Friday, May 30, 2008

Denture Drama

Today was a dramatic day!

This morning started out with my bridge patient. We have had some trouble in the past and when she was not there at 9:25 for a 9 am appt I was getting pretty worried. She had answered the automatic reminder system that she would not be coming. It was a big of a struggle to get her to come back for this appointment anyway. Luckily, she arrived at 9:25 and all went well. I was so relieved because missing that one appt. would have made me have to stay into the summer (which I will have a difficult time doing since I have an externship in July).

When I finished with her, I was paged to the Pros lobby. When I arrived my afternoon patient was there. We had given him a lower denture the previous afternoon. He was there at 11:30 instead of 1 pm and said that his denture was unwearable and he wanted his money back. After quite a bit of prompting, I got him to agree to come back in the clinic and tell us what was going on. The overall gist was, they did not fit like his old denture (one he did not like that I am suspicious he lost on purpose to have it remade--but suddenly this was the gold standard). He told me that they were "like a club," too thick and that they hurt his mouth when he tried to eat last night (after trying them for less than a day). He said that he didn't like the dentist we were working with ("he didn't know what he was doing"), that I should fail for making dentures like that, that all of the dentists at the college are bad dentists who can't work anywhere else, etc. He wouldn't let us take a look or make any adjustments and we decided to grant his request give him a refund.

The sad thing is, he said it was too expensive to continue and that it was not worth it. He had already driven out yesterday for his appt and had stayed in a hotel to save on gas money. He was already at the appointment that's purpose was to eliminate sore spots, problems, etc. Virtually every denture patient has problems the next day and often the next week or later. It takes practice and time to adjust. He "knew" too much for his own good...somehow he knows exactly what a denture is supposed to be like, more than multiple faculty members who do this multiple times each day. He is going to have to pay much much more to have it redone by someone else (with probably a similar result) than to stick with it a little bit longer. All because he had dentures before (which he didn't like, either--he seemed to forget this).

I am not feeling bad besides the initial shock and awkwardness sitting with a patient who clearly thought I was an idiot.

Patient: "Look at this denture, how is anyone supposed to wear this? She should go to school."
Clerk: "...uh, she does!"

...all from a quiet old man.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Treatment Progress

So, only about 1 month left of my junior year of dental school. Crazy how time flies.

So far, things are going very well. I have had a few hang-ups and my one Super Block crying episode (everyone gets at least one) last week, but overall I feel I am making progress.

Here is some of what I have done:

Endodontics: 3 molar Root Canals, 1 anterior tooth root canal, 1 internal bleaching (in progress)

Prosthodontics: 1 Complete upper/lower denture, 1 lower denture, 1 removable partial denture, 2 porcelain/metal crowns.

Periodontics: not worth mentioning...I have cleaned a lot of teeth!

I am continuing my work on 2 more crowns, another complete set of dentures, and an anterior bridge.

Wish me luck to get done on time. It doesn't sound like a lot but I have spent hours (or more like days in most instances) with each patient. They have overall been so patient and helpful.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Denim controversy

Has anyone ever heard that you are "not supposed to wear denim skirts to church?"

We are helping with youth conference and one of the "standards" was no denim skirts for our "Sunday dress" day. I know I have at least a few denim skirts and know many many girls who wear them. I don't think I know of any documentation on that.

I don't like when Mormon culture gets dictated as rules! I am guessing this is the case here.

What have you heard? Any other "rules" that bother you?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Go Dutch!

These little kids are riding in the parade in giant wooden shoes!

Abe trying to be Dutch (he wants to be much) in front of the city windmill
Real Dutch friends
There are a lot of Dutch people in Iowa. I never thought much about the Dutch until I got here and started hearing difficult names like Van Heukelom, Van Arendonk, or Ostendorf, to name a few, and hearing all about Central College whose mascot is the Dutch and "If you aren't Dutch, you aint much." I even heard a friend say, "The garbage is under the sink, just like any good dutch family." I guess that is why ours is next to the cupboard (we aren't dutch).

