Friday, October 31, 2014

NYC: the cronut.

We had a chance to breathe last weekend with no exams in the horizon. Lan and I took off to NYC where we finally got to try those famous CRONUTS and I got to see the 9/11 memorial.

I especially loved the High Line! I love both the idea and the execution. You could see train rails peeking out between the greenery.

The current cronut flavor was pumpkin chai. Was it worth waiting in line for an hour in the freezing cold 50 degrees? Heck yes. Our photos after getting the cronut have us all red-eyed and frozen-smiled...

Perfect getaway for the weekend. I'm really starting to see NYC as a potential residency spot. Good news: since New York requires dentists to complete a year of residency before practicing, there are tons of spots. If I do make it out here, you'll probably find me outside Dominique Ansel's bakery every Saturday morning at 8AM... wanna wait in line together?

I must say this about the cronut: what an excellent marketing success! The hype, the myth, the secret and the glamour (Je voudrais un croissant!) elevated this simple pastry into a legend. We're trying something similar in my clinic (psttt: and I wonder how much value is in the essence of things and how much in its halo.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

scary scenes from dental school (Happy Halloween!)

Now that Halloween is coming up, some creepy shots from my dental school life... or is it from a horror movie?

I decided to mount a tooth I was practicing a root canal on... and decided it was a bad idea for more reasons than one. How creepy is this? Every time I walked back into the operatory I had to take a deep breath.

Don't let this happen... or this mannequin might haunt you for all of your dental school days.

and this from our oral surgery lecture:

Hope everyone has a happy Halloween!!! Hope your Halloween is trick-less and pumpkin-plenty! It's the weirdest thing, I crave those candy corn bites during off-Halloween season (when they are nearly impossible to find!) but when October comes around I have no desire for them at all.

Monday, October 27, 2014

the ebola virus

The E-word has finally reached Penn. We received a university-wide email informing us that Penn is one of the hospitals prepared to deal with the Ebola outbreak. 

We always go through a medical history update at every appointment. It's been added a few more questions including: have you traveled outside the U.S. in the past 30 days? And a follow-up question: where? Was it Sierra Leone or Liberia or Guinea? There's another question that follows: have you come in contact with an Ebola-affected person? 

Because EBV spreads through direct contact and body fluids (saliva and blood!) dentists are at an especially high risk for exposure. Saliva is kind of the name of our game. In keeping up with dentists' concerns, ADA has released a guideline statement on dealing with Ebola-stricken patients.
I like that we use personal protective equipments regularly. Sometimes we see old clinical pictures of patients and cringe at dentists' bare hands. They did not use gloves & practiced with skin-to-skin contact. Wearing gloves, face mask and glasses just comes naturally for us: I do feel naked without my PPE.

If you've read The Hot Zone, you might have vowed to stay locked inside until all this goes away. Unfortunately CDC just confirmed yet another Ebola patient in NYC this week... not to mention it is all over the news spilling onto political debates. I like that it's on everyone's minds so we are extra careful with the protective gears but please let's not dress like this for Halloween... I don't think that even works.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

the case against scrubs

After a painful two week period of throwing out everything, my closet feels more abundant and I feel more in control. Looking at my old clothes made me reflect on how my personal style has changed over the years. Lately I've been focusing on dressing professionally- but with a twist of my own style. I attended a professional wardrobe workshop at Loft and loved these details like belting a comfy sweater dress and adding statement necklace with button-up's.

One problem? I wear scrubs five days out of seven. Sometimes I'll even go work out in my scrubs... biking in neon blue doubles as a safety precaution.

I loved this post by Chris Bailey where he experiments with clothes that affect his productivity. You should go read it (and his entire year of productivity), but these points I loved:
1. To pick the most productive clothes to wear, decide on what will make you the most productive: being more confident, or being more relaxed. Then wear clothes that make you feel that way.
To me, this means that even sweatpants and a T_shirt can be your perfect outfit if feeling relaxed is the goal, if this creates the mindset you want to enter.
5. You can compartmentalize your work life by changing your clothes when you get home. 
Dress for the role you want. So if you want to signal (even to yourself) that work is over, dress up different from you do at work, so you can slip into that mindset- naturally. 

