Monday, March 18, 2013

Returning from inactivity!! And meeting the dentist's frienemy... an articulator

Yes, I'm alive!  I'm so sorry, I've been MIA from dealing with sickness, hospitalizations, and schoolwork that there's been no time for breathing let alone writing... But, I return with a vengeance!  Haha, not exactly, but rather in time for Spring Break... ^_^

But, before I head off to AADR/IADR General Meeting in Seattle, WA (check out info here), here's a little update on what's been happening in dental land.
So, as our major fixed prosthodontics course has been winding down, we instead get removable partial prosthodontics.  What's the difference?  Fixed is when you get a crown or bridge (though many people want implants these days, some still want a bridge) while removable is like it sounds, a device with a few fake teeth that you can take out of your mouth (people also sometimes call them 'flippers').  Of the two, removable is the more mentally challenging and has what seems like an endless amount of steps.  A major beginning of making an appliance for the mouth first requires seeing how a person bites and how their teeth normally line up in their mouth.  Since photographs just don't cut it, what does a dentist use: an articulator.

My articulator with my first removable prosthodontics patient's casts and its bite registration .  Looks kinda cute ^_^
 Besides looking like a torture device, this little sucker can be both your best friend and worst enemy.  After we take impressions of your mouth with that gooey material, we make stone casts and then place them on the articulator using plaster (and believe or not, one cannot 'plasterize' their cast XD).  Now, this is really helpful: I can mess with this device and see where your teeth contact and how often by unhinging those silver clamps at the top and moving the two parts around.  This lets me plan the design of a removable partial denture or even a crown/bridge set-up.  However, things can go downhill quick if you plaster the casts wrong (which is quite easy actually) or you see that your patient's current mouth will not allow your awesome removable partial denture design... Thus, back to step 1.

But, the nice thing about pre-clinical years (aka. right now) is that everything tends to work out like candy and rainbows, so I don't have to panic about my patient's mouth being the equivalent to an unsolved Rubik's cube.  While some patients won't ever see this, if you come to the dental school, we always use these for a treatment plan before starting dental work.  It's actually kinda neat to see a replica of your mouth sitting of the table next to you. :-)  

 Well, it's off to Seattle to present dental research and learn tons from other researchers!  I'll post an entry about my experiences and I'll post a Flickr link to the pictures (assuming I figure it out...) ^_^

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Post-Exam Lunchtime Breaks

Naturally, dental school is full of exams... Lots and lots of exams... We either have practical skill exams (more on than next week) or written exams featuring a gambit of question types, depending on the professor's like or dislike of our electronic exam software, QuestionMark. There's usually a written exam every week; some of these you can just study a day or two and ace the exam while others you can study for a week and still get your bum firmly kicked... But sometimes, we have an exam in the morning and then a large chunk of time to waste until something else, usually a lab.  So, what's a brain-fried dental student to do?  Go get yummy food that you don't have to cook! ^_^

Look at the delicious noms :-)
As you can see, today was one of those days... We decided to go to the Indian restaurant over by Lexington Market for their lunchtime buffet.  It's awesome because it's cheap at $10 for all you want (we dental students be poor or at least this one is, haha) and they have food for both carnivores and vegetarians (yours truly falls into this crew).  Only problem afterwards is the lack of wanting to go back to class...  And, for those of you that know a bit about Baltimore, this ending picture one of my classmates put together will give you a good laugh. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hotdogs and Oral Surgery??

I know, sounds really strange, but you have to start somewhere when you're learning!  Yesterday, we had our suture lab exercise in oral-maxillofacial surgery... Now, why put sutures in the mouth?  Well, when your tooth is about to be extracted and the dentist needs to open gum tissue to get better access to it, there's gotta be some way to close it back up!  So, we first start out really simple... practicing on a piece of latex which isn't too hard at all once you get your first stitch in...

Hey they stayed! ^_^

But, then you move onto a hot dog, which is supposed to simulate how fragile a person's gums are... And then things get slightly tricky.  The first time I ended up pulling out all my sutures! :-(  But, once you get your gentle fingers, it gets easier and you eventually end up with sutures that stay in...

Suture success!

Of course, add in the tongue, blood, spit, and the fact that we're going to be doing this in a cup-size hole and the skill gets immediately more complicated, but for now, we're doing pretty well. :-)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Yay, first post!

I'm so excited, after months of telling myself I should create a blog, I've finally decided to get off my bum and do it!  Hopefully I'll just be able to post little ramblings on my life at dental school/graduate school and padding in between. Which also means I should start taking pictures of my projects more, haha!  So it'll be a bit bare here for a while, but I hope to post at least once a week! 

Picture from my Longwood Gardens trip, I'll eventually upload more! ^_^