In which I report a Pin

Pinterest is one my my guilty pleasures. It’s a nice mental break from work, or like this morning, a nice procrastination from actually starting my work.. but anyways, while scrolling through this morning I found this:

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Naturally all things teeth excite me, so I clicked on it. Ironically it was next to the how to make “cake pops in mini-ice cream cones” and “jelly beans and Peeps SUGAR EXTRAVAGANZA Easter vase”.. but I digress:

Screen Shot 2013-03-30 at 9.21.19 AMThis pin, which links to some nonsense here聽is about how a parent “fixed” their child’s cavity by having them eat a breakfast of toast with raw butter and honey. Besides this obvious craziness, the article includes that the parents “checked that it was an actual cavity in the back of the incisor using a rubber tip probe we had on hand”. One, who has a rubber tipped probe? I’m a dentist and I certainly don’t have one on hand in my house. And two, they did a poor job of matching their graphic with their story, because that tooth up there my friends is a premolar. Suffice to say that this pin in my beloved Pinterest is full of quack. So I reported it:

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Now I realize that categorizing it under “actively promotes self-harm” may be a little drastic, but what if someone took this nonsense to heart? They could make their own cavities grow bigger and worse by not getting them fixed (or heaven forbid, their kids’ cavities..). It’d be awesome if my job was obsolete, but until then I much prefer to fix small cavities, not large ones that can cause abscesses and may require a root canal or extraction.

Changing your diet WILL prevent cavities (and we love and highly recommend that!), but changing your diet after you’ve already got one, sorry – it won’t. Only a dentist can fix that.

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In which it’s all about the perspective

Getting some work and blog posting done on my research time.

Getting some work and blog posting done on my research time.

Last night I was chopping vegetables for the week because it turns out I let them rot in the fridge if I feel too lazy to do it when I get home from work. I’ve been using emeals to help us plan and keep a budget (remember when I tried to meal plan on my own? hahahah, turns out not so much) – plus it’s fun to try out their recipes. Right in the middle of grating some ginger my pager went off; there was a three year old with facial swelling and infection due to a large cavity at Seattle聽Children’s Hospital and my co-resident Bri and I were being called in to take care of it.

Thought 1

Annoyance. Seriously? The best time you could think of to take care of your kid’s cavity was at 8:30pm on a Tuesday? Oh, it’s been like this for weeks. Great. All cavities are preventable you know, with a toothbrush, good diet and some floss. We like to fix things before they get too big and create a medical emergency. Cavities can kill. You’ve already seen two other dentists today? They did nothing? Why, we’re all trained how to extract teeth in dental school and they’ve been dentists way longer than I have. Plus, it’s not a super complicated procedure. Oh, they didn’t feel comfortable treating children.. Perfect excuse. At this time of night I have none of my magic tools to make it anymore comfortable than you could’ve done earlier today and saved this family a three hour trip and overnight stay in the city. I certainly wasn’t trying to do anything else tonight after a long day of work.

Thought 2

Thanks. Thanks for pagers, so I don’t have to sleep overnight in the hospital waiting for the kids to come in and I can hang out at home or go to the grocery story or do anything else in a 20 minute radius of Children’s. Thanks for good co-residents to share the burden of trying to treat a hurting child when they and their parents are not at their best and have already had a long day. Thanks for a car to drive me to the emergency department so I don’t have to take the bus or walk and for good, safe, paved roads to drive on. Thanks for hands (that yesterday smelled like ginger) to help lessen the pain. Thanks for student loans to pay for the lessons that have molded these hands over the past almost five years. Thanks for antibiotics so this kid won’t die of a toothache. Thanks for parents who trust that I’m only trying to help. Thanks for good lighting, clean facilities, a plethora of gauze, sterile instruments, a dental chair. Thanks for working suction. Thanks for the Starbucks to grab a quick tea while waiting for the ED nurses to be done with their assessment. Thanks for a dictation system so I don’t spend 30 minutes writing my notes. Thanks for a great partner to work with. Thanks for the chance to heal.

It’s all about the perspective.

In which it’s interview season

We had our first round of interviewees for new residency positions this weekend. Seeing their bright, shiny, nervous faces made me so happy and thankful to be on this side of the process!

