Dental school is harder than you think, but easier than you believe

The first mold of my own teeth. I still have issues that I’m working on, so be kind! The black thing is called an articulator. It is meant to simulate jaw movement. The darn thing is kind of a pain to work with too! but thankfully I’m getting better at it. 

This is just a look into the things I’ve been up to over the last 4-5 weeks of being in dental school! It is true when they say that dental school is a humbling experience, because there are so many things that you have seen before and are familiar with. But once you are the ones using your hands and trying to get something to the exact millimeter in depth, things are completely different. That’s why I’m saying that:

dental school is harder than you think, but easier than you believe

I’m so grateful that dentistry is like this, where details matter, and everyone struggles. The struggles are what makes us better as clinicians, and as professionals. We will soon have confidence in the things that we once did not, and we will know how to handle situations when things go wrong. And trust me, things go wrong all the time. I’m only a month in and I know this.
Another important lesson I’ve learned is that you’re never going to be the best, because there’s always going to be someone who just gets it. This goes with everything in life…but especially true in dental school. I’m beginning to see where my strengths and weaknesses lie. The good thing is that you learn really fast. And even now, my drilling doesn’t look completely destructive, after only a couple of rounds of practice. It still probably looks pretty awful, and I’m okay with that. I know I’m nowhere near the end yet, so I have time to get better!
In four years, I want to come back to this post and hopefully laugh at how terrible my hand skills were. I also hope I am proud of myself for getting through all the challenges, battles, and frustrations. There will be times where I’ll doubt my decision for choosing this path, but only because I am so weak and am relying on my own strength to get me through the day or the week. In that moment, I hope that I can remember that Jesus is the only way we can journey this road. I will quickly burn out if I don’t cling to His side at every moment of every day.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. {John 15:1-8}

We had to drill our names in the back of our Learn-A-Prep. This is back in the first week when I didn’t know that the length of the bur was 4mm so you could check the depth. I was so confused….

Manny, my new friend.

I think I’m at this desk approx 15 hours a week, at least. -.-

Yes these are my first molds. Took me 9 hrs to make all of this. One day I’ll look back and laugh [hopefully].

After cleaning up the molds for 3 hrs and then shaving them down. The next step was to make the angles..which I completely screwed up on! Hahah you’ll probably hear me saying that a LOT.

The left most tooth has not been drilled on yet. [Don’t worry the black marks are pencil marks]

The center tooth was prepped [drilled] by me, but filled with amalgam by my awesome faculty Dr. Z.

The right tooth was prepped and filled by me! It’s a work-in-progress 🙂

This is what we have been learning in our Restorative class. How to drill on teeth basically. The problem is that you have to make sure that the walls are at certain angles, the width and lengths are within a certain range to the millimeter, and the floor of the preparation is smooth. Now this all seems pretty doable..until you start drilling and get a little too crazy and completely drill right into the pulp..then we have a problem. You can’t really replace something once you’ve drilled….


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