted “PDM”). Enjoy! –Y.

0650 - Alarm goes off. I was so tired last night I passed out on my futon...before I fed my fish (I gave them extra this morning to make up for it and apologized profusely to them).

0800 - Even though I don’t have clinic until 10, I wake up early so I can watch an episode of Cake Boss, and also so I can go study for National Boards Part 1. (Y: I wrote about our NBDE preppin’ here! I also went to grab coffee and ran into Sharon so I snapped this picture.)

2014-06-25 09.03.54 (800x600)

0950 - Head into clinic. Before I go in I review my scheduled patient's chart, medical history, X-rays, and what has been done in the last few visits. I want to know who my patient is before I meet them. I want to understand what they need and not just quickly glance over their chart while they are sitting in the chair waiting for you. Preparation is key!

1020 - After calling and checking the waiting room, my patient unfortunately doesn’t show. It is okay since some of my classmates need chairs. I now have time to get all my paperwork up to date.

1230 - Leave clinic for lunch. Since I didn’t have any patients I help those who were running late clean up their chairs.

1300 - Back to clinic! I didn’t have any patients scheduled for the afternoon, but as I was walking around one of the seniors asked me to start with her patient. Saweet! I am about to do my first final impression for a crown. I read and did some of the steps in lab, how hard could this be? But first, time to hunt down a chair...

photo 1 (600x800)

1320 - Chair found! I pull up the patient’s chart and get up to speed on the patient. I then bring the patient back and begin the process of a final impression. Sounds easy, but holy smokes there is a lot involved. Two gingival retraction cords, medium and light body impression material, hunting down custom impression trays, removing the provisional, bite registration, the list goes on! It is a fun learning experience and the next thing I know it's 5:00 (luckily we finish at 4:40, just enough time to write a clinical note, clean the station, return materials, and head out for the day).

photo 2 (600x800)

1700 - Meet my friend for dinner. He was passing through town, so we catch up over some much deserved burgers.

1800-2000 - GYM TIME! Thank goodness I ate a burger since today's workout involved squats. Saying I love the gym is an understatement. 

photo (1) (533x800)

2100-2300 - Shower, pack my bag for tomorrow, and sit down to study for my final tomorrow morning. It's a good thing this class is pass/fail, since I am pretty much ready for bed at this point! No matter how much material I haven't covered, I always am in bed by 11. Sleep is important for recovery, so I make sure I do not deprive my body of those precious hours.


  1. I hadn't really thought much about what it would be like to be a dental student. It sounds kind of intense. Good luck with everything.

    Anita Mas |

  2. This was so fun to read! I'm applying to dental school this cycle, so I love having an idea of what to expect in the coming years. Love your blog, keep up the great work!

    1. Thank you so much! Best of luck with the application process PJ!

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