To celebrate the dutch tradition, we went to Pella (one of the very proud Dutch towns in the area) where they have a large yearly celebration called Tulip Time. They have daily parades, food, and people dressed up like dutch people. They even "sweep the streets" while wearing their Klompen (wooden shoes) at the beginning of the parade (I guess the Dutch are also notoriously clean). Picking a tulip will also get you a large fine. They have a Tulip Queen (one of our friend's mom won the honor as a girl even) and a Bergermeister (sp?). They also have some yummy dutch bakeries where you can get dutch letters ("S" shaped pastries filled with almond paste).

To me it felt like Dutch pioneer day. Their Dutch traditions are frozen in time, just like the Pioneer Day celebrations we have in Utah or even here in Iowa City. They don't seem like any of the Dutch people I have actually met. It is nice to see people being so enthusiastic about their heritage. Made me almost want to be Dutch--but I think Sheffield and Jackson are much easier to say than Van der Sheffield or Den Jackson.

Monday, May 19, 2008


The applications for residency programs came out I discovered yesterday. Oral Surgery here I come (or so I hope). I can't believe it is time already! I am a little excited and nervous. I finally contacted a few more faculty members about letters of rec and they said yes (thank goodness). I started my essay and Amber has been graciously helping me a ton with my CV and my essay. She has such great ideas and has really been leading me a long. (She has a blog on such things you should check out as well.)

So, one more busy thing to do on top of school and my research project (that always seems to get put off), cleaning the house, exercising, etc.

Wish me luck!

*Also, I have pros clinic every day this week, for 7 of my 9 appts. Wish me luck for that, as well!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Root Canal Triumph

I was dreading doing an upper molar today in Endodontics. But...

I finished what normally takes me 4 appointments in only 2! Everything went very well. I was lucky the tooth was very straight forward and somehow everything fell into place. Yay!

I may have enough requirements now to be done with Endo. Anything from here on out will just be extra learning.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pet peeve

This morning we had a lecture by one of my favorite instructors. I have worked with him in school and also in volunteering at the Free Dental Clinic in town. He happens to be a pretty famous dentist and wrote one of the text books that we use extensively as well as students at many other universities use.

At the end of the lecture there were a few students who were making fun and talking about how the lecture was a big joke. I actually learned quite a bit myself. They felt there were a few inconsistencies in the information presented and were making very disrespectful comments. This was upsetting to me although I did not say anything (not sure if I should have or not).

It makes me mad when students purposefully look for ways to make professors look stupid or to catch them in their words. In this instance, they were acting like the instructor was an idiot and they were all very intelligent. I didn't see any problem with the lecture and understood the concepts presented. I just can't understand the mentality of, "I am smarter than the renowned expert who has been practicing and researching in this field for almost 40 years because I am a dental student who happened to read the book (that he wrote)."

Have some humility. Realize before you decide you know more than the expert that maybe you just don't understand the concept. Or, realize that they make mistakes, too, and that we can all improve our communication skills.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Twilight Complaints

I am going to make some enemies with this post. But, I have to do it...

Have you ever read the Twilight series, by Stephanie Myers (or is it Myer)?

I was first introduced to the series by my sister in law. I finally read the books and enjoyed them. However, it seems that every woman I know is obsessed. They think it is so romantic and complain to their husbands that they are not more like Edward. I have even read blog comments like, "Edward is the perfect man!"

For those of you who haven't read the book (and as a reminder for those who have), Edwards isn't even a man, he's a VAMPIRE! I can only imagine how bad we make our husbands feel when he can't even live up to the living dead. We would flip if our husbands compared us to Angelina Jolie or any other woman. (I couldn't think of a particularly riveting female book character a man would lust after. It seems the guys I know read history, war, or John Grisham type books where women aren't of high priority.)

My other complaint is Bella. I think she is a very pitiful character. Talk about no backbone at all. It is supposed to be romantic how much she can't live without him but I wish she would be a stronger character for young girls to look up to. Someone who can be happy and capable without a man in her life. I took one of those facebook quizzes, "Which twilight character are you?" I wondered, am I more like a vampire, werewolf, or desperate girl? My curiousity overcame me. The options were all very revealing with questions like,

"What would you rather do for dinner? Ravage a small town, eat small animals, or cook for your dad?"

