Friday, December 19, 2008

SNOW (and ice)

The storm hit hard last night. Everything started with freezing rain which is now insulated with INCHES of snow. It is hard to tell how much from my window inside but enough where I am concerned with walking to shool. As if that weren't bad enough for patients making their appointments, I can see the snow falling quite rapidly now. Crazy! The College of Dentistry is like the post office, "Come rain, come sleet come snow," come no patients at all, we will be there (minus a few days in the flood, I think the only cancellation, EVER). I have come to terms with the idea my patients will not be seen, I will not deliver the rest of the crowns I have in my drawer, but I am dreading the treacherous walk to school (and for what?).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why I am nervous for my last day of school...

One more day update

We had a huge day of cancellations because of "weather." So far, nothing is yet brewing (a little frustrating when patients cancelled for morning and afternoon appointments...for nothing?). Rumor has it that it will hit at 5 pm. Tomorrow is supposed to be a pretty dire day for patients coming. I am hoping I get lucky!

Today I delivered another crown, did a denture adjustment, and delivered two bleaching trays. I finished a major case and another minor case, as well as a crown graduation requirement. I only need a molar root canal and 2 periodontal surgery assists as far as specific requirements go. I am feeling good about that. I also made my goal of reaching 3000 points before I leave. If all goes well, I will only need about 500-600 more to pass with a "D." This is one of the few times I have felt relieved that the saying goes, " 'D' is for dentist." I need 3800 to graduate.

My afternoon patient did cancel which was frustrating because so far she is my only hope for a board patient (and may have 2/3 of my requirements). I wanted to get new x-rays to verify.

So, what I have left before tomorrow at 4:30pm:

1 gold post delivery (30 points)
2 gold crowns (the remakes--the new one looks better on the model) (83 points)
check out of my unit
1 bleaching tray delivery (which is not going to happen)
1 mouthguard delivery (also not going to happen because patient was too afraid to drive in today or tomorrow)

I'm not sure what the procedure is for the mouthguard or anything else that wont be delivered. The faculty does not yet know.

Things are working out with a few hang-ups!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Left before Christmas:

3 crowns
1 post
1 mouthguard
3 bleaching trays

2 days, 7-8 appointments to go (usually I have 2 appts per day)

5.5 months until graduation...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another day

A very large snow storm hit town. Somehow, I managed to get 1/2 of my patients in today.

This afternoon I delivered my implant crown-- 6 months later. What a relief, I don't think I could have rescheduled him.

This morning my recall patient came at 10:30 instead of 10. I had another pt scheduled at 11 and so had a classmate see her. My 11:00 patient then did not show up, meaning I made a classmate do a cleaning I could have done myself and I got no points for the morning, again (going strong on point-less mornings, haha what a pun).

Tomorrow I am delivering 2 partial dentures. I hope he comes despite the snow. This is a graduation requirement...

Monday, December 15, 2008

One week countdown


One week to go before I leave the dental school for over 14 weeks! I've already had a few set-backs but I am learning to take things in stride. Usually, Abe says he can tell if I've had a bad day within 2 seconds on the phone or in person with me. I'm doing better at fooling him.

This morning I was supposed to deliver two crowns on a patient. One of the crowns did not have the correct contours and needs to be redone. It needs the other crown to get the correct contour between, I had to put the temporary crowns back on, speak to the lab (earliest it can be redone is Friday--cutting it close), and rearrange the three patients I am already seeing on Friday. Luckily, the openings I was lamenting in my schedule have been a blessing in disguise with these rescheduling issues. Unfortunately, the temporary crown broke (the second time) so I got to make my third temporary for this one tooth and spend my second day getting no points for this patient...again, getting better at not freaking out.

This week we have a few days of wintery mixes and snow coming up. We are already getting patients cancelling for Thursday in anticipation. Tomorrow we are expecting up to 7 inches of snow (the forecast said dry, fluffy--I hope so!). This could spell bad luck for the:

2 partial dentures
4 crowns
1 gold post
1 bleaching tray

I need to deliver before Friday Dec 19 at 4:30. Otherwise, it will be March 27, 2009.

With some of these headaches I am feeling more and more hope that I will make it into the OS program. I would love to never have to send back a crown or redo a denture again.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Susy Snowflake

The Iowa Winter has officially begun. Abe and I ice skated to school today. When we arrived, we were not surprised that almost every patient at the College of Dentistry cancelled their appointments. So much for finishing my dentures today. My afternoon pt was going to brave the weather until I informed him the highway was not moving.

It rained last night. Then it got cold. Then it started snowing. This is what the forecasters call "Wintery Mix." Kudos to them for using a term that sounds like a yummy holiday drink or one of those fluffy cool-whip desserts. In reality, it is much much worse.

*I miss the "Greatest Snow on Earth*

Sunday, December 7, 2008

O Christmas Tree

As far as I remember, we always had fake Christmas trees growing up. Funny enough, people always commented on the great fresh pine scent from our tree (placebo effect?). Abe's family tends to go with the real trees. This year was my first time going to a tree farm to choose a real tree. Last year, we bought one from the grocery store.

This is the tree we could probably actually afford. Luckily, Abe's parents bought us a more festive one. Thanks! We happened to choose a pre-cut tree instead.

They asked us if we wanted our tree "shaked" to get out any dirt, needles, etc. We said yes, thinking they would just shake the tree up and down while they carried it. They actually strapped it up to a "shaker" machine, much more efficient. The tree looked like it was giggling--it reminded me of tickle-me-elmo, minus the red fur. I think that gave us a good jolly start to our tree.

Then, they woosh it through this handy tree wrapper tube thingey... And tie it to your car. So easy! Luckily, it was a beautiful, warm (for winter) day.

I don't know who decided to put full sized, cut trees inside, light them up, and put ornaments on them but it definately makes things seem more cozy and Christmas-y!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanks Colt

Thanks for putting up with my music sampling. Thanks Colt for your cool music. In actuality, I really don't like music on blogs! It sounds like such a great idea. However, even when it is music I really like or enjoy, it comes on so abruptly. I find it startling (even on my own blog). And...often I am not on a computer where music is appropriate. It seems the pause button is always at the very end of the page and if you ever navigate away and come back you are thrust into a new song. So...for this reason, I decided to remove the music from my blog in case anyone else feels this way.

Am I the only one?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

7 months 2 days

We had our orientation today for our extramural rotations--10 weeks outside of the college of dentistry. It made me realize how quickly time is going by. Come Dec 5 I will be 7 months from graduation day. I am getting very close to fulfilling most of my minimal requirements. I am having a very difficult time keeping my schedule full. Of the 25+ comprehensive care patients I have been given, I will be down to about 6 when I get back!

Here is my schedule:

Now-Dec 19: finish as many patients as possible and get the others to a stable place
Jan 5-Feb 6: St Luke's hospital in Cedar Rapids, IA seeing kids
January 27: Match Day--oral surgery news
Feb 10-March 13: Broadlawns community health hospital (lots of extractions)
March 13-20: Spring Break
March 20-23: WREB licensure board
March 26-May 30: Finish requirements and patient care

My anxieties right now: Finding patients for boards (I'm nervous about this one for sure)! Driving to Cedar Rapids everyday in the snow. Finding out about OS and making plans for next year. Keeping my schedule busy enough.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Things have been busy and hectic the past week but I know you have all been dying to hear all about my new phone...or at least my mom, who is hoping I like it so she can get one herself.

It arrived on Tuesday. However, despite our note to the FedEx guy to leave it at the door, he never came inside (didn't bother with the keypad entry) and it went back to Cedar Rapids. Another disappointment. Luckily, Abe and I just happened to be heading up to Cedar Rapids to go to Sam's Club for our church Christmas party that we are in charge of. Weird coincidence since we go to CR about 3 times a year.

We were able to get it up and running by Wednesday afternoon. It has taken some getting used to as far as figuring out how to type on the touch'n click screen. It is getting easier. I have heard some complaints that it is a bit slow which I would agree with a bit, but I guess I'm still so amazed by internet in my hand that it doesn't bother me. It has come in handy many times already.