So how do I feel about wearing scrubs? We don't really have an option since scrubs just became mandatory at Penn. I don't like it... because I don't feel dressed up enough. But it's more because I want to practice dressing up. And associate this dressed-up state with being ready for work. I need to get some misfitting blouses and clashing patterns under my belt to develop my own professional style. I like to think Mary Orton did not start out looking the way she does on The Class Cubicle. I want my experimental period to be in dental school, not the first few months of my job. 

On a related note, I finally figured out how they chose our class scrubs color: our bright neon lockers is a perfect color match!!!

Have you ever had a dentist who wore scrubs? What are your thoughts on a mandatory scrubs policy?   For you lucky ones who don't wear daily scrubs, what is your favorite professional outfit? Mine has to be a short-sleeve dress, belted and with dangly earrings.

The $4200 toothbrush from Reinast

Have you heard of this new "luxury toothbrush" from Reinast? I saw this little clip in Time.

Unless you have perfected the modified Bass technique, I still recommend electronic toothbrushes, Sonicare or Oral-B, for a fraction of this cost, thank you very much. Unless the point of this toothbrush is not actually oral hygiene and I've missed the point entirely...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

wanderlust externships

At Penn dental, fourth year dental students are required to go on 4-week externships at other hospitals. Many of them are domestic (Alaska? Brooklyn? North Carolina?) but some are international. We just had an info session about dental externships yesterday and I'm getting so excited about the possibitilies. Traveling! Learning! Airplanes and new cities!!!

Part of me wants to pick a hospital based on what I want to learn, areas of learning I want to supplement. By the time I leave, I'll be a fourth year counting down the months until graduation!!! So I need to learn to do X and Y and get ready for the real world... but another part of me wants to pick the most exotic, unexpected place and go on an adventure. 

The choices are both good and good. Maybe I just like playing with the possibilities and get to have two daydreams. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The final post from Dave: dental interviews

Okay ladies & gents, I have the very last post from Dave ready for you guys! I actually gave my first tour for the future Penn dentals last week & remembered how nervous/excited/unbelievable I felt. Best of luck to everyone going through the 2014-2015 AADSAS cycle right now.

Check out the entire Pre-dent advice series from Dave:
1. The basic application checklist 
2. DAT study material tips
3. DAT test day & interpreting your DAT score 
4. Applying through AADSAS  

  • Travel to the Interview: If you apply early in summer (June or July), you will have some time to prepare for interviews, which start in September and August for most schools. If you apply later (in the fall), dental schools may call and offer you an interview immediately. Here are some things to think about:
+Requesting time off: Interviews may not be on a weekend, so prepare to miss class/work
  • Money: Interviews are not paid trips for dental school, so prepare to pay for road trips and/or flights, hotels, and related expenses. Try to schedule interviews in the same city close together. Find friends, alumni, or family to stay with. Try to plan some fun and sightseeing in your trips.
  • Clothing: Both women and men will need to purchase professional interview wares…usually a new suit or tailoring will be part of your investment. Avoid funeral black! You will also be adding a briefcase, attaché, or matching bag to the outfit. If it will be cold, you will be adding a coat. Get a suit holder or travel bag for the transport. Have a belt to match your shoes. If you want to get creative, your shirt/tie will be the place – but not too crazy, as most dental schools are conservative environments.
  • Behavior: These may be funny examples, but learn how to give a proper handshake, unbutton a suit before sitting down, and (for the ladies) how to discreetly change into flats. There are many more behaviors you will need for the professional setting, which you should start researching in advance!
  • Interviewing skills: Using the school’s website, student doctor network, and advice from friends who have attended the interview day, you will have to research and prepare for each school’s interview. Some schools have high stress interviews, others low stress. Some interviews are in a small group format. Some interviews have dexterity tests. Prepare for this beforehand! I suggest having a thorough knowledge of each school, current events in dentistry in general, and questions ready to ask your interviewer. Practice with a friend and prepare some answers to common questions without being scripted. Preparation is key!

