Dental School: Year Two

May 26, 2015

Dental school takes four years to complete. Each year of dental school is somewhat different. Although schools may differ, having a general idea of what to expect each year can make it go smoother or at least help you feel better prepared.

You made it through year one and hopefully have adjusted and figured out how things work. You may have made some friends, gotten involved in campus activities and developed a good study schedule. Although you are a quarter of the way through the program, you still have a way to go.

Welcome to Your Second Year of Dental School

Your second year of dental school starts off with an orientation week for incoming students. You may be assigned an incoming freshman to mentor during orientation week. Remember to be kind. Not too long ago you stood where the freshman students are now. Share what you have learned, along with tips, which may help freshman through their first year.

Dentistry work experience student Rhia learning practical skills whilst on her hospital placement in Thailand. As a second-year dental student, you may have more confidence and feel more at home at your school. Although it may vary, your second year of dental school may involve a heavier workload than you had during your freshman year.

Plan on still spending a lot of time in lectures, such as four or five hours a day. You may continue to have some medically oriented classes, such as microbiology and pathology. In your second year of dental school, you will focus on the oral cavity and diagnosing and treating various dental conditions.

The exact curriculum varies by school, but some of the classes you may have include endodontics, periodontics and diagnostic radiology. In your second year, you may also focus on pain control and anesthesia for dental procedures. Additional classes may include oral surgery and complete dentures.  Many of the classes you take will involve both a lecture and associated lab. You may also have several laboratory exams and quizzes

Your second year builds on the first. You will continue to improve your manual dexterity and cognitive skills. Don’t plan on working with real patients yet, but you will likely get more hands on experience than you did in your freshman year. For example, you may get to give injections to other dental students. This likely means you will also have a fellow student practicing on you. But before you get stressed, you will not be performing any procedures on your classmates, which are too invasive.

The end of your sophomore year of dental school also means it is time to take part one of the national boards, which is required in order to become licensed as a dentist. The exact timeframe for taking part one of your dental boards is not set in stone, but a large percentage of students take it the summer after their sophomore year of dental school. Information on the exam, such as content, study preparation, fees and scheduling can be found on the American Dental Association website.