Today, I flew home to Southern California to spend time with my family before the annual ASDA Conference. Since I’ve moved to San Francisco, I had only driven to Southern California; I hadn’t flown. Growing up, I would fly to Iran during the summer to visit my family, and getting on the plane today, I had the same feeling that I would get as a child.
After a long yet fulfilling few weeks, we finally finished our midterms yesterday. It is so important to do something fun, refreshing, and stress-free after having such a packed, busy, stress-filled schedule. If you plan a fun vacation or getaway before getting super busy, you’ll have something to look forward to and to get you through the tough times. I am so grateful to be going to school in California and to be relatively close to home.
What do you like doing after having a packed schedule?
Happy Valentine's Day!
Today, I was reminded of my sweet tooth. One of our classmates baked these delicious tooth cookies for our class! It was the perfect treat after our wax-up test case on tooth #30 today. We performed the wax-up on a die as well as a cast that we fabricated using an impression that we took on a typodont with a crown prep on #30. We had to constantly check the occlusion and make sure that we had every cusp and groove in the right location or else the wax-up would crack and break in the articulator. These cute cookies were a nice treat to celebrate finishing a stressful four hour exam. Now, I have to get back to studying for our microbiology/pharmacology exam on Friday. I cannot wait for this upcoming long weekend! .
Some tips for when you have a sweet tooth:
1. Chew sugar-free or xylitol gum after eating a sugary snack to increase your saliva production and decrease your risk of caries or cavities.
2. Wait 20 minutes after eating sweets to brush your teeth to ensure that the acidity (pH levels) in your mouth has had a chance to return to normal.
3. Choose less sticky and less sugary snacks. A piece of chewy and sticky taffy does not affect your teeth the same as an apple, even though they both contain sugar.
How did you spend your Valentine's Day?
Today was the annual UCSF SNDA Impressions Conference, hosted by dental students for pre-dental students. I was at school from 8:30am-6:00pm on a Sunday. We have two exams this week too, that I have barely studied for during this packed weekend. Although I feel like I need to be stressed, I am just so happy. This weekend served as a huge reminder of why I chose to come to UCSF. These sorts of events are exactly why I wanted to be a dental student at UCSF. I was able to give back to my community and hopefully help students that are where I was, not that long ago, get one step closer to their dreams.
I've said this before, and I'll say it again. If you have any questions about dental school or the application cycle, please feel free to ask. I hope I can help.
Today was UCSF's Give Kids a Smile Day (GKAS). California Public Health Association puts on this event annually to provide free oral health screenings, fluoride treatments, sealants, and oral health education for children. The theme this year at UCSF was Disney! I volunteered in the Education Room this morning for the first half of the day at the Dentist Dress Up station. There has been a stigma that has instilled fear for the dentist in many people. At the Dentist Dress Up station, we had children dress up as dentists to see that it isn't so scary and that we're all just people. After my Education Room shift, I assisted an upperclassman with two patients. Working with children is very different from working with adults. You have different conversations with them. Their mouths are also A LOT smaller, making it more difficult for a minimally experienced assistant to work. I did learn a lot though, and once again, I feel one step closer to sitting in that provider chair.
Today was such a lovely day. The children were all so cute and it was very humbling to get down on their level and have them play the role of the doctor as they listened to my heartbeat, many of them using a stethoscope for the first time. I was very impressed by the kids that came through our clinic today. I was also blown away by the amount of work that the pre-dental students, dental students, and faculty put into making today happen. I also reflected today on how long it's been since I've had an interaction with somebody that's younger than me. I feel like since our winter break ended, I've only been surrounded with people that are either the same age as me or older than me. It was nice to have a change of pace. The amount of passion and love that I saw today was overwhelming, in the best sense of the word.
Today was my second assisting shift. I assisted a third year dental student with a crown preparation. It was really fun to assist on this case today since we are learning crown preps now in sim lab. Being able to assist and see the procedure done on an actual patient helped me connect a lot of dots and really solidify a lot of the knowledge that I gained in sim lab. Also, we had yet another test case today. We had to perform a class II amalgam preparation on #30 MO.
The UCSF ASDA Cusp Winter Quarter 2017 Newsletter was released this past week. I used to write a lot more. I was actually the Editor In Chief of my high school yearbook, and when I was, our yearbook took a journalistic approach. I remember writing and editing dozens of articles that year. I haven't written like this in such a long time. I am a bit rusty, but I look forward to writing more in the future. Enjoy what you're doing and it will never feel like work.
