Dental School Experience!!!
Q: Are there any people who simply despised their dental school
experience, such as the first and second years? Do you think you could
explain why and what you did to try to better the situation.
A:I graduated from Dental School in 1976 and ,yes, it was a very demeaning experience, all four years of it. I found particularly distressing the fact that I was in a post graduate learning experience and was treated like a grade schooler!!! I found the intimidation methods so frequently employed in the clinical portion of my education a significant waste of valuable time. I graduated and went on to a residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. The difference could be measured in light years. You were treated with respect, criticism was both contructive and helpful. I find myself continually embarrassed by dentistry's archaic teaching philosopy as well as liscenscing restrictions out in the real world. Dentistry could learn a lot from our medical collegues if it chose to. I graduated two years before you-- 1974. Same exact story! It is emabarrasing and shameful. Two things to remember: In many cases, dental school "professors" are burnouts! When a dentist has had enough, he or she goes to teach in a dental school, if they'll take him. Second, they are paid next to nothing-- less than half of what a professor in a medical school makes. This is a simple supply and demand equation-- the supply far outnumbers the demand. I have no idea if things have changed. I used to sometimes see studies comparing the percentages of dentists who contribute to their Alma Mater vs physicians-- thse studies were definitive and telling. I graduated in 1972 from UCLA and I didn't experience any particular intimidation at all. Except for just a few turkeys as professors ( and they did not last long with the school), the intructors were the finest and most motivated, caring men and women I have ever met. I felt honored just to stand in the shadow of such fine clinicians such as Frank Kratochvil, Ted Berg, Robert Wolcott, Robert Garfield, Helen Leuchauer, Herbert Schillinberg and Phil Boyne. Some of those guys even remember me 20 years later. In fact we have even gone fishing together. I could name twenty others. They loved dentistry and excellence with such a passion that some of it had to rub off on us. They taught us with the strength of their own personal character what dentistry was about. I owe tham a great debt that I cannot ever repay, except to pass some of their inspiration on to an other generation of dentists. As far as I am concerned the *really* great dentists such as these will always take the time to share their knowlege with a student who truely cares about learning and is not just "getting by". The only students that had problems with the instuctors were the students that seemed to have chosen the wrong profession. A few studemts had a "punching a time clock" just trying to get by.
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