I'm new to blackberry and the PDA so I am still pretty excited about the email application. It is strange to receive email like a text message. The speakers are amazingly loud and clear for such a little guy and I am happy I can change my ringtone to any song on my playlist (right now "The Grinch"). I have word, excel, directions and maps, and even facebook at the touch of a button. It has a 3.2 MP camera, video abilities, and you can watch movies. Fun.

So far, I'm loving it...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Blackberry blues

I am getting the new blackberry storm. The key word here is "GETTING." I have been anticipating it since Sep when I was told it would be released the first week of October. Finally, it was released on Friday Nov 21. Abe went at 9am to purchase the phone for me, an hour after they opened. Unfortunately, they were sold out at 8:45 (so close). The manager promised he would overnight ship it and it would be here by Monday.

I was pretty disappointed on Friday when I came home and heard it was sold out (the store was only given 10 phones). This afternoon I discovered that yet again it would not arrive today. Bummer. I don't normally have a problem waiting but when you've had a bit of a rough day and have something exciting to look forward to it, it can be very disappointing to find out it didn't work out. *Sigh* At least we ordered it right away, I guess most people who ordered it even within a few hours after us wont get it until Dec 15. At least mine is on its way from Memphis.

I'll let you know how I like it when it finally arrives (hopefully tomorrow). I'm not going to count on it again.

PS thanks for the check, Mom! It was sent the same day as my phone was by standard shipping and arrived today. So much for overnight shipping.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


As some of you may know, I have already vented about frustrating gift cards. However, months later I have still encounted numerous frustrations that I feel I should warn you about.

In July 2007, we were given a very generous gift from some friends, a $50 Vanilla Visa gift card that could be used anywhere. Wow, right? Unfortunately, with all of our other gift cards, we let it go months without use. After the first 6 or 7 months, the $50 started deducting monthly fees. By the time we went to use the card, it had been inactivated and was losing money each month. I went through the trouble of having a new, active card sent to us (for a fee) so we could use the card before it depleted to zero.

We received the new card right before my birthday. On June 30, 2008 I activated the card by calling the phone number on the card. When we tried to pay for my birthday dinner, the card was declined. I figured it needed some extra time to go through their system so shrugged it off. I tried again to use the card months later after activating the card, and still, no use.

Last week, I called the customer service to re-activate the card and inquire about what was going on. I was notified that the remaining balance was $30! After a huge phone tree run-around I was able to talk to a representative who I informed of my difficulties in using the card and my frustration in losing $20 when the card was unable to be used. Finally, she gave us the full $50 on the card and said it could now be used and would accumulate a fee again in December.

This week Abe tried to use the card two times and was again declined! Finally, he called again and was told we had a $30 balance. Abe told how we had just been given the $20 back last week. The rep told him that he saw that but that could only be done once, he could give us $10 was all. After some more talking with the supervisor, we were finally able to get the $50 we had arranged only a week previously and somehow spent the money. We were so glad to be rid of that headache.

Sorry this is such a long story, but it really was. I don't know why the card never worked or why after only a week they decided they wouldn't honor the agreement they had given us. Obviously, they don't have the customer at heart when the customer probably rarely hears back about the problems with this card. My recommendation:

Stay away from Vanilla Visa. They will definately be on our blacklist.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

LIfe keeps rolling along...

I had no patients today which made me very frustrated. For some reason I feel picked on and upset when I have nothing to do--if a patient cancels or fails their appointment--and I feel desperate to find something to do. This afternoon I finally got called to OS for a screening (a 20 minute appt). Then, I had to do a screening in another department just as the OS emergencies poured in. So, instead of getting to extract teeth and get some points, I reviewed a medical history and made an x-ray for a grand total of 8 points, 14 for the day. If I get less than 30 points per day I feel pretty annoyed. I have been trying so hard to work hard, be efficient, and finish my major cases before I leave for my rotations in one month! but it is hard when you have to rely on patients to make it in. I need to get used to it for private practice when it is more than graduation credits, but being able to pay the light bill and the staff.

On a good note, I am really excited for the blackberry storm that comes out on Friday. I may have to ride the wave of trendy-ness and go for it the day it is released. My phone is ready to retire.

And, a shirt I have wanted for over a month ago at Banana Republic was on sale for just $9.99 today. I am glad I waited. I have a BR credit card that sends me gift cards for BR. I wanted to use the $10 card but I guess I am required to spend at least the amount the card is worth before tax. Bummer, the shirts was one penny too cheap. Haha.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Preacher Plug

While in high school my brother formed a band called Concubine. Now that he is away at college he is working on a solo project he calls Preacher. I am really impressed with his musical talent. He knows so much about musical theory, different bands and songs, and of course, is a talented musician on both the guitar and the bass as well as playing the piano and writing his own songs.

So, I have featured some of his songs here on my blog. If you feel like some of the songs may be a little "hard" for your liking, I would recommend my favorite, Grace for Kelli. Hope you enjoy. He has a cd if you are interested!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Soup Savvy?

I think it is winter...but I have been in a huge soup mood lately. I have made so far a very healthy garden veggie, cheeseburger, and am anxiously awaiting my chance to make my mom's zucchini soup recipe. Somehow, I am still wanting more. Anyone have any good ones they would recommend?

Also, for those of you unaware, my husband is an excellent cook, especially baker. He has some great (and mostly fattening) recipes (with pics) to share on his blog.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Last interview

My back-up plan for next year if I don't get into OS is looking more and more like it will be the general practice residency at the hospital (GPR). Today was my interview. I was surprised to see so many people from all over. I kind of suspected to see mostly Iowa students there, of which I was the only one. I was also surprised to see I was yet again the only woman. 

The interview itself was very casual. The interviewers assured me I was a very competitive applicant and they had already heard a lot about me both in person and by letter from some of my instructors. That was nice to hear. My second interviewer had to leave and I was assigned to interview with one of the oral surgeons. Since he had just interviewed me a few weeks ago, they skipped that. So, the interviewing itself was very short (less than 10 minutes) and low stress. They were positive and very supportive of my interest in specialty training.

So this is what will happen:

In December the GPR program will let me know if they want me. They are willing to wait for me to make my decision in late January after I hear back from the OS match. However, this does not mean they will hold a spot for me. So, my back-up plan does pose a risk as it is not a sure deal, even if accepted. More waiting game...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Crazy 8

In a bit of a blog lag...

8 shows I watch:
1. Prison Break
2. The Office
3. Lost
4. Reruns of the West Wing
5. CNN political coverage
6. …we don’t have cable, I watch everything online or DVD…

8 Things I did yesterday:
1. Cleaned teeth on two patients
2. Made radiographs (x rays)
3. Removed sutures
4. Did a post-operative exam and surgery screening
5. Removed a second molar
6. Assisted in the extraction of two teeth
7. Ate dinner that Abe made me
8. Went to Cedar Rapids to Sam’s Club to check prices for our Ward Christmas Party menu

8 Places I love to eat:
1. Texas Roadhouse
2. Three Samurai
3. Cheesecake Factory
4. Which which sandwiches
5. Wig and Pen
6. Giordanno’s Pizza
7. Greek Islands
8. Red Lobster

8 Things I look forward to:
1. Finishing my denture patients before Christmas (I hope!)
2. The release of the new Blackberry Storm
3. Getting back in shape
4. Becoming good at basketball
5. Warm weather and biking again in shorts
6. Going home for Christmas
7. OS Match Day January 26, 2009!
8. Summer 2009 knowing I am now a dentist--passing clinical boards, licensure, and knowing my plans for the future

8 Things on my wish list:
1. Blackberry Storm
2. Home for Thanksgiving
3. Tropical vacation with SCUBA diving
4. OS residency at U. of Iowa
5. An “A” in my last class, Family Dentistry
6. More storage space at my apartment
7. Manageable winter
8. Time to backpack across the world

8 people I tag:
1. Diana
2. Brenna
3. Colton
4. Caitlyn
5. Abby
6. Nicole
7. Heidi
8. Shawn

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sad Politics

Tuesday I found myself very grateful walking from the ballot box. Not only are we as citizens allowed to vote, but I, as a woman, am allowed to vote and do not have to rely on my husband to make those decisions for me (esp this time...). Anyway, although I may have been disappointed some of my candidates and issues were overruled, I am grateful we have a democracy where people get to decide.

