Welcome to the University of Michigan School of Dentistry's Blog!
Here you will find blogs from our students about various issues facing our prospective dental professionals, from a day in the life to dealing with frigid Michigan winters. Please email email@example.com to suggest a topic you would be interested in learning about. Enjoy!
Kevin Kuo, fresh into his D4 year, has sent us a new video. This time he takes on Feel Again with his violin- and a set of 10 dental instruments for percussion.
In his own words:
“Many fear going to the dentist because of the drill. What many find terrifying, I find can be elegant and beautiful. This is my portrayal of what dentistry sounds like to me. It’s all about perspective
I first came upon the idea to produce this video when I noticed how so many of my patients at the dental school fear not just going to the dentist but specifically the sounds they hear while receiving treatment. Because I hear it all day, everyday, I have grown accustomed to all the sounds and rarely notice it anymore. In other words, the sounds do not elicit any fear in me–if anything, they evoke happiness.
I hope this video helps change the perspective about going to the dentist, especially the sounds patients hear. As you can see and hear, even dental instruments can make music. The drill at the end, for instance, provides the gentle whispers that help accompany the violin solos. Hopefully, this video can help people to feel good rather than bad when they see, or hear, their dentist.
Please refer to the original performance and music video by OneRepublic:
I reflected many of the cinematic themes in their video in mine (i.e. colorful lights).
I love all their songs. They put a lot of meaning and heart into their music. The beat to “Feel Again” was actually made with real heartbeats from children in Malawi and Guatemala to raise awareness about children’s health.
Overall, “Feel Again” is about putting things back to perspective. We sometimes get caught in frivolous things in our lives and forget what’s really important. I’ve tried to echo that same meaning behind my cover and mirror the health issues raised as well–specifically to oral health.
Thanks for listening! “
Well, that’s a wrap folks. The Flossoraptor’s are newly minted D2’s and what a year it has been! In reference to the movie Rent, “How do you measure, measure a year?” – a year in the life of a first year dental student of course. How about 51 exams, 83 quizzes, 18 practicals, and 16 projects? (Thank you Spencer for your superb record keeping). Or maybe, hours playing Candy Crush Saga, Pinteresting, or finding memes on tumblr? Just kidding, no one does that in dental school. In the past 10 months we have accomplished so much and it feels like just yesterday we were at D1 orientation frantically taking “a test”. We were able to look back at these photos, laugh, and realize all the fun we’ve had and friendships we’ve made. Who knew you could learn so much about fascia, rubber dams, and the importance of giving customers the pickle in the first few weeks of class? I didn’t know any of this before I came here. I want to thank my fellow classmates for making my first year experience so memorable. Everyone came together sharing a common goal and I look forward to the next three years with the ambitious class of 2016 by my side. I don’t know what I would do without the class calendar to keep me on track, helpful study guides, hygienist review sessions, and quizlets- my personal favorite. The collaborative effort by all has made getting through the hours studying that much more enjoyable. This year I have learned the importance of finding balance in my life in and out of the classroom. I have found that quality over quantity helps me get through the rigorous workload and finding time to sleep, workout, and do something you love each day makes everything manageable. It is such a privilege to be part of the School of Dentistry and I am thankful each day that I am here- even when things get really stressful. When not in the four walls of G378 we made our mark in IM sports, fundraising for Dance Marathon, and volunteering at various events around the community. We had fun tailgating, watching Michigan compete in the NCAA championship, and hosting chili and macaroni ‘n’ cheese cook-offs for charity. I’m looking for stiff competition on the next challenge, by the way. During the past year three dental babies were welcomed into the class with the addition of Jack, Aela, and Violet and their pictures give us all something to smile about. Many congratulations to those who celebrated weddings and engagements this past year and to everyone, we are a quarter of the way on our journey to becoming dentists! This summer semester shall bring clinical rotations, the continuation of Monday haikus, groovy mornings in pre-clinic, and hopefully some Friday’s by the pool. Cheers, eh!
Chelsea Pinozek hails from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Escanaba). She is looking forward to a few weekends boating with her family in Door County this summer, spoiling her fur baby Nuggie, and Michigan football come fall.
I am three days away from (finally) being a D4! It has been a long road, but these last three years have flown by at the same time. As carefree as I should be knowing that I will soon have five weeks off, seeing the current D4s frantically trying to complete their graduation requirements reminds me that D4 year isn’t all roses. One of the great aspects of the UofM School of Dentistry is the extensive outreach program that students participate in during their final year. These one- to two week long experiences show students what real-world dentistry is like, including working with trained dental assistants. At the same time, these opportunities allow us to serve patients throughout Michigan that may not otherwise receive necessary care. This program, though, is also not without drawbacks. The school scheduled our rotations for us and has taken a firm stance that those rotations are not to be changed. My schedule includes two weeks of outreach during the first weeks of June, followed by a one-week Oral Surgery rotation during the third week. With clinic closed to D4s until May 28, I have 8 appointment slots to offer between April 18 and June 23. I have coordinated with rising D3 students to provision care for my patients with the timeliest needs, but unfortunately, many of my patients will simply have to wait the two months for me to return full-time to continue their treatment plans. This delay rightfully frustrates my patient population at the School of Dentistry, and as a result I am trying to squeeze in six patients before the end of the week. This is a far cry from the relaxing finish to the semester I envisioned when our exam schedule was published earlier in the winter! Nevertheless, what’s right is right and the relaxing will have to wait until Saturday…
David Coviak, Class of 2014 graduated from the University of Michigan in 2008 and worked in IT at Clemson University before returning to UofM to begin dental school in 2010. Now in his third year, he is dedicating himself to writing daily and hopes to spend more time engaging in his hobbies of old.
