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I recently took a continuing education course for dentists and dental assistants to learn how to make temporary crowns. Although the course seemed to teach the most basic techniques, it was still very educational. To make a temporary, you simply take an impression, adjust some spaces, inject temporary material into the impression, put the impression back on the prepared tooth, and carve the hardened material into a shape of a tooth. Very simple. Or so I thought...
On my first attempt at making a temporary crown on a model, I was confident that everything would go smoothly. First, I took the initial impression, and got the correct bite. So far so good. After prepping the teeth for the crown, it was my turn to finish by making the temporary crown. I had checked the impression and it looked good so I injected the temporary material and put the matrix back on the model. Two minutes later, I took out the matrix and the temporary material was stuck on the tooth. I’m thinking, “Ok, no problem, let me take it off like Dr. Wong always does with an excavator or hemostat.” *many nudges later, it still doesn't come off* After ten minutes of attempting to take it off, it finally came out safely. So finally, I shaped the temporary and made it look like a tooth and then tried to put the crown back in its place. *puts the temp back in and doesn’t fit* Now I’m thinking, “what did I do wrong?! they didn’t teach me what to do if it doesn’t fit!” So I ask the great Dr. Wong for some help. He comes in, adjusts the inside of the temporary crown so that it made more space for the tooth to fit. Finally, I cemented the temporary, cleaned the area and finished, albeit stressed.
In dentistry, I am expecting to run into many problems likes this, probably even harder. Dr. Wong tells me I will run into situations where you need to think critically and solve it yourself. In the future, I want to be able to do everything without having someone to help me out of a situation like Dr. Wong had to. This experience is all part of learning but I can’t wait until I can be independent and do all the procedures by myself.
Hello again! I hope we've met and had a good chat about dentistry or school while in the office. If not, I hope to meet you soon!
Right now, I'm in the process of preparing for dental school applications. Dental schools have rigorous standards but I feel that what I have, and can, accomplish in the next year will prepare me for the challenge of dental school (my high school calling). My grades in college were average at best, admittedly, so I am working as a dental assistant to learn about the everyday in's and out's of running a practice like Dr. Wong does. I am also studying for the DAT's (Dental Admissions Test) which can make up for my below-average grades in college. Even though going to dental school has been my goal throughout my educational career, it becomes hard to study for this test at times. I wanted to become a dentist to talk to people and work with my hands to help people, not to study books and look things up on the computer. It feels more like a battle of persistence which is required to go through the challenges in dental school. I love science and its power to solve problems and build imagination, but studying for this test has become trying at times.
Sometimes I will tell my patients some of the rigors I am going through and they are very encouraging of my pursuit. They think it’s awesome that I am trying to become a dentist and that I am trying to learn inside the dental office before going to school. These patients also often compliment me on my work ethic, which in turn, makes me want to work harder to achieve my goals. Everyone in the dental office also knows my plans and are very supportive so it makes my life through this process a lot easier. The environment in the office is part of why I want to become a dentist. I hope that I can work hard and get through dental applications in peace. Hopefully, I can give back to the people by becoming not only a good dentist but a good person to them as well.
After seeing many patients at the office, I am hearing some interesting things they notice about the dentist and their practice. Although most dentists would prefer that patients not question their diagnosis and the state of their dental office (I am assuming because this would make their work easier), this is not the case. Patients are keen on what they see and hear at the dental office and will take notes in their heads when they are choosing a dentist. The first thing one of our new patients noticed was how clean Dr. Wong’s office is because he had prior knowledge that one of his acquaintances contracted hepatitis from an unsanitary dental office (which is rare since hepatitis is bloodborne). Another patient had commented on a previous dental office which had rusty instruments and went as far as to say that the dentist’s manual dexterity was getting worse with age (which may or may not be true but it matters to a dentist and his/her staff because the patient is paying attention to those details).
The most interesting case for me was when a patient came in to see Dr. Wong to get a second opinion on a shaky diagnosis she had received. This patient was told that she had eight cavities to fill but was doubtful because she took good care of her teeth. When Dr. Wong looked at it, he only saw ONE required filling which greatly reduced the patient’s medical cost. The point of all these stories is that patient has their own experiences to help them draw conclusions about a dental office and that they're not stupid. I think that it's very important for dentists to retain their integrity by understanding where the patient is coming from with their opinions and to respect the patient’s trust that they bring to a healthcare provider. I hope when I get to that point, patients will look at me with the same respect and trust as I will strive to give to them.
Hi there! My name is Chiaki Asahara and I am Dr. Wong's Lead Assistant at his office. I started working with Dr. Wong in September of 2016 and so far, it's been a great environment to be in! I came onboard with Dr. Wong to learn as much as I could about dentistry because I want to be a dentist someday.
Dr. Wong has already taught me a ton about the in's and out's of dentistry and I hope to take that with me into my career. Dr. Wong asked me to keep a blog of my journey into dental school because he said it would be neat for me to read back about my path to being a dentist. He also said it would be a good way for patients to learn more about me and create personal bonds, which he says is paramount to earning the trust of patients.
So I'll be here every two weeks or so writing about my experiences, my anecdotes, and also my insights to dentistry as a young, prospective dentist. Please follow me on my journey and I hope to meet you in real life at the office soon!