That is why I am very sad about all of the hub-ub over Proposition 8 in California. Here is a blog that explains well why I am many others from our church supported its passing.


It makese me extremely sad to see how this use of democracy has been turned around to point the finger at others who chose differently. Actually, it makes me sick. We elected a black president but we have a long way to go in other ways...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My patient the flip-flopper

So I thought I was frustrated a few days ago when I posted my last post. Here is the update:

Thursday last week: Pt is in pain and decides to get a root canal to save the tooth
Monday: Pt calls to say she wants extraction
Tuesday AM: 30 min conversation with patient; patient decides to go ahead with root canal
Tuesday PM: Pt calls to clerks to say she does not want appt at all; I am supposed to call pt to verify
Tuesday PM: Pt will not answer phone and has no answering maching
Wednesday AM: I am wondering if she is coming in or if I wasted a whole afternoon appt on her, or if she is coming...does she want a root canal or an extraction? These require different clinics, hugely different procedures, faculty, instruments, appt starting times, and whether or not I need an assistant.

I guess we'll just have to see.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tooth Pain

I think the economy has taken a bit of a toll on the dental school. It has been harder to get patients in (people are no longer willing to make a 2 or 3 hour drive for 1/2 price dental work) and many are choosing cheaper work over ideal care.

I am currently working in the admissions clinic which is the emergency filter clinic for the school. While I get no points for the time I am in there, I have learned a lot. For one, it is interesting to see what different people classify as an "emergency." Some people come to the EMERGENCY clinic to request a cleaning; others are clearly in so much pain they can hardly move, talk, eat, sleep, think, etc. I have learned a lot about diagnosing tooth pain and learning just how awful mouth pain can be.

One of the hardest requirements to fulfill this year is molar endo (a root canal on a molar). I found one such patient last week. She was young and after talking about options, she decided she would let me do the root canal instead of have the tooth taken out. I was so happy! Her appointment is this wednesday. Today I got a message from the clinic clerks saying she wants the tooth out. I am hoping it is the pain talking. ...I wasn't happy. And you can't just go from Family Dentistry to Surgery without notice.

Does anyone need a root canal? It is only $190 for a molar and you get my beautiful company.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A SCARY Halloween

I decided that Halloween as an adult just isn't the same as Halloween as a child. Kids wear cute costumes and go with their parents house to house and overload on candy.

Adults, at least "adults" here at the University of Iowa wear not so cute costumes and do things their parents would rather not know about from bar to bar and overload on beer.

Abe and I decided to take a trip downtown to get future costume ideas. Here is what we learned:

1-pair bunny or cat ears with your favorite lingerie for an instant costume

2-be a professional (nurse, police officer, pilot, marine, etc) but add a little spice to it with a micro-mini and some thigh high stockings or garters

3- if really desperate, wear your favorite undie/bra combination under a men's white button down shirt for a "next morning" look

4- or, my personal favorite, can't find a shirt to go with your oversized fireman overall pants? No worries, just cover your nipples with the straps and no worries!

...In actuality, I found it very sad. Sad, that innocent costumes like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz or cute bunnies, bumble bees, angels (?!), and respected professionals turn into girls selling themselves out for attention. I have never seen so many bums hanging out of skirts and shorts in my life. It is sad that the messages we send women are that being sexy is more important than anything else, and that careers dominated by women (nursing, cleaning, teaching, etc) are opportunities to show some leg. You can be anything from a "sexy dead girl" to "sexy garbage man," things that are not sexy. Halloween has long been one of my favorite holidays, but not if it is just an excuse to wear lingerie in public.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What a great day...gas and milk both less than $3.00 per gallon.

Gas $2.19/gal...filled my whole tank for $26.99!

Milk $2.65/gal...more expensive than gas. Yay.

Monday, October 27, 2008

National Boards....check!

After 2+ weeks I got my National Board Scores in the mail. I got a little nervous opening the letter but was relieved to see I received almost the same score as last time, just one point less. On most subjects I did much better than the national average; pharmacology was the only section I did slightly less.

Thanks for everyone who said a little prayer for me while I jumped through this big, long hoop towards my dental career. One more task checked of my graduation check list.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Last night as we were leaving a friend's we were met by a few drunk guys. One stopped us as he happened to recognize Abe from HS basketball over 10 years ago. He told me what a great guy he was (like I need any reminding) and that he looks like Superman. He gets this quite a bit. I'm not sure if it is a specific superman or just the superman image in general.

This got me thinking about celebrity resemblences. I have been told on many many occasions I look like Princess Lea. I seem to get it less but I still get it every once and awhile. I couldn't find any bun pictures but maybe the hood will simulate her crazy hair. What do you think? Have you ever been compared to a celeb?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Breakfast anyone?

So Iowa isn't necessarily known for its tourism. True, we have the Field of Dreams, the birthplace of John Wayne, and American Gothic, but we just don't see many out-of-towners here if it isn't for school or residency. I think part of it, however, is the ignorance of potential travelers. Look at these pictures from our very own Brandon, Iowa, just about 40 miles south of Iowa City. The __ largest frying pan (it isn't the "World's largest," they may just advertise it as the "State's largest"...wonder why "the frying pan"-- to have multiple competitors for?). It makes for great photo-ops and memories that will last a life time. I am sorry I don't have the picture of Abe standing up pretending he is a frying piece of bacon, but I think you can imagine.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

NW Iowa Does Weddings

I have never before been to NW Iowa before attending my friend's wedding. I wondered if it was anything like I expected. Yep, in a lot of ways, it was. We were hoping we were dressed appropriately until we saw some of the other guests. Although we were in a fancily adorned catholic church, others around us felt shorts denim shorts and tube tops, etc were appropriate attire. Although the picture below looks like a typical festive crowd, I urge you to take a closer look at the pink shirted man in the center. I was a little shocked to see his shirt unbuttoned almost to his belly button, with his chest hair and gold chains showing themselves quite well. We weren't too worried after that about being too casual.

Also, Abe and his brother have been interested in facial hair since Abby's wedding when they started growing beards. Abe felt he had found a golden moment when he captured 3 handlebar mustaches in one frame!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wedding, Iowa Style

Good thing I was wearing black or they might have mistaken us for the bride and groom!

A diverse group--from L-R: Hispanic, Scandinavian, African-American, Persian, Taiwanese

My friend J was the first of my close female classmates to tie the knot. We traveled with a group to NW Iowa. The drive itself was pretty exciting, I'll have more posts to share on that later.

Some thoughts on weddings:

1) they made over $1000 auctioning off their garter! She must have rich/good/drunk friends or she is more popular than I thought

2) maybe you should rethink the huge tattoo on your back for your friend's strapless bridesmaid dress

3) the father who married them didn't include the, "You may now kiss the bride." I didn't realize this was the highlight until we missed it. I kind of wondered, "So are they married now?"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Iowa Tax Dollars At Work

On a recent trip to Northwest Iowa I was pleased to see our tax dollars at work! Not only was every mile conveniently marked with a sign, but each tenth of a mile was marked with a convenient marker. Thank goodness, we knew exactly where we were no matter how far between each mile we were. Can you imagine the emergency usefulness,
Me (in an emergency):"Yes 911, we have a problem."
Dispatches: "Ma'am, be calm, where are you?"
Me: "Well, I'm not sure, somewhere on I-20 I, wait, looks like mile marker 221."
Dispatcher: "That's a long stretch of road, Ma'am. How do you expect us to find you in that mile?
Me: "Oh wait, it says 221.2."
Dispatcher: "Okay, we'll be there."

(Click on the pictures to enlarge them so you can actually see the mile markers)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Now time to wait...

After about 12 hours of walking around in high heels, I completed my Oral Surgery interviews at the University of Iowa. Friday afternoon we began at 1:00. "We" included me along with 8 other guys, all from the Midwest/Great Lakes states, (3 others from Iowa). We toured the hospital, the VA hospital, and the dental school (thank goodness I broke in my 3" heels at Abby's wedding), had a meeting with the program director, and were required to write an essay. We then had dinner at Taste on Melrose, a restaurant in our neighborhood I have been curious to try, with the residents. Afterward, we went downtown to play some pool. This was all an opportunity for us to ask our questions of the residents and for them to decide if they could stand working with us for the next four years.

