Saturday, November 18, 2017

a day in the life of a dental student: yesterday

Yesterday was the craziest busiest day for me. This whole week has been actually because it's right before Thanksgiving break with finishing up lots of projects. But Friday especially was hectic in the best way. I treated pediatric patients all morning and took my clinical practical on exodontia (pulling teeth) in the afternoon. Did I mention it was on a live patient? eek! 
a day in the life of a dental student
I realize that it's been a long while since I've shared a day in the life of a dental student. That's because I'm such a perfectionist about capturing all the best photos and writing good descriptions etc. And that rarely happens. But yesterday felt like the best day (I actually felt like a dentist) that I need to document. So here impromptu day in the life of a dental student.

5:00AM I'm an early riser, always have been. I fill up my water bottle, grab a coffee from the keurig (currently loving this flavor), and light this favorite candle the husband got for me. I cozy back into bed, this time with my laptop. I review patient radiographs that I took earlier in the week and write up reports on the x-rays. I also write a treatment plan for a patient and then do my friday favorites

7:30AM I wrestle the pup out of bed, take him for a walk, and get him fed.

8AM Shower & get ready for the day as I drink a second cup of coffee. I make myself a huge protein packed breakfast: 2 boiled eggs and homemade oatmeal with raisins, protein powder, honey, banana, and apples. We normally have an hour of class before morning clinic, but not today. And I'm not complaining.  

9AM Pediatric Clinic 
I'm spending the morning in the pediatric clinic. We start with a morning huddle where all the dental students, residents, and pediatric dentists review their cases for the day. Then off we go. My appointment consists of presenting my treatment plan to the patient's mom and the pediatric dentist. If I'm honest, I had trouble getting though it because it's a bit heartbreaking to see such a complicated case for a child. After I help mom understand what's happening, I do a prophy (cleaning), get the patient checked out, and schedule the next appointment where I will begin all of the restorative work with the kiddo under nitrous sedation aka laughing gas. 
dental school blog
Just when I think I'm done, I get assigned a second case. I end up doing an initial exam and taking x-rays that I will use to make a treatment plan for the patient. But while we're there, I go ahead and extract a tooth that has been causing pain. This is the first time I've extracted a tooth on a child, which is fairly simple compared to adults, but super interesting since the baby tooth was wrapped around the adult tooth. 

12:05PM Lunch & Learn I head to a lunch meeting being given by a dentist who worked at a public health dental clinic for several years. Public health dentistry is definitely something that interests me so I'm glad I could attend. I'm more than happy to learn about a passion of mine while I munch on free pizza & drink Starbucks coffee. I write up my soap notes from my morning patients during the lunch meeting = multi-tasking at it's finest. 

1PM Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Clinic 
I'm shifting gears and spending my afternoon in the OMS clinic pulling teeth. We work in teams in this clinic. This afternoon, my amazing partner and I saw four patients; one was a post-op visit that checked out fine. The other 3 patients were each getting 1 tooth extracted. I did 2 of the extractions. My first extraction went so well. I took out tooth #13, a maxillary (top) premolar that was diagnosed as non-restorable. It took me less then 10 minutes to get the patient numb and get the tooth out thanks to some new techniques I learned from volunteering last weekend. When I was presenting the medical history for my second extraction patient, the oral surgeon asked me if I wanted to take my skills assessment. Um, that would be a big fat NO! We have a handful of practicals that we have to complete on live patients for our graduation requirements. It's kind of a big deal, not something you just jump into. I wasn't planning to take this until January after I had time to basically memorize the textbook. But of course, I said yes. 
a day in the life of a dental student
From the moment I started, I thought I had made a mistake. The gum tissue was extremely taut, the bone was dense, and the crown had a high fracture risk; all making it a more difficult case. But more than anything, the patient was extremely frantic and anxious, which is understandable, but still stressful. When I told the patient that I was going to start the extraction, the patient almost left because they didn't think I was qualified. Apparently I look too young to be pulling teeth. From there, I was second guessing myself. There were a few moments when I had forceps around the tooth and was wondering if I would be able to get that thing out. But I had to, because if I needed help from the oral surgeon in any way, I would fail my clinical practical and that was not an option. I pulled every trick I had out of the bag in order to manage the patient's fears and help them stay calm enough to allow me to do what I needed to. Gave myself a little pep talk that I do indeed know what I'm doing since I have done this dozens of times before and got the tooth out in piece. At the end, the patient actually apologized to me for doubting me and thanked me nonstop. It figures that I would have picked the harder case of the day to take my practical on, but I'm proud that I got through it. 

5PM Home for the Day. I grab dinner at Chipotle as a special treat and work on the treatment plan for the second pediatric patient I saw earlier in the day. 

7PM Bed! My Friday night tradition on weekends that I'm not headed out of town to visit the husband is to go to bed SUPER early. I'm a regular party animal over here, but I'm always exhausted from the week and have no problem sleeping through the night. Ha! Had this been any other weekday though, I would have done work until around 10PM.

Day in Review 
Hours Studying: 0 
Hours in Clinic: 7
Patients treated on my Own: 4 
Procedures Completed: 10
Hours Exercised: 0.5 with the dog 
Steps on FitBit: 12, 576
Hours doing Patient Paperwork: 4 (OMG?)
Hours Slept: 5 (the night before) 
Meals Cooked: 1

In a perfect world, I would have cooked myself dinner, done a real work out, and studied in addition to everything else. But life lately is all about managing what is most important today? I was physically and mentally drained from the week and prioritized sleep at the end of the day. Hope you enjoyed this sneak peak into my life as a dental student. 

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