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dental school

Dental School

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Dental School

For many students, dental school provides the most challenging, humbling and stressful academic experiences of their lives. At the same time, it can be extremely rewarding to watch yourself transition into a practicing clinician. Somewhere between the lectures, tests, patient encounters and graduation requirements lies a special mixture that gives you the right to go by the title "doctor." 

Like medical school, most dental schools are four year programs split between traditional classroom learning and clinical experience. Dentists-in-training take classes that cover the entire human body- not just the teeth. This lays a foundation for treating patients with all types of medical conditions, disabilities and special needs. Furthermore, the first two years of dental school always have a patient simulation component. Here, students work on mannequins in a lab to learn the basics of removing cavities, placing crowns and other dental procedures. One of the biggest challenges during this time is balancing studying, lab courses and your own personal time. 

However, the most daunting challenge in dental school (and any health education program) is transitioning to the clinical years. Treating actual patients comes with huge psychological, emotional and educational hurdles. No amount of training can prepare you for the reality of being responsible for another human being's health. As students treat patients, they are very closely monitored by school faculty. While this ensures patient safety, it can also make the appointments much longer than private practice. If you are planning on being seen by a dental student, be prepared to wait!

Beyond dental school, many students elect to attend a residency program. These can range from one year (general practice residency) to six years (DDS/MD oral surgery programs). Here, students learn more advanced techniques and get experience practicing on medically compromised patients. After residency, license renewal requires dentists to take frequent continuing education classes. These courses cover everything from clinical refreshers to cosmetics and even surgical techniques. The educational process never stops! If you would like to know more about what it takes to become a dentist, feel free to give our office a call.  

 

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10 Fascinating Facts About Dental School

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10 Fascinating Facts About Dental School

A typical practice model used in dental education. It helps simulate the  restraints and difficulties of working on a real patient. 

A typical practice model used in dental education. It helps simulate the restraints and difficulties of working on a real patient. 

Most people outside of the profession can't say they know much about dental education. Of course dentists learn about teeth and the mouth, but what about the rest of the body? How long is dental school? Is there a difference between a D.D.S. and a D.M.D. degree? We compiled a short list of lesser known facts about dental school to separate some of the truths from the rumors! Take a look: 

1. Most schools require dental students to dissect a human body from the head and neck to the torso. Some require a whole-body dissection. This includes structures such as the arms, GI tract and heart. 

2. Some schools hold courses and seminars on dental research. These are classes specifically geared towards evaluating research papers for clinical application. 

3. The average dental student doesn't get to work on an actual patient until they have completed two years of didactic education. Only then are they allowed clinical responsibility. 

4. Dental residencies can take from 1-6 years in addition to the four years of dental school. The longest (6 years) is for a joint DDS/MD degree in oral and maxillofacial surgery. That rounds up to 14 years of college education! 

The beige tooth was actually hand carved from wax. Students are required to make teeth from wax to learn about the finer points of dental anatomy. 

The beige tooth was actually hand carved from wax. Students are required to make teeth from wax to learn about the finer points of dental anatomy. 

5. Dental students still learn how to hand form teeth from wax. Although this technique is dated, it teaches invaluable lessons on tooth anatomy.

6. There are over 60 dental schools in the United States. 

7. Some schools grant D.D.S. degrees and other grant the title of D.M.D. There is absolutely no difference in the responsibilities and privileges between degrees; they are completely equal!

8. Dental residents (post-doctoral students) can be called upon to assist in many hospital duties. Some even provide general anesthesia for surgical cases. 

9. There are nine ADA recognized dental specialties/residencies: Endodontics, Dental Public Health, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, Orthodontics, Oral Surgery, Pediatric Dentistry, Prosthodontics and Periodontics.

10. Dental education never stops. In order to hold a valid license, a dentist has to take continuing education courses every year. 

 

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