This morning (Saturday), despite crazy game traffic and chaos, we arrived at the hospital at 7 am for a series of three interviews conducted by 2 members each of the staff surgeons. My first interview had some tough questions but overall I felt it went very well. My first question was on the person who has made the biggest difference in shaping my character. I talked about my father who gave me the confidence and support to do anything I wanted and taught me to live a life of integrity and honesty. When I was leaving the interview, the surgeon told me, "I am not sure if I should tell you this, but I hope if my daughter were interviewing she would say the things about me that you said about your father." I felt I must have made some impact. They also asked questions about my involvement in sports and lacrosse.

My second interview (after about 40 min wait period) was a little tougher. I was given a few questions I could have answered better but oh well. The trickiest part was answering some specific questions on dental knowledge. That made me squirm a bit.

Finally, I met with the head of the program and the head of hospital dentistry. I was pleased with how positive they were. I was told the program director found my essay to be interesting and she had some questions about it. They seemed impressed with the scope of my extracurricular activities and I talked about my goals as a SCUBA instructor to illustrate my interest in teaching. Overall, I think it went very well.

What happens now?

Most candidates will continue to interview at many other schools. Iowa will hold one more interview date (9 more candidates?). I will finish my GPR application before Nov 1. Each candidate upon completion of their interviews will submit their ranked list of programs to MATCH. This is the same system the medical school uses which consists of each candidate ranking their schools 1 to ... and each school ranking their choices. The MATCH then attempts to line people up. So, I will rank Iowa #1. If Iowa ranks me in their top #2 spots I should get in. Otherwise, it will depend on if the people in front of me choose another school. We will see!

Monday, October 13, 2008

I have been very busy this weekend. Luckily, I finished my Board exam at 9 am on Friday. Yay. I decided to spend the day doing things I wouldn't normally do, so I got my hair done (not at the Twin Image place, BTW) and started a project framing a mirror I have been too intimidated to start.

Abe and I then spent the weekend in Sheldon, Iowa 5 hours away for my friend Jamie's wedding.

This evening I worked at the free dental clinic in town and am preparing for my mom and sister to arrive in just 2 more days!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


My first day of boards went well, at least as far as I can tell. Instead of taking the allotted 8 hours, I finished in only 3 and 15 minutes (finished at 11:00 am). I chose to spend the afternoon in Oral Surgery and getting some lab work finished instead of taking the day off.

So, just a few more hours to go tomorrow. Thank you everyone for your encouraging words and support! I look forward to taking the afternoon off tomorrow, maybe adding some color to my hair (?) or doing some projects at home. It isn't very often I have a Friday afternoon to myself.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Tomorrow is the big day(or day one of two big days). Wish me luck. It finally hit me (9:20pm before my 8:00am test) that I am NERVOUS. I shouldn't be, I think it will go well.

Monday, October 6, 2008

October is a scary month

October is turning into a very busy month!

This week I will be taking my National Dental Boards Part II. This is a two day test that will include questions from prosthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, pathology, radiology, ethics and behavior management, pharmacology, operative dentistry, case presentations, etc. This is the second of two national written computer tests I must pass in order to become licensed as a dentist (this does not include my clinical licensure boards). I really haven't been stressing about it but the fact it is so close is beginning to put a few butterflies in my tummy.

I also have a few other tests for school, some assignments, and I have been trying to keep on top of lab work. This weekend I will be in NW Iowa for a wedding, I have my OS interview next week on Friday and Saturday, and my mom and sister are coming for a visit next week Wednesday! At least the time will go quickly so they will be here before I know it.

So, if I am non-reachable or anything please understand why. Also, a few prayers my way would be appreciated for this important big test and for my interviews.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Iowa Mission of Mercy

Yesterday morning I met at the dental school at 4:30 AM so I could ride a bus with about 50-60 other dental students and faculty and hour and a half to Waterloo for the first Iowa Mission of Mercy. Unfortunately, the bus thought we were leaving at 4:30 PM and did not arrive until after 6, but that's not the point.

Over a two day period the Iowa Mission of Mercy provided free dental care to anyone willing to wait in line. Thursday night the line started at about 3 AM of people wanting to ensure they received dental care. On Saturday, my 4:00 PM patient said she had been waiting since 8 AM. We worked in a large convention center that was donated by the city of Waterloo with probably over 100 dental chairs lined up in rows and rows for cleanings, extractions, pediatric dentistry, etc. Pts were first screened for significant medical histories, were triaged and given a list of top dental priorities, and were then sent to the numbing station before waiting more to be escorted to a chair to receive their first priority care. If the patient finished in time, they could get back in line and wait to get the next issue on their list taken care of.

The morning was a bit frustrating trying to get the portable units and equipment worked out. Over the day I was able to see some people with some definate dental needs including a 7 year old girl with at least 5 teeth on their way to dental abscesses and a woman who couldn't smile any more because of the decayed state of her front teeth. I was grateful we could help these people take care of issues that were not only affecting their mouths but could have a significant effect on their overall health. I pray that the little girl's mom will have the resources and courage to take her to the dental school to get the other cavities taken care of before they become dangerous.

In two days the volunteers dentists, hygienists, and other medical personnel were able to treat over 1200 patients and perform over $500,000 worth of treatment. I hope to find ways to do this in my own practice on a regular basis. It is obvious there is much dental need with people who feel they have nowhere to go.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Ugly Twin

There is a salon close to our place called "Twin Image." After almost 3 years, the name continues to puzzle me. Maybe as a twin, I think about it too much. But whose twin image is it? Is it implying that if I go there I am becoming the pretty twin, overcoming my image as the ugly twin? This seems to be the only way I can think this makes sense. But, it really isn't very flattering to me (twin or not) and not a very good way to win over my business by insulting me in this way. (Then again, if I don't go I guess I will never get to be the pretty twin.) Thank you, "Twin Image," for confirming my fears, that yes, I am the ugly twin.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Diana tagged me and I have to write 6 quirks about me. Problem is, I don't have any!

1. I am a really weird sleeper. I have vivid (usually nightmarish) dreams almost every night often including friends, classmates, family members, etc. They are so weird I often feel like I should tell someone about them. Somehow, people (esp acquaintances) feel like being in a dream is a significant or perhaps erotic experience. Then I feel embarassed. They probably wonder, why did she dream about me? Who knows. Also, I wake up and say weird things. Abe has a routine, "It's okay Erin, go back to bed." I am so weird that he cannot tell when I am awake or asleep at night. He tells me often that I am asleep when I feel I am not. We get in arguments where I get frustrated and angry. The problem is, most of these episodes occur when I am awake enough to know what is going on but not awake enough to make any logical sense. I realize this and it makes me mad. I guess maybe I have always been mom said I would wake up as a small child screaming in the night.

2. I love dentistry and I love teeth. As such, I notice teeth. I can tell you a lot of the anomalies of most of my friends or classmates teeth. I don't do this out of judgement, I just notice. Kiera Knightley or that blonde chick from Grey's Anatomy have teeth that really bother me. I guess I hold them to a higher standard than my peers. "You're famous, how come you have such crooked teeth!" However, I don't really notice the teeth of my family members. Maybe I've known them too long and I just look past it. I love the chance to look in my friend's mouths and love hearing about dental appts. Dorky!

3. I am a recovering germ-a-phobe. I have a hard time sharing food with anyone besides Abe and maybe my family members. Sometimes I feel embarassed for this. The other day I made a comment about some birthday candles at my in-laws that looked a little suspect. They went to very much trouble to clean them well in soap and hot water. Then I felt bad. It is hard for me when I know what is in people's mouths! I SEE what people harbor in there and I know there are over 900 types of bacteria in the mouth. That is just different kinds, not total numbers! Somehow it seems like you are a social phobe if you aren't willing to share a spoon or a cup. This makes cookie-dough and double dipping a huge no-no that I get teased about.