As our D4s prepare for commencement and our incoming D1s get ready to join us, we take the long(er) view from alum Dr. Sophia Cornish. Thanks so much to Dr. Cornish for giving us her insight!
A few months ago a patient called me frantically on a Saturday. He fractured off his front tooth at the gum line and he had his brother’s wedding to go to that night. Unsure of how I was going to make him whole again for the wedding, I threw all my archetypal dental training out the window. I have never seen a patient more grateful for incomplete root canal and his temporary post and crown. It may not have been the perfect order of events, but he was out of pain and looked like himself. He made it to his brother’s wedding on time and I have a loyal patient for life. In this instance, the best thing I could do for this patient was work outside of the box. I embraced the imperfection of life!
As I walked out of the doors of University of Michigan Dental School after graduation, I had great visions of where my career would lead. I had spent the last 4 years learning the “ideal”. The ideal crown prep, the ideal treatment plan, the ideal denture series. I was now ready to put all of these perfect plans into action and build a patient pool filled with perfect mouths. I had all the facts in my back pocket and was ready to make a difference.
The reality of life is very different from what that starry-eyed student dreamed. In an ideal world every patient would heed my advice, all patients could afford care, and all treatment plans would be performed in a timely and complete manner. However, the real world has imperfections, and therefore has many patients who cannot afford, or do not want the ideal. It is a challenge to accept that a patient chooses to extract a tooth with recurrent decay. I know that tooth could be saved with a new crown, but the patient does not have the finances, or desire. Instead of struggling to force my goals for perfection, it is my job to help each individual figure out their own personal goals and to match them with my desire for health. I need to help my patients reach health on their own terms, by providing information and support. I also need to provide acceptance if their route to a healthy mouth wouldn’t be my own choice.
Now, five years later, my vision of perfection is slightly different. Dental school teaches the“ideal” in order to provide framework for a less than perfect world. With this knowledge I went into the world armed to make a difference. I am trained to know what perfection looks like, but recognize the inherent limitations of those perfections. I cannot make good choices for people, nor can I change the financial aspect of dentistry. I can use my creativity to help my patients achieve health and beautiful smile, even outside of the dental school paradigm. I have learned that by embracing the innate imperfection of my field I am better able to create a healthy and happy patient. And really, isn’t that perfection in itself?
Dr. Sophia Cornish graduated in 2008 and practices in Dexter, Mi. Check out her practice at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sophia-Cornish-DDS-PLLC/244227762283275. Alumni- would you be willing to contribute to our blog? Email the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
For the past 8 years, a group of dental students and faculty have gone on a week-long outreach trip to various communities in Jamaica to provide dental care. This year, unlike previous years, a large collaborative effort was put forth into fundraising. We organized the first talent show at the UMSOD consisting of dental faculty and students sharing their talents. Performances included Bollywood, ballroom and hip-hop dancing, along with classical music and a full band. (Compilation video- check out their talent! ~Editor) The talent show was a great success that received positive feedback from all those in attendance and we hope it will become an annual fundraiser at the school.
Every year, the mission trip is scheduled in January in honor of Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy. This year the trip was from January 19- 27, 2013. The ultimate goal of the outreach trip was to provide dental care to underserved communities in the surrounding areas of Runaway Bay, Jamaica. Students and faculty from the UMSOD partnered with founding members of Healthcare International Inc. and other dental students and professionals to serve in the rural areas in most need of medical and dental care.
Jamaica is a beautiful country and we were lucky enough to stay in a great location and have some time to enjoy relaxing and try different activities during our stay. However, volunteering in Jamaica was hard work that consisted of a consistent daily routine. At the start of the day, everyone met for breakfast to have a good meal before work began at 7:30 am. After breakfast, everyone helped to load the vans to transport equipment and supplies. Once we arrived at the site, the equipment and supplies were unloaded and set up to make our day as productive and efficient as possible. We visited a different primary school each day and were able to see both adults and children. Most of our work consisted of extractions and prophies and small sedative fillings. After a full eight to nine hour workday, we traveled a couple of hours back to the resort to relax and reflect on our accomplishments for the day.
Christopher Ammons, Parminder Dulay and Edward Heath are all D3 students who traveled to Jamaica for their first outreach experience this year and are inspired to continue providing to those in need on future outreach opportunities!
While the snowy weather causing difficult driving conditions may have hindered the turn out for this year’s Give Kids a Smile Event at the University of Michigan, the event was still a success in the eyes of the children who received care as well as the enthusiastic volunteers that worked tirelessly through the day. We were especially grateful with the group of volunteers who whole-heartedly gave their entire Saturday. This included countless dentists, specialists, dental hygiene students, dental students, dental assistants, pre dental students, and staff members. These volunteers treated 27 patients, working from before 9am until 2:30 pm. This work included exams for all the patients, prophys for 25, and fluoride varnish for 15. Oral health instruction was given to all of the patients and their families, both in the clinic and in the waiting room. In preparation for operative treatment, 57 radiographs were taken. Finally, 26 sealants, five composites, and one stainless steel crown were placed, followed by 5 extractions. For the few patients in need of operative care, multiple full quadrants were completed, and for many of these children this meant they would be out of pain when they left the clinic. We are proud of the care that our volunteers provided this year, and we are already looking forward to next year’s Give Kids a Smile!
Whitney Yahn and Raya Abu-Zahra
2013 Give Kids a Smile Co-Coordinators