Shadowing a DoctorFebruary 23, 2016
Today’s blog comes from Joelle, a second-year dental student at King’s College London. She’s loving life and loving teeth, and is looking forward to specialising in Orthodontics or Paediatric Dentistry.
I know lots of you have been on the edge of your seats waiting for someone somewhere to answer your cries of “what does being a Dentistry student actually involve!?”. Well, ta daa! Here I am, and I’m here to tell you that after the gruelling interview process, the long hours of preparation and acceptance into Dental school comes a whole lotta learning. That’s right – actual learning. Thankfully, that’s where I come in. In this blog you’ll get a little insight into the ‘day in the life of a Dentistry student’ so you’ll know just what to expect!
The Morning Lecture
As all Dental students have separate days on clinic, it’s often difficult to find a time that we are all available to squeeze in some lectures. Sadly this means 8:30am lectures on a Monday morning 🙁 . On the plus side, it’s a good chance to briefly catch up with those on a different timetable and recap the adventures of the weekend. This times, it was a lecture on Radiology and due to the fact that attendance is recorded, there was a good turnout. It’s quite difficult to take in all of the information, especially this early on a Monday but luckily a punchy morning coffee gets me through. Covering Radiology is a General Dental Council requirement before we can start seeing patients at the end of the year so that we can give them explorative x-rays.
Dentistry students have allocated times and days to spend practicing and learning hands-on clinical skills. Over the summer holiday I collected extracted teeth from local Dentists which was a somewhat interesting experience. Those teeth were then placed into a model to give my phantom head human some gnashers to work with. This time in my morning clinic session, after setting up my clinical area, we were given a practical presentation from one of the clinicians on placing interproximal composite restorations. Ooooo. This involves removing areas of decay between teeth and then filling them with composite rather than amalgam. Following the demonstration, it’s time to practice on my phantom head. Learning new skills relies heavily on trial and error and it’s safe to say, it’s probably a good thing that my phantom head was not a patient! With some more guidance from my clinical tutor, I was able to work on my skills and luckily before lunch I had managed to place a successful restoration that I was happy with.
With clinical days being very hands on and practical, lunchtime is always a welcome break. All of the dental students tend to spend lunch in our common room in the hospital. It’s a great time to catch up with everyone, discuss the morning’s work and refuel for the afternoon.
By half one we were back practicing our clinical skills. During the afternoon on the whole we were left to our own devices and to work on any teeth in our models that need that extra attention. I was able to take some radiographs of some teeth ready for next week when we will be learning about root canal treatment. I then spent the afternoon fixing a chipped central incisor, a common problem that usually occurs in children who have fallen over – or those who have alcohol induced accidents…
Usually by the end of a day in clinic I’m exhausted but thanks to my overenthusiastic gym buddy I somehow finish up in the gym for an hour. I always find that I feel much better after working out, it’s a great way to destress and after spending the day hunched over in clinic it’s a good excuse to stretch. Depending on work I will either head to the library for an evening of catching up on lectures or return home for some procrastination in the form of cooking or baking! It’s important to maintain a good work life balance so I’ll usually decide how I feel that evening.
Until next time, J x