4. A secret ambition has been to be either a comedian, radio talk show host, or writer. I love the idea of being someone people listen to, esp for entertainment, but also for advice or good info. Perhaps this is why I like blogging. I like the idea of people being interested in what I have to say. Dentistry may be my next best option. My patients are forced to listen to me talk. Too bad I'm not good enough yet to talk and work much together.

5. I have weird toes. I'm not just saying this so you'll comment and say, "No, I'm sure they aren't that bad." I know they are weird. I have had many many people notify me of this over the years. I am not ashamed or embarassed, I have come to terms. But, they are so weird my mom once asked in concern, "Should we get you plastic surgery for your feet?" and my uncle always made fun of my aunt for her feet. One day I saw her in sandals...I know where I got the toes from.

6. I have a huge booty for my size. I never knew anything of it until college when it became a huge topic (no pun intended) of conversation for all of my friends and roommates with a similar situation for my twin sister with her friends. I had a roommate aske me once, "Why do you always stick your bum out when you pose in pictures?" I felt bad until I realized one day, I don't, it just sticks out! I only realize my full booty potential when I receive compliments like, "Your booty is too big for a white girl. I knew you had some color in you." and when I walk along reflective windows. Only lately has it bothered me. I hope I don't become a huge pear when I age!

I tag: Amber, Amber, Brenna, Caitlyn, Eva, Abby, and Nicole (and Colt if you want).

Monday, September 29, 2008


My patient this afternoon wouldn't get numb. Poor thing. It took 6 carpules of anesthetic, about 10 different injections, three clinicians, and probably 1.5 hours to finally get her numb enough to finish our procedure. Wasn't as productive an afternoon as I had hoped. In instances like this, I have dentists from every specialty to call on. I never would have anticipted 2 straight forward fillings would be so challenging. I wonder what I will do when I am on my own in private practice?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Zucchini Soup

I am always looking for ways to use more vegetables. I have been craving zucchini soup like my mom used to make and found a recipe that sounded great. When I tried to make it I realized I was missing some of the key ingredients. Here is what I came up with mid-saute. Turned out great!

2 T butter
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp chile powder
zucchini, chopped (I used one but I think 2 would be better)
2 c. chicken broth (I used chicken boulion with water)
1/2 can coconut milk
lime juice to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

1. In laurge saucepan, melt butter over med heat. Add onion and saute for 5 min or until soft. Add garlic and chile powder and saute until fragrant, about 2 min. Add zucchini and saute for 5 min, until soft.

2. Transfer zucchini mixture to a blender or food processor. Add 1 cup broth and puree.

3. Return the puree to saucepan. Stir in remaining broth and coconut milk and simmer over medium-low heat for 30 min. Stir in lime juice, sugar, salt, and pepper.

It didn't make a ton so was just right for the two of us. If you wanted a bigger recipe I would double the broth and coconut milk and add up to 4 zucchini.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Help the Poor

I still hope I will get more comments on my last post but I will post something new today, anyway.

Cardboard sign caried by local IC begger:

"My family was kidnapped by ninjas. Need money for karate lessons."

Friday, September 26, 2008


At church we always talk about "the natural man is an enemy to God." I don't like to think of myself as an enemy to anyone, but I realized I definately let the natural (wo)man rule much of my life. For example, here are some of my current goals (current meaning as long as I can remember).

- 10:30 bed time and 6:00 wake up. Sometimes I stay up doing nothing but can hardly get up in the morning.
- cardio and strength training regularly. I often do one or the other, but not enough of either.
- clean up after myself. I can't seem to keep my tiny apt clean with just me and Abe. Too much mail, school junk, and long days that make me lazy
- eat more fruits and veggies. I think I do pretty well but there is room for improvement
- make and live by a budget, something I all too often fall of the band wagon with.
- take more pride in my appearance (goes back to #1--sleeping in too late to often wear make up. I figure why bother when I am in scrubs, anyway. Regardless I am a scrub)

I feel like I am a master at following through with long term goals. Things like, "Go to dental school." and more importantly, "Graduate from dental school." I have a hard time being consistent with the day to day tasks and habits.

If anyone has any tips, ideas, etc for helping me overcome my natural man, please comment!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Good news!

I got invited for an interview for Iowa OMFS (Oral Maxillofacial Surgery)! I was really beginning to think I was may be behind on hearing back and would not be considered. I am still trying to keep a realistic view about things but I am excited that they are at least giving me a chance!

Oct 17 is the big day.

Catch up

California was nice. The weather was beautiful, I thoroughly enjoyed the beach (even if I wasn't diving), and the wedding went well.

However, it was hard to leave for 4 whole school days. Yes, we are given 8 allotted days off and 2 extra for boards...But, when you leave you do not get points. We need to have 3800 at the end to pass. Each procedure has a relative point value. Things like cleanings are 6/hour. Crowns are 40. Dentures 80. At a minimum, I like to get 15per clinic session (morning or afternoon). When you break down the total I think you need 30+/day to pass. So, leaving for 8 appointments was a little hard for me to be too excited about.

To top it off, my "make-up" the past few days has not been too successful with a failed patient on Monday morning, a morning with 9 points on Tuesday, etc. Luckily, today I started in "DAU" the "Dental Assistant Utilization" clinic. With the help of an amazing professional assistant I was able to do 8 fillings in one clinic session. 20 surfaces, 8 fillings, and 5 teeth. 68 points in one session. What a relief.

We are also graded on productivity. They extrapolate all of our expenses and our gross revenue for a year to let us know how we would do in private practice. I hope the $1650 worth of work I did this afternoon helped. I know I am a long way off from private practice, but I felt good about my effort today. And, my back felt good, too!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Poor silver nokia razor phone no longer lives. I turned him (or her?) off to make my flight today and he could not be resusitated (spelling?). I'm sorry to have shortened your potential life by turning you off before your battery ran low (which at this point wouldn't have been much longer, you just weren't keeping up the power like you used to, no offense). I wish you could have held out until Abe got home or for me to retrieve my phone numbers.

Thank goodness I just got an email a few days ago saying I am up for a new phone. Seems suspicious how close to this time it decided to die.

I may be needing your phone number.

And...any ideas on new phone models for a soon to be dentist?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fact: I was a Siamese Twin

A local theater put on a production of, "The King and I." I was excited to hear a friend was appearing in this dramatic event as I too am a "Kind and I"-er.

When I was in first or second grade my mom took us to an audition for the play at Provo High School. The big time, I know. I don't remember anything about the audition but getting funny clothes that looked like they were made out of curtains. We must have been pretty good to be chosen as one of the king's 67 children. Very competitive try-outs. My memories are pretty sketchy of the event, so today was a nice way to relive them. Here is what I remember:

My sister Amber and I were the twins. Only now do I realize we were Siamese twins!

Singing "Getting to know you" over and over again.

Someone said our "mother" (who was very blonde and white) accidentally dropped her skirt during the show (unfortunately I missed it back stage)

They painted our hair black and put it on top of our heads with fancy buns covered with those gold bun jewelery crown things. I thought it was oh-so fancy. They also painted our skin brown and gave us very big eyeliner almond-eyes. I wonder if this was politically correct or not? I am really not sure (the play today was much less believable with blonde children). Also, if they went to all of this trouble to get us in character, why was our "mother" allowed her very western look?

I was allergic to the body paint. I remember lying in the tub and noticing the brown water as it washed off (with relief from my itchy skin).

I forgot my line, "And other countries so big." Or something like that, I still don't remember it. Walking home from school an older girl asked us which of us forgot our line. Being very honest and a loyal twin, I quickly pointed to Amber. I couldn't understand how the girl knew it was me.

Hope you enjoyed some of the "wonderful and new things [you're] learning about [me],"

Friday, September 12, 2008

White White White

Coming to the dentist unfortunately is not many people's favorite things to do. True, there are a few people that LOVE the dentist (usually those with perfect teeth, no cavities, etc), but for the most part, people feel somewhere along the spectrum of anxious to fearful. One of my most heard lines are, "I hate the dentist." (Why thank you, I think this appt is off to a great start!") This may be second only to, "I HATE needles." I don't blame people, I feel mild to moderate dislike for both going to the dentist (as a patient) and needles myself.