Today, one year and one week ago exactly, I interviewed at UCSF School of Dentistry for the Class of 2021. Yesterday, as well as earlier tonight, I went into our simulation lab to prepare for our test case tomorrow. Yesterday when I was in there, I saw second year dental students bringing interviewees into the lab to interview them. I reminisced on my interview day just a little over a year ago. UCSF School of Dentistry was my dream school. I didn't think I had a chance, but here I am today. I am still in awe and flooded with gratitude each and every day on my way to school, at school, and even on my way home from school. I remember my interview like it was just yesterday. I flew in the day before and stayed at a third year dental student's place. She was very kind to me and gave me her room for the night as she went to stay with a friend. I woke up around 3:00am freaking out thinking I was late to my interview. I was so anxious the night before. I kept tossing and turning. It was so scary for me to think that this one day stood between me and my dream school, my potential future. Although I was still nervous for my other dental school interviews, I was nowhere near as anxious. The second year dental student that interviewed me, whom I am now organizing school-wide events with, actually took me into the simulation lab for my student interview as well. You never know what the future holds for you. Sometimes, with hard work, dedication, and passion, you really can get what you want, what you work for. Sometimes though, life isn't that generous. I realize and understand that although I worked hard to get to where I am, I am still very lucky to be able to say that I have been granted the opportunity to attend my dream school. .
If you are still interviewing for dental school or professional school or are planning on applying this year or at any point in time and have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. I am a resource. Best of luck to all of you with all of your future endeavors! I am rooting for you!
Today, I practiced self care. I attended an anti-gravity class that pushed me to do things that I didn't know I could. It was a huge stress reliever and so much fun! As a dental student, I have a lot of tension built up in my body. There is a lot of stress put on our necks, backs, and hands. Stretching is so important. Activities like yoga and anti-gravity exercises really help release tension in your muscles. Yesterday, I had my immunology exam and I took an anti-gravity class afterwards to try something new. I loved it so much, I went back this morning. After my anti-gravity class this morning, I went to the movies (one of my favorite activities). It is easy to get lost in school and feel like you're drowning in studying, extracurricular activities, exams, etc. It is so important to take time for yourself and do things that refresh and recharge you. Practicing self care will help you get through the tough/busy times. After having that time for myself today, I went back to school for a few hours to work on some simulation lab work.
P.S. This picture is upside down.
Today, I used my Oral B Genius electric toothbrush for the first time. I received this toothbrush a couple weeks ago for being an American Student Dental Association member. Over the past few months, a lot of people have asked me what kind of toothbrush they should be using. I don't blame them. There are a lot of products out there and it can get pretty confusing. I think before you worry about which toothbrush you're using, you should just make sure that you're brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Also, make sure that you're brushing your teeth for about 2 minutes at a time. If you are brushing after eating, make sure to wait about 20-30 minutes so the pH level or acidity in your mouth can return to normal and you don't harm your tooth enamel.
Remember: Two minutes, twice daily. This Genius toothbrush is the newest Oral B toothbrush on the market. It costs about $200 MSRP. Right now however, it's on sale for $139 on Amazon and Walmart. I realize that this is a bit pricey. The toothbrush itself is really cool. It connects to Bluetooth and can teach you more about your brushing habits. It also lights up red if you are brushing too hard, something that we should all be aware of. This toothbrush has a lot of great pros, but if you don't want to spend so much on a toothbrush, just make sure that you're brushing regularly and consistently. Also, make sure to change your toothbrush every three months. If you use an electric toothbrush, make sure to change the toothbrush head every three months.
Today, I used my loupes on an actual patient for the first time. I screened my patient for oral cancer. I performed an extra-oral/intra-oral exam as well as a caries risk assessment exam. It will take me a while to feel completely comfortable working on actual patients, but I think I'm making decent progress in our clinic course. I can't wait to feel like a natural someday.
Today, I worked with my loupes for the first time. I had troubles putting on the light so I decided to save that for another day. I performed class II amalgam preparations on teeth #29 MO and #31 MO. I thoroughly enjoyed feeling like a dentist today, working in my patient's mouth.
Today, we placed our first temporary crowns. We performed crown preparations on teeth #18 and #2. We placed a silver ion crown on tooth #18 and a custom Protemp crown on tooth #2. Although I struggled with crown preparations, placing temporary crowns has probably been my favorite dental procedure that we have learned thus far. Seeing the finished product after shaving the tooth down is just so rewarding. Knowing that one day I will be able to help people smile again by performing procedures similar to the ones that I learned today reminds me of why I am doing what I am doing.
Dental School Motto: "Work hard. Play hard." This past weekend, my dental school co-ed fraternity ZIPS rented two cabins and 80 of us went to Lake Tahoe. Our first week back really felt like we hit the ground running. There was so much material. Instead of studying over the weekend however, I decided to go on this weekend getaway with my colleagues. We had such a great time making memories. I went ice skating, which is something that I had been wanting to do all holiday season. I hiked down to Emerald Bay. I played board games. I watched The Bachelor with homemade cookies. I got henna done by one of my classmates. I had conversations and hung out with people I never had before. I also barely slept. After getting back around noon yesterday, I took a nap and told myself that I was going to start studying, but I had so much housework to do and I felt so tired that I didn't get to my homework. I am studying today and am planning on managing my time over the next week to complete my simulation lab work as well as prepare for our first immunology exam next Friday.