To be a dentist you have to go to dental school, pass several boards and get licensed in a state. This qualifies you to be a general dentist and practice “within your scope” or in other words, do whatever you feel you have the skill and desire to do. To be a specialist in dentistry you must complete a residency program which can last between 2 and 6 years AFTER dental school (which is 4 years of school AFTER college – we define “professional student”). Currently there are nine recognized specialties聽in dentistry:

  • Dental Public Health: These individuals focus on controlling dental disease on a community wide scale
  • Endodontics: Root Canals
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: Head and neck cancer and other weird things
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: The radiologists of the dental world
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: Focus on wisdom teeth removal and putting your face back together
  • Orthodontics: Concentrate on braces and wearing golf shirts
  • Pediatrics: Pediatricians of the dental world
  • Periodontics: The deep cleaners and gum gardeners
  • Prosthodontics: Implants, crowns, bridges and dentures

We closely mirror our medical colleagues who are required to do a residency after medical school in how we are accepted into our specialty programs (if we choose to pursue them). In the summer (sometimes in your senior year of dental school, sometimes after you’ve been out into the work force for a while and want to specialize later) you send out your application to a bunch of programs. In the fall you interview at programs that have invited you.

Some specialities (prosth, perio, endo) offer you an acceptance or rejection within days of the interview. Others, at a predetermined day in the winter, rank everyone they’ve interviewed and you in turn rank them in order of where you would like to go. All these rankings go into a magical computer program and a week or two later the computer spits out that you either 1) “Matched” which means you made it into a program and it tells you the ONE program you’ve been accepted to or 2) “Did not Match” which means you didn’t get in and need to apply again for the next cycle. Very much like sorority recruitment.

Name tag from my Yale interview last year.. they did not win points for geography.

The interviews in the fall are stressful – you’re constantly on the road, in airports, staying in overpriced hotels, juggling whatever senior year responsibilities you need to graduate and study for boards. It’s also fun because you get to see new places and meet new people (ostensibly the colleagues you’ll have for the rest of your life and who you’ll be running into at conferences for years to come).

Last year sitting in an airport, studying for boards.

Pediatric dentistry has become more competitive in recent years. Last year, the year I applied, 604 people applied to “match” for 343 spots.聽The cost of applying, flying around the country and attending interviews is enormous, but so is not getting in and spending another year applying if you don’t match. The stakes are high. So I get why these well qualified professionals were a little nervous this past weekend – hell, I was when I was in their shoes last year. That’s why I’m so thankful I’m on this side of it.

To help the applicants get a feel of our program beyond the number of operating room cases we do, number of patients we see, types of degrees we offer, rotation schedule, etc, my fellow residents put together a powerpoint on each current resident. Your fellow residents can make or break a program regardless of the other amenities it offers. I’m so fortunate to now only have found brilliant future colleagues here in Seattle, but folks that’ll be lifelong friends. They are the people who celebrate my bright days and pull me up during the tougher ones. My new study partners and lab mates. I love each and every one of them. If I could tell anyone interviewing what to look for in a program I would tell them to look at the residents and how they get along. It is an excellent predictor of future happiness in a program.

My slide from the powerpoint.

We gave two truths and a lie to have the applicants get to know us as people better in a more relaxed format – I think I learned almost as much about the current residents as the interviewees did! You can see my lie is that I speak Spanish.. I’ll leave all the espanol to mi hermanita (had to look that up).

Good luck to all the applicants out there! Smile, relax, be yourself. You’ll do fine 馃檪

Love Summertime

Broke in our brand new food processor and made our first pimento cheese today. Coupled with a clear evening this was the perfect way to officially welcome summer.

Also I told Dr. Eidson I would post this picture last week and completely lost track! We met up with my group practice director from UNC for a very lovely dinner at Serafina in Eastlake. He was up here last week doing work at the Kois Center for dental continuing education before heading up to do even more CE in Vancouver. The food and conversation were so wonderful and I’d high recommend the pork belly to anyone looking to try it out! Thanks so much Dr. Eidson for a warm welcome to our new city!!

Dr. Eidson, myself and Jeff