But, once there you can do some fun things! Tooth whitening is a popular elective treatment that many of my friends and patients ask me about.

OTC whitening options are many. The basic principles between bleaching are (1)-duration (amount of time bleaching agent is in contact with the teeth) and (2)-concentration (of the bleaching agent). You can use these principles to guide your OTC whitening purchases. As you can imagine, a toothpaste, gum, or mouthwash that are in contact with the teeth only a few minutes are very unlikely to yield any noticeable results. If anything, they may help remove staining such as tobacco or coffee stains from teeth through abrasives in the paste. White strips do work but follow the directions. People can become addicted to whitening. Don't go so far that they teeth are too opaque and chalky looking. We call this look "chiclet teeth" like the square mexican gum.

The best results are achieved by having custom trays made by your dentist. Your dentist will have a consultation with you to determine what has caused the staining and what the best options are to improve the color. Usually, a set of impressions will be made. The impressions will be poured up in stone as a model of your teeth. Soft plastic trays will then be made off of the casts to fit your mouth. Trays will be worn at night 1 week or until the desired shade is reached. Teeth can be retouched as needed. This is a more expensive way to go but will yield the best results. For some with staining caused by old metal fillings, severe fluorosis, some medications, or tooth trauma, other methods such as surface abrasion, internal bleaching (after root canal treatment), or even veneers or crowns may be other options.

Doesn't Brenna look happy knowing bleaching is on the way?

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fun in Iowa

Brenna made a very spontaneous trip this weekend to visit us in Iowa. I was so happy to see her and show her Iowa City. Here are a few of the fun things we did.

Homemade pretzel making
Stretching our minds with a game of Scrabble
Eating at Atlas
More eating
I am glad Brenna and Abe are good buddies
One of my favorite things to do with my family, chatting on the couch
Eating (again) at famous IC original Hamburg Inn 2 where all of the presidential candidates visit
Hawkeye Big 10 football
Me being frustrated we couldn't get into the lab at school
More mind games, "Mexican Train" like we used to play with grandpa. Is that politically correct? If not, is it okay since we have a Mexican heritage?

Thanks for making the trip Brenna. Maybe you can write a travelogue plug for your new favorite state.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Iowa City here she comes!

After much to do with United airlines, my sister Brenna is coming to visit! I am so excited, she is the first from my family (or of my friends) to come since my sister Amber and her husband Russ passed through last year (Amber also visited for a cold and rainy spring break one year) and my dad dropped me off. We had a lot of trouble getting the airline to accept her travel voucher so it was a pleasant surprise at almost 5pm when Abe told me she is in fact coming tonight. Talk about spontaneous!

Now, we just have to make her very short trip memorable. Iowa football game tomorrow (even if we just wander around all of the tailgating), maybe a tooth cleaning if I can fit it in (fun!)? I feel the pressure. I need her good PR skills to spread the word about the amazing tourist potential Iowa City, IA has!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More Obama thoughts

Abe was pretty excited (well, kind of) when Obama made the promise he would be one of the first to know his VP pick by text message.

The night before the announcement, I was on The banner read something like, "Obama chooses Biden as VP running mate."

Abe was in Cali so I texted him to see if he knew. No, he had not received the text. About 5 minutes later, the banner disappeared. Abe received the text a few hours later notifying him of the Biden pick.

My only thoughts: I thought journalists are always trying to get the news first, to scoop each other. If so, why would they renounce their news banner?

...perhaps because the liberal journalism circuit favors Obama?

CNN online Editor: "Oh no, you can't put that up yet! How will Obama look when he didn't have the chance to send out the text? Hurry, take it down before anyone else sees it! Good thing only losers are on on a Friday at midnight!"

So much for getting the scoop first from CNN.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Did any of you watch the DNC tonight with Obama's speech?

All I can say is, all of Obama's supporters have bad teeth! No wonder they are voting for the man selling universal health care!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Burger woes

Abraham just returned from Malibu, California. Yes, he was gone for another trip, this time to help his brother get moved and situated before he starts law school at Pepperdine.

I was glad he was able to go, if for no other reason than to use up some complimentary In'N'Out Burger coupons that I have had for over 5 years. This is how I got 7 free meals to my favorite burger joint...

We were on a lacrosse trip for a tournament in Santa Barbara, California. We left straight from school with a van full of my teammates. I drove the entire way from Provo to SB. Upon our arrival, the host family we were staying with suggest we go to the nearby In and Out since that would "be fun for us." I was starving after a long and stressful drive through the deserts of Utah and Arizona and Cali traffic. I eagerly ordered a burger.

After half way through my meal I noticed that my hamburger was pink inside. Upon questioning, 4-5 out of the 7 of us had pink burgers. We wondered if this was okay until one teammate approached the counter and a burger maker yelled, "We've got pink burgers!" The manager got very mad at this...we figured this wasn't okay. She got a replacement sandwhich so we all expected to get one, as well. They ignored us until they finally, one by one, replaced everyone's burger but mine (after many attempts of asking, waiting, etc). I was furious I had spent the money for food when I was very hungry and had nothing to eat. We left the restaurant with me very frustrated by the lack of customer service and a very hungry belly. I wasn't about to order another "E. coli burger" like my dad would have called it.

The morning we were set the leave the tournament I woke up about 4 am with exquisite belly pain. Food poisoning! We left soon after for our long drive home. I chugged on a bottle of pepto-bismol and drove in agony for the next 14 hours. At one point through the windy canyons and desolation of Arizona, I begged to be let out to relieve myself over the cliff side if necessary. To my great relief and what I still consider a miracle, we pulled over where a random port-o-potty just happened to be, in the middle of nowhere. Thank goodness!

I had the worst of it, although another 2 girls who had more pink burgers were ill on the way home as well. What a horrible 14 hours!

My feelings of being wronged prompted me to contact the corporate offices and complain. They were very happy to give me 7 complimentary meal passes. I explained the closest In and Out was over 4 hours away and that I was not sure I wanted to return, considering my great experience. They told me the coupons do not expire and that was the only compensation they could give.

So...five years later, at least my husband got a few free meals out of it. Maybe with inflation, it was worth it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Iowa Real Estate

After logging about 400 miles on my bike I feel I am finally beginning to get the hang of it. I no longer feel the pain of my tiny seat or fear coming to a stop and forgetting to clip out of my pedals. I have survived a near miss car/bike love tap and road ragers and 10 miles seems like nothing.

Iowa is a great place for bikers. It must be because they seem to be everywhere. We went on a nice Saturday morning ride last week with the Sheffields and a friend. I love that just a few minutes from our house we can be on beautiful country roads flanked by cornfields, quaint white farm houses, and pretty red barns. And, I am learning to appreciate Iowa's rolling hills. Contrary to popular belief, Iowa (at least Eastern Iowa) is not flat. It is a series of continuous rolling hills. That makes any ride anywhere from occasionally tiring to extremely exhausting. It makes for good exercise and high speed downhills.

Iowa should also probably be known for its great housing market. Abe and I made a real find, it's probably right up our alley with what we can afford with what we currently have to our name (about -$200K). This "fixer-upper" even comes with its own bus! and is only a short commute to the University of Iowa, nearby shopping, and beautiful parks.

Iowa may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of travel, but the heartland of America is something everyone should experience. Luckily, this summer has had amazing weather in the 70-80's without the humidity. Feel free to drop by any time!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Important thoughts on dental insurance and neglect!

Warning: long but very important thoughts on oral health care! recently featured a video I found disturbing. A young woman without dental insurance crossed the border into Mexico in order to receive more affordable care. While I have heard horror stories and seen a bit first hand some of this "more affordable dentistry" (until you have to repay to have it done) the thing that really disturbed me was the fact that the lack of insurance was keeping her from receiving care. This is a problem I see at school with practically every patient.

