This section of my blog is devoted to providing pointers and advice for dental students. I’ve always enjoyed teaching. I started teaching dental students back when I was a second year dental student, passing along whatever I could to first year students at Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine. After being in private practice for a few years, I decided I wanted to formally get involved in dental education as an adjunct faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School. I am currently an instructor in Dental Anatomy and Occlusion for the DS-1 class. I am in private practice full time, which gives me a unique perspective to dental students that want to know what the “real world” of dentistry is like.
You can read more about me on my bio page. Also, if you have a question you would like for me to answer, submit it here and I will post about it. Unless you specifically want me to use your name, I’ll keep it anonymous. I hope that the information and insights I share will help you to become a better dental student and a better dentist. Thank you for checking this out!
To kick things off, here’s my first bit of advice: take the Academy of General Dentistry Fellowship exam right after you take National Boards Part II. I have a friend that did this. Brilliant. I did not do this. Not so brilliant. There is a lot going on at the very end of your fourth year of dental school. Graduation, finishing up with your patients, moving, finding a job -and that’s just scratching the surface. The last thing you want to do is take an exam that isn’t required of you.
Do it anyway. This is the best time to do it. I’ve made an Excuse List for your reference.
1. I don’t have any money, I can’t afford to take the test.
REPLY: Find some money.
2. I don’t care about becoming a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry, just getting my DDS is good enough for me.
REPLY: You will care later. Becoming a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry is a prestigious honor and shows your commitment to the profession and to continuing education. It shows your patients as well as your colleagues that you are serious about excellence. This will become more and more important to you as time goes on.
3. I plan on specializing, I don’t even want to be a general dentist!
REPLY: I know several dental specialists who are also Fellows in the Academy. General dentists see this and respect what it means. Specialists that have the respect of several general dentists tend to benefit from that. Know what I’m saying?
4. I can’t possibly take one more test!
REPLY: Yes you can. You’re at the peak of your test taking ability right now. You’ve been taking tests nonstop for four years now. The material overlap between National Boards Part II and the Fellowship Exam is significant. If you go back and try to study for the test years later, it will be much more difficult to get back on the horse.
I hope my Excuse List has persuaded you. Don’t be an Excusasaurus Rex. If you’re a fourth year dental student, start making arrangements now, you will be very glad you did.