When in professional school, it is so important to plan ahead but at the same time to be flexible. It is important to manage your time but to also understand yourself and practice self care. If you are too tired one day and unable to retain anything that you are studying, it is good to take a step back, reflect, and realize how you could better utilize your time. Schedule your study time for the next day for example, as I did yesterday. We can't predict the future, but so long as we stay determined, take breaks, and adapt accordingly, we can make it through anything!
Today, we did our first Class II Amalgam Preparation and it was on tooth #18. I bought two extra plastic teeth (#18) this morning before class. I only needed one attempt today though. It went a lot smoother than yesterday. I guess we all have our days. Class II amalgam preparations tend to be a lot more common in dentistry nowadays and a much cheaper restoration option than crowns. I know I'll be performing countless preparations, whether that be for composite, amalgam, crowns, etc. by the time I graduate, and I look forward to every moment of practice that I'm going to get. After completing my class II amalgam preparation, I took another tooth #18 and performed another crown preparation. Over the past day, I realized that this quarter, I'll be spending a lot of time in our simulation lab, and I look forward to every moment of it no matter how tiring it may be.
Today, we were in sim lab for SEVEN hours. This will be a part of our weekly schedule throughout the quarter for the crown and bridge section of our Preventive, Restorative, and Dental Sciences course. Our assignments today included taking a putty impression of tooth #2 as well as doing crown preparations on teeth #2 and #18. So what did I do? I did TWO clinically unacceptable crown preparations on tooth #18. I needed to purchase another few plastic teeth to better my skills and gain more practice. By the time I finished my second clinically unacceptable crown preparation, our student store was closed. My hand skills are nowhere near where I want them to be, but I know that with all of the time and effort that I'm going to be putting in over the next four years, these dental treatments will feel so natural. I had never done a crown preparation before today and I over-reduced both of them. As of today, once tooth structure is gone, there's no getting it back, which is why dentists utilize restorations such as fillings, crowns, and veneers.
Seeing the slightest degrees of difference may be tricky. Having your brain tell you to do one thing and your hands do another is something that you definitely need to work through as a dental student. Most people don't start at the top, but if you're doing what you love, if you're working with passion and compassion, you'll eventually succeed.
Today was our first day of winter quarter. Today was also my first full day back in San Francisco since 2017. I drove up from Southern California yesterday and felt like I was running on fumes since I barely slept the last few nights in SoCal, trying to really savor every last moment of winter break with my loved ones. We started this quarter with two hours of microbiology lecture followed by a one hour microbiology lab. We had independent study time today in the afternoon, which I utilized to catch up on sleep. I took a 2 1/2 hour nap and woke up feeling recharged and refreshed. When I woke up, it was around 3:00pm and I had to catch up on work that I had to do for various organizations. Then, at 5:30pm, we had our first UCSF ASDA meeting of 2018. After that, I had to go shopping since I realized I was out of groceries and running low on toiletries. I am getting back into the groove of things. Tomorrow will be our first full day of classes for the quarter (8am-5pm)!
On a side note, it was pouring rain all day today! I'm missing the SoCal sunshine a little more than usual...Although, that might also be because my umbrella broke on my walk to school this morning.
Happy Belated New Year, everyone!!!
I hope you have had a lovely holiday season! I have been sitting on this video for a while. It should have been posted a couple weeks ago, but I was actually taking a huge break and really unwinding with my family and friends. I have been home in Southern California for over two weeks now and I will be heading back to San Francisco in just a few days. I have had such a relaxing, restful, recharging break. I didn't completely disconnect though. I completed and submitted my summer research proposal and have been emailing back and forth with my fellow board members for various organizations, planning for the upcoming quarter. Reflecting on the past few months, I could not be more grateful for my journey. Everybody has their ups and downs, but I am just so thankful for every opportunity that I have been granted. Finals week of fall quarter was intense but we made it through! I am so excited for what the future has in store.
2018, we're ready for you!
LINK IN BIO.
Today, as the UCSF ASDA Community Service Co-Chair, I went to the Saint Anthony Foundation in San Francisco to donate tote bags, clothing, and a plastic bin that the UCSF dental students were kind enough to donate. Since 1950, Saint Anthony Foundation has provided essential support to San Franciscans living in poverty. We also had 300 bags of oral hygiene products- toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss- for the Saint Anthony Foundation. That's right, THREE HUNDRED bags thanks to our friends over at Crest Oral-B!
What are you doing to give back this holiday season?