The key to oral health really is prevention. Regular check ups and cleanings (called prophys) hand in hand with home care such as brushing and flossing really are the best way to achieve optimal oral health. If you are a perfect brusher and flosser, with no genetic disposition for problems, you may be okay on your own...but most people are not. When people choose to put these important visits off, they are often costing themselves more money in the future. Here is a common scenario:

Patient Y was laid off and consequently lost her dental insurance 5 years ago. Feeling unable to pay, she has not followed up with her dentist since then. Her x rays from her last appointment reveal the beginnings of cavities in multiple teeth, something her doctor felt could be reversed or arrested with proper oral hygiene and flouride treatments. However, going unmonitored by her dentist, these cavities have grown. When she finally arrives at the office for a tooth that has been bothering her, her dentist finds that these cavities are very large and have even created very large holes in a few of her teeth. When regular fluoride treatments, x rays, and exams will cost about $100 a visit, and some minor fillings can be done for about $100 each, she now has to pay to have RCT and crowns (probably about $1200-$1500 per tooth) or possibly extractions with replacements such as dentures, implants, or bridges (all likely costing over $1000-multiple $1000s).

But perhaps you say, I never get cavities...Scenario 2:

Patient Z feels that going to the dentist is a waste of time and money. "That greedy dentist is just trying to get his new car payed off, with my money! I will only go to the dentist every 2 years." However, Z is prone to periodontitis, or gum disease. At is last visit, Z was on the borderline of developing periodontitis with a few areas his dentist is watching for further problems. However, without attention and proper instruction and reminders on brushing and flossing, Z returns with large deposits of tartar (hardened plaque) on his teeth and deep pockets between his gums and teeth. Now, he has periodontitis of which the treatment is scaling and root planing (deep cleaning of the teeth with instruments that scrape off any deposits under the gums) which costs even at the dental school $80 per quadrant (and likely more than double that in private practice). Additionally, he is now on a 3 month recall schedule instead of a 6 month schedule and may need surgery to correct some areas that continue to develop problems. If you want to become your dentist's best friend, develop gum disease!

I'm telling you these scenarios to illustrate just how priceless regular care can be. I see this every single day, patients who have put off the prevention aspect of their care only to have thousand dollar treatment plans when they finally decide to come in (and at the dental school, where the cost is 1/3 to 1/2 the cost!). Teeth that would easily have seen saveable are left to heroics and hundreds of dollars to save. Perio disease that was managed has progressed to severe levels, meaning extensive time and money as well as possible lost teeth. Even people in their 20's having all of their teeth removed for dentures.

Dental insurance really isn't insurance. It is not like your home insurance that will pay for a distaster. Most insurance plans only pay a fraction of the cost of any procedure and max out at at about $1000. Even if you can only afford to go once a year, this may be cheaper than not. A $100 cleaning will be much cheaper than periodontal therapy. Two $100 fillings may be cheaper than crowns or bridges. Your insurance payment may be more than this, anyway.

Finally, if nothing else, oral cancer is a real problem. The survival rate for oral cancer is extremely low and not increasing. The best way to fight it is early discovery. Your dentist should be doing an oral cancer screening every time you visit. I have met people who have found out within the same week that they have a huge growing oral cancer in their mouth and that even with the radical surgeries to remove the cancer, they are unlikely to live for long. Please, please, please, become familiar with your mouths. Take a look in the mirror, see if anything looks unusual and see your dentist regularly who is trained to look for these changes. Hopefully, if you see him regularly you can catch something developing before it becomes a problem.

Happy brushing!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I just finished the last of the Twilight series. I was making some comments to a friend about what I thought of the book...maybe I am a party pooper or something but while I obviously liked the books enough to read all 4 of them, I have some criticisms.

One, I hate many of the names SM chooses for her characters. Not just dislike, but actually quite hate them, esp Renesmee (ugh). I find Bella's character quite pitiful until the last book. The fourth book I felt was rather sexual for a "young adult" = teen book, and I just don't see Edward as that loveable. He seems too controlling or something for me to find him interesting, romantically. The vampire story was much more intriguing to me than any of the relationship drama.

Maybe it all stems back to my lack of an imagination. I remember as a child fretting to my mom about how I didn't have that all too important imagination stressed in all PBS children's broadcasting. She never argued much with me.

To illustrate my point, I really have no interest in Harry Potter. Abe conned me into reading it by buying me the first book. Really didn't get anything out of it.

Am I just an ornery old critic?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


The two so-called discoverers of BIGFOOT have admitted it was a hoax...a frozen rubber costume. Who would have thought they made it all up, and for money?

To think I gave them added advertising by posting about it on my blog. I was such a fool.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Did you hear? They found big foot, Mr. Sasquatch himself. Two men were hiking "very deep in the forest" when their "luck" struck and they found the remains of our hairy friend next to a river. They were also followed by 3 other creatures. They had a video camera but could only manage to get some fuzzy pics of one of the creatures.

Now, they have joined with another big foot hunter and joined his corporation. Somehow their accidental find has turned them into experts, the "" They are also so environmentally friendly that they don't want to reveal the location so they can keep the creatures safe. In fact, they want to keep them so safe that they plan to capture a live one for themselves in the near future. Thanks guys! These very elusive creatures who have never been captured or photographed (reliably) before will definately need the protection of these great environmentalists.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Workout plan

It is amazing how just writing things down can make such a big difference in goal setting. I have really been trying to motivate myself to exercise more but with little luck on following through consistently. I made a calendar last week to write down my accomplishments and it worked...There is something about checking things off a list that compels me to do it. In fact, sometimes I write things down after the fact, just so I can cross it off.

So, to prove my point, on top of my normal routine of walking to/from school, etc, I also did:

235 minutes of cardio (including 37 miles of biking), 2 hours of tennis (Abe is teaching me), and 2 hours of weight lifting, all in 6 days.

I am thinking of incoporating a real goal into this, something like for every mile I bike I get $0.10 and equivalent for other activities to save up for some big treat (we've been thinking about a Nintendo Wii). You could even go as far as to deduct cents for treats, etc. I'm excited mostly to have a plan that will seem motivating once the novelty of my calendar wears off.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

School again

I've been a pretty lame-o blogger the past week or so (or maybe can decide). This has been a bit of a crazy week. Abraham finally got home from a research conference in Bar Harbor, Maine. Two weeks at home all by myself after a long week in Tennessee and youth conference, meaning all of about 3 days together in July. I never said anything because I didn't want to advertise to any blog stalkers that I was home all alone...

Anyway, I am back at school seeing patients again. I am LOVING it. I feel much more like I know what is going on and love the independence (a little surprising to me, actually). However, I am still feeling pretty puzzled about about half of my patients who all seem to be missing the same front tooth. If nothing else, I should be an expert at restoring tooth #7, the right lateral incisor (the one just right of you big central incisor in front).

I have set a lot of new school year goals for myself. I even cleaned my spare bedroom so you can see the floor and walk and open all of the doors! I am excited about this new year and the opportunity to make the last preparations toward becoming a doctor and professional both academically and in my personal life...

...even if my family is in Belize without me.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Trimming back

I always swore I would never be one of those girls who gained weight when she married. I used to wonder what changed that would cause such drastic changes in a girl's waist line. Well, now I know...a lot. I have noticed that some of my pants are fitting tighter and that I am a little softer around the middle than the day I married last year. Some of the contributing factors? I can't say for sure, but here are some guesses: I used to eat really unusual meals at times. For example, I love canned spinach (gasp!). Probably 3 times a week I would have a can of spinach and a salad or other vegetables for dinner. As a married woman who actually loves her husband, I don't think I could submit Abraham to that kind of dinner. The problem is, the food is often so good I eat more OR the things I make are probably higher in fat than the throw together meals I used to make. Not to mention, Abe is an amazing cook who loves making desserts! Secondly, there is a lot of stress that comes into marriage and starting a new life together --the wedding, moving in, establishing your sock drawer and a routine, etc. Not to say it has been bad, but big life changes mean big stress.

So, I have decided to improve upon my waist line once again through a bigger emphasis on health. This week we bought over $20 in produce (I hope we can eat it all before it goes bad). I even bought a jicama to expand the variety. I am now looking for healthy meal alternatives. Any ideas? Today I made a split pea soup and some bread bowls but I need more ideas for lower-fat, lower-cal, more veggie diets. Please share your ideas. You may have noticed that Abe's cooking blog, IronSheff, contains mostly yummy treats!