I was pretty disappointed when it said I was like Bella. Then again, the other options didn't leave much up to chance.

*Sigh* I guess I'm just not much of a romantic. I can't imagine wanting my Abe to be like a cold skinned vampire.

With that said, I like the curiousity about the vampires keeps me reading. I'm just not into the romance of Edwards annoying "velvet" voice. What does that mean?

Anyway, posters let me have it if you must!

Thursday, May 8, 2008


They say everyone falls on their bike with their clip in pedals once.

Guess I am pretty clumsy because I fell again today. Both times I clipped out of the right pedal when I stopped, lost my balance, and slowly toppled to the left. My poor left knee! It was at a busy intersection. Embarassing. Luckily I was on the sidewalk.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Why are people mean?

So I have been trying to get ahold of a patient to schedule the rest of her appointments. Basically, she is my hardest remaining pros case and I need to get her scheduled just right or we won't finish on time (and I am still crossing my fingers that everything will go well as it is). I can't schedule my other patients until I have her down in my appointment book.

I called (for the second time) and got her husband (again). I asked if there was another number or time I could call. He got upset and asked me what the problem was (I think he can't decide it I am a telemarketer or not).

I explained my situation, that his wife was my patient and that I am trying to coordinate schedules with her so we can finish our treatment on time. He got annoyed and took my number. I started to re-emphasize that the sooner she calls me the better because we are getting down to crunch time. I also wanted to let her know that I know she has an upcoming appointment scheduled but that we need to book more out.

He told me something like, "Hey lady, now you are just rattling." I was shocked and didn't know what to say. He said with a tone, "My wife will call you back," and hung up on me.

Anyway, it doesn't sound nearly so rude in type, but I was pretty bothered. She is the one that came to the dental school to see me! I thought she wanted treatment but I was treated like a bill collector or something instead of the good samaritan I am trying to be (okay, an exaggeration, but it is in both our benefits to finish this treatment).

I just don't understand why people have to be mean.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

More breath help

So, I remembered I forgot some of the most important daily breath hygiene advice from my last post...

Clean your tongue--everyday! This is something very often missed but is very important if you want to prevent bad breath. Brushing the very back of your tongue closest to the throat is the most important. A variety of bacteria can live in this area in the recesses of your tongue and literally create stenches that resemble feces, corpses, vomit, sulfur, etc. Gross!

Getting back there can be a bit difficult if you are a gagger but I think you can get better with practice. There are many different devices that can be helpful besides your bulky toothbrush. Some of the flatter ones are better for easier access. There are some products on the market that have a built in tongue cleaner on the flip side of the toothbrush. These probably aren't your best bet because the bristles tickle your throat and cause you to gag. You should be able to find some good tongue cleaners in the oral hygiene section of your favorite store.

More incentive: If you do not brush your tongue you can get a build-up of the keratinized layer. This can give it a hairy appearance. Gross! I was going to post a picture but I don't think anyone would appreciate it. If you are curious look up "hairy tongue."

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Bad Breath Busters

So I have been looking for a good product to fight bad breathe. I figure this is an important marketing ploy for myself. No one wants a dentist who has bad breathe for two reasons: 1. with all of the up close and personal time in the chair and 2. how good of a dentist are you if you have halitosis?

So, I was glad when we had a lecture by our pharmacist on good suggestions only the next day.

My favorite is a zinc concoction called Tri-Oral. You can get it from your dentist. Or, there is an OTC version called SmartMouth. We got some at WalMart to try for only about $10. It comes in two bottles. You put a few squirts of each into a cup, swish, and whallah, good breath for about 8 hours! Abe and I have been using it and I can see, it really seems to work. A similar zinc product is in Crest Pro Health Night if you are looking for a Toothpaste.

As far as what to stay away from, the whitening mouthwashes are all a hoax so stay away from the white bottles, they aren't worth the extra money. The only way to whiten your teeth is to use high concentration agents or with long duration. A mouthwash is neither of these.

Most commercial mouthwashes such as scope are only perfumes that will last about 10 minutes. Listerine can be a better option or Lavoris (also has zinc).

Hopefully you can all have happier mouths (and friends)!