Whew! You have made it this far! Best of luck interviewing, waiting, and choosing a school. The process may seem expensive and stressful now, but remember that dentistry is an extremely rewarding career. There will be many more milestones to celebrate – Yesle’s blog does a good job covering them. Congrats on applying and welcome to the profession.

I wish all pre-dents out there the best of luck! Feel free to reach out with any questions!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

evening clinics

Quick post update before going to be tonight, this will be super short so I can sleep soon! I've gotten into this awful habit of sleeping late, waking up late. Sometimes days feel too long when I have both classes and patients, so I've been snoozing my way through the 8AM classes- oops!

I did my first evening clinic session last week! A patient wanted to finish their treatment for a special event coming up so I had them stay beyond our usual 5PM deadline. A friend brought me some cookies that afternoon so I took a mini break eating these amazing oatmeal toffee cookies... and after. Actually it was like my patient happened to be sandwiched between my two cookie-eating sessions.

Can you see the dark windows outside? It was past 7PM when I wrapped up and left. Evening sessions are optional for us third year dental students... but I kind of liked it! It's a lot more quiet & getting to work with different faculty can be interesting. Everyone is great at something and it's fun seeing different teaching styles and expert knowledge.

Of course I got home to this mess. I've been going through a MAJOR closet overhaul. Looking at this picture I'm realizing how much of my stuff is bright and patterned. I started listening to this great podcast called The Wardrobe Code. Nicole gives great advice such as: buy the best shoes you can afford and shop in your own closet by putting away some pieces regularly. Naturally I was inspired to edit my own wardrobe one impulsive evening. It's been frustrating at times but so eye-opening. Oh and can you spot something cute and furry in this picture?

The in-progress phase is the messiest. But I'm lucky that Penn has a mandatory scrubs policy because I don't think I wore anything other than scrubs + PJ's for a whole week. It was scrubs, pajamas, and repeat.

About evening clinic though- I keep thinking about how regular business hours don't work for most people. When I was working, I had to schedule my dentist appointments at 7AM. I could open a practice that's open 6AM-10AM & 6PM-10PM. That's a solid eight hours & I could be a free person during the day. Now if I can only stop yawning as soon as 9PM hits...

Saturday, October 4, 2014

dentists/dental students: clinic management help?

If I had been mildly panicking about my points dipping below average, I am now solidly below average. But that minor detail aside, I figured out why my clinic life feels so messy. It's the patient managing portion. The entire process isn't linear and it is different for each patient.

When a patient first checks in, we have a "data collection visit" where we gather up all the information about the patient: perio probings for gum health, existing radiographs, medical history, dental history, oral health hygiene, and so on. Depending on the patient's current dental state, we may need to do a prophylaxis cleaning... or an entire reconstruction including extraction and denture designing. So the process before starting any treatment ranges from a simple one hour visit to a drawn-out sequence of multiple visits (schedule weaved in between other patients who may also need extensive visits). 

Would you agree that recognizing the problem is the first step?

I am almost tempted to hire someone to be my clinic manager... applications accepted via email please. 


I know in real life ("in real life" is a phrase we use very often as students!) the clinic manager takes care of these details. But in dental school, students have to call the patients, figure out the schedules, and convince them to receive the treatment they need ($$$ and insurance is a whole another story). Those of you who are dental students and successful graduates, do you have tips on how to manage your patients? 

I use a Google Calendar and a paper agenda right now. I'm trying to schedule regular appointments (Tuesday 10AM's are for so-and-so) so we can establish a routine for both myself and the patient.