Saturday, August 2, 2008


The new Twilight book came out today. It seems all of my friends have been counting down the days. I guess even my mom pre-ordered the book. Kind of surprised me! Are you reading the book today?

I would like to read it eventually. I think I can wait a few days to borrow someone else's copy. My big question is, will Bella become a vampire or not? I'm not sure I want her to...too many questions in the air...would she really be happy, could she control her appetites, give up her family?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back to School

Today was our first day back in the clinics. They keep telling us to "get your ducks in a row," that our patients will judge us not on our dentistry but on how organized we appear. Unfortunately, I don't think I have ever been an organized person. I think I have a few rogue ducks in hiding, waiting to ambush my row at an in-opportune time. I decided I better really try to overcome this weakness. The solution: three ring binders.

All of my organized friends use them. There are cute dividers you can use, sticky notes, and other accessories such as the in-the-binder three ring hole puncher. Previous attempts to be organized have ended with my binder lost in my room with a lone syllabus and my papers and notes crumpled in my bag. I decided to motivate myself this year by buying fun and colorful teal and lime green metallic or "durable" notebooks instead of my typical "economy." What a splurge! I even got some of the pretty colorful, translucent pocket-tab dividers...and the hole puncher. Wow. It cost a fortune so I hope I will follow through.

Then again, I didn't punch anything or file it today. I guess old habits are hard to break.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

E. S(c)heff Confusion

I've been lucky. Somehow, for probably the first time in my life, there have been no Erins in my class besides me. Even luckier, no Ambers either (now people don't understand why I would answer to that name, but I definately definately would, and can you imagine the embarassment?). Also, no Jacksons in my class.

But, since I got married, times have changed. There is an Emily Scheff. Seems different enough, right? Yeah, except whenever people are making a quick glance (such as assigning patients, dividing us into groups etc), they often make mistakes. Worse is, often on the computer where patients are assigned or on roles it is abbreviated E. Scheff. People don't know that I have no C in my name so you can see the confusion. Erin Scheff, Emily Scheffield, etc.

Today we were assigned our units for the year. The group I was assigned to was different than my original assignment. I asked if this was okay. The instructor told me I was in group A (obviously) and he didn't know why I got so wrong to think I was a B (maybe because the list said?). I felt confused and a little dumb by the way he had acted like I messed up, and checked into my unit. About 20 minutes later, Emily Scheff pointed out I was in a left handed unit and she in a right handed unit and that she was supposed to be an A but was with the Bs. Yup, the instructor had done the quick abbrev E. Sheff and mixed us up. Thanks for making me feel like an idiot!

I have caught these mistakes quite a few times. How many times have I not caught it I wonder even more? Maybe that could explain some of my grades...I have a hard time believing the graders have been impeccable in their scoring.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hawaiian Breeze

We got a new fan a month or two ago for our bedroom. It has been great, we have somehow managed to go all summer without turning on our A/C. (Going green!...or maybe just cheap). It is called a Hawaiian Breeze. You know, kind of a cheesy name, but I think it is appropriate. I turn it on and lie on my covers, feeling as though I am on our honeymoon again. A nice, quiet, soft breeze. Just like Hawaii.

Problem: I think I have sleep disorders or something. I wake up almost every night in a panic over one thing or another.

This wonderful little fan has two red light sensors to designate the speed and mode it is set to. They look like two red, glowing eyes. I feel like a robot or alien is staring at me at night. I don't think ET is helping ease my night time stress much. It seems so silly but it does make me a bit nervous, on nights when Abe is away.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Concubine Rocks

My little brother Colt just released his first album! I am so excited to get my own copy. He and his band have been working together for years and have finally got some of their hard work together on cd.

Ever since he was a little boy, Colt has had a guitar in his hands. I remember my mom used to bribe him to practice the piano with guitar time. Weird! For every 15 minutes he played piano he could play his guitar for 30, or something like that. He is an amazing bassist and guitarist as well as a song writer. I think he is a musical genius. Not only can he rock, but he understands the theory behind it all which I've never quite got. No matter what we are listening to he can tell me if it is a rumba or a salsa and what time/key/instrument, etc the song is in. Overall, I think he is pretty amazing.

In junior high he played the National Anthem on his guitar in an assembly. Later that week a friend at BYU told my sister about this amazing guy who played at the junior high school, who wouldn't believe he was a junior high student (probably esp hard with the beard he has been growing since 6th grade!). In high school, he was a finalist in a battle of the bands competition at Muse Music from over 20 bands, mostly from college, and his songs are played on the local KOHS station, Utah's most popular alternative radio station. I am amazed at how much he has done musically at such a young age.

Congrats Colt! You can catch a few of his songs now on my blog, all written and performed by his band Concubine.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, what's that smell? Corn, corn corn corn....

Today was my first and final day of RAGBRAI 2008 (Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa). At 7 am I was picked up by a friend who placed my bike on his rack and drove me to Abe's parents. From there, we made our way to Tipton, Iowa, not too far from Iowa City. We parked at the Pizza Hut and made our way through town and into the cornfields on small country roads.

It was exciting to see thousands of bikers, some wearing interesting shirts or hats. Some interesting participants included a guy who was rollerblading across Iowa and a guy without a seat (not sure why you would choose to do that!). There were "Bead whores" who left mardi gras beads along the trail and even a woman dressed as Waldo from the "Where's Waldo?" books with a striped red and white bikini top, goofy black round glasses, and a funny hat, and a group including a large man in pink jerseys and feathers.

Along the way we were greeted by our friendly Iowa neighbors and farmers who waved from their porches or yards or corners. Mostly, we rode through miles of corn fields, occasionally greeted by a familiar Iowa scent...pigs.

After our first 15 miles we stopped in New Liberty, one of the "bigger" towns. My friend Tim told me that all of the "Liberty" towns in Iowa were once refuges for slaves. Interesting. We bought some gatorade which I promptly dropped on the ground and continued on. After another 20 miles, we made it to Eldridge. We stopped with thousands of other bikers for a pork chop sandwich (delicious, actually, even after 35 miles of biking) and a banana. We met a couple actually from the town who seemed to think we were very weird for only doing one day of the trip (sorry we don't own a golf course and can take a week off whenever we want). Each town puts on a bit of a party for the bikers. This town had loud music, food stands, volunteers everywhere. They had rigged up special pvc pipe water stations and even fire hydrant water stations for bikers. By this time I was feeling great except for some chaffing.

Again, continued on. After about mile 40 I was beginning to feel it in my knees and my neck. We passed a small girl on a bike seemingly by herself and many Italians and some French riders. Some of the riders wore women's thong underwear OVER their spandex shorts...??? We stopped for "The world's largest horse...almost" which was a pretty horse but disappointing in size.

About 48 miles in we started hitting the hills. Good timing! (Nothing like some good hills right at the end to give you the encouragement you need to finish!) I was getting pretty tired. We passed over the freeway on I-80 which was extremely congested due to some construction ahead. I guess A group of friendly bikers decided to share the bruises on their bums to the drivers below, perhaps helping them feel grateful they were in their cars, even if they weren't going anywhere.

Finally, at mile 53.5 we made it to Le Clair, Iowa, where the residents cheered us on and met us with balloons and fireworks. The tradition is to dip your front tire in the Mississippi (after dipping the back 400+ miles ago in the Missouri River). I felt a bit like a fraud having only done a mere 53 miles so we found the car my father in law had left the night before and unloaded our bikes. By this time, my knees and neck were pretty sore and I was grateful to remove my helmet and gloves. We walked around a bit, ate some hot dogs and cake, and finally made our way home.

All in all, it was a great time. It was really cool to see so many people coming together, opening their towns and waving us on. It was also nice to see thousands of people exercising and enjoying a slower pace among the open air, silos, and pigs. I was proud of myself for doubling my daily mileage. It was a challenge but the weather was great and the company good. I am hoping one day I will be able to do the whole ride. I figure if the many old, overweight, young, etc people could do it, that I can probably make it too. We'll just have to get a team together and a bus, as well as a place to store our bus all year for this one week event.

An interesting piece of the heartland! I hope you get the chance to experience it sometime.