25 Years Later – Dental School STILL Sucks!

University of Tennessee College of Dentistry – A “Dream” Review

My dental school ID. I look like I’m 12 years old!

It’s nearly 25 years after graduating from the gruesome experience of dental school, and I’m STILL having nightmares about it.  Literally.  Last night I dreamed that I had to retake a series of tests on the basic sciences.  I was worried I had forgotten too much about the basic sciences.  And, this is not the first time.  I’ve had “dental school dreams” many times – probably 2 – 3 times a year.

Just to be clear up front…  I love being a dentist.  I guess that should be a foregone conclusion for those who know me.  But, even if this blog is your first introduction to me, the blog alone is evidence enough.  Dental school didn’t ruin me for dentistry, thankfully.  I “blossomed” after dental school.  A lot!

I’m 48 years old, and I still occasionally have dreams / nightmares about school.  It really does speak strongly about the mental “trauma” exacted upon us.  I know I’m certainly not the only one.  Many dentists tell me they still have school dreams, too.

Every school is different, and there are some exceptions, but the systematic hazing in dental school seems to be nearly universal.  Full-time faculty were the worst and usually only offenders.  Part-time faculty were sought out by students whenever they were available in hopes of being treated at least humanely.

Mentors?  No.  TORmentors?  Yes.

At the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry (UTCHS), some of the full-time faculty ruthlessly berated students.  It was done in front of other students and even patients in the clinic.  Some instructors were heard bragging to others about how they “gigged” a student.  Lab wax-ups were smashed.  Freshly-placed amalgams were dug at with sharp explorers creating “shy” spots, so they would have to be re-done… again and again.

Late night in the ZIP house lab, trying in our first dentures.  This photo cracked me up back then, and it still does now.

Dental school… HOO!  What is it good for?  Absolutely nothin’… say it again.

At UT Memphis, some of our instructors even challenged some of my classmates physically when there was a disagreement.  “Boy…. maybe we should step outside and settle this.”  This reportedly happened more than once.  This is DENTAL SCHOOL!

Good ol’ Dr. Reid, who taught some of my classmates’ fathers, was famous for looking at anything you had done and muttering, “Won’t work.”  He was one of the fairly “harmless” guys, actually.  Then there was “Diamond” Jim.  He made me do my first occlusal amalgam in the ivorine tooth 32 times before passing me.  I think my record still stands.

My ship: USS Independence CV-62 (now retired)

I’m not kidding when I say that joining the Navy right out of dental school was like going to summer camp for grown-ups.  The military treated me professionally.  It was quite refreshing, relaxing, and I learned a lot in the Navy.  I credit the Navy experience for igniting my love for dentistry.  Since then, I’ve been a C.E. hound, averaging about 100 hours a year.

My ship (USS Independence CV-62) was the first response to the invasion of Kuwait (Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm).  I was in a WAR ZONE, and I DON’T have nightmares about THAT.  Dental school?  Yes.  Persian Gulf War?  Nope.

Gee…  Why doesn’t anyone want to become a dental school instructor?

Several years ago, the ADA News published a series of reports speculating about the reasons for a shortage of faculty.  Dental graduates were not showing an interest in pursuing academic careers.  I wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the following issue.  (I’ve looked, and dammit… I can’t find a copy.)  In my letter, I did not mince words and explained that our instructors were the antithesis of role models.  It has nothing to do with lower salaries and the perceived rigors of being a professor.  It was simply a matter of abhorring our instructors and having no desire to become one of them.  They weren’t mentors.  They were TORmentors.  Who aspires to that?

We competed in the World Championship BBQ contest every year.

The letter was published unedited (including calling out the University of Tennessee), and it created quite a stir.  I was swamped with letters, emails, and phone calls from all over the country – all in support and thanking me for writing the letter.  In the following issue of the ADA News, the letters to the editor were all about my letter.  Most in support.  Some against.  Not surprisingly those in opposition included letters from dental school instructors.  Go figure.

Interestingly enough, among the personal letters I received was one from one of my (good) dental school instructors.  He agreed with my points and was apologetic on behalf of his colleagues.

I later heard that some of the students at UT pasted copies of my letter all over the school, leading to some very annoyed faculty ripping them down.  I guess I won’t wait for an invitation to speak at UT’s alumni and CE meetings.  :)

One day I got a call at the office.  My office manager said, “Dr. O’Callahan is on the phone.  He says he’s from the University of Tennessee.”  UH-OH.  I didn’t recognize the name.  But, I took the call.  To my relief, it wasn’t anyone on the faculty.  Rather, he was a graduate… FIFTY YEARS AGO.  He was now retired.  But, he said this (and I quote, as I’ll never forget):  “I just wanted to thank you for that letter you wrote.  Those sons of bitches STILL don’t get it.  I graduated 50 years ago, and I’m still pissed off.  I’ve told Dean Slagle when they finally start treating students right, then he’ll see my donations.”  This old guy was FIRED UP.  I was laughing my ass off, too.

No love lost

But, the school wonders why alumni donations are scarce.  One of my classmates said, “I wouldn’t piss on them, if they were on fire.”  Another classmate put it a bit more colorfully, “I wouldn’t give them the steam off my shit.” 

During my last semester, I had to scramble for those last credits to graduate on time.  In fact, I borrowed more money just so I could actually PAY THE CLINIC FEES for my patients to entice them into treatment.  That’s right…  I paid for the patients’ treatment, so I could graduate on time.  I finished my last credit on the last day the clinic was open.

Don’t worry.  Be happy.

I really love being a dentist.  But, I don’t owe a thing to UT Memphis.  And, I’m not looking back (except in my subconscious nightmares).  It is, however, noteworthy that it’s VERY common among dentists to have these nightmares.  We WERE traumatized, and nothing good comes from that.  We harbor resentment towards our alma maters instead of revering them.  To my knowledge, medical students do not experience such hazing.  Nor should they. Neither should dental students.  It’s simply wrong, but it has been perpetuated as a sick tradition.

Copious amounts of alcohol dulled the sting of dental school hazing.  I won’t name the future dentists in this photo!

I have succeeded despite UT Memphis.  I almost didn’t graduate on time.  I re-did my first amalgam 32 times.  For four years, they told us, “the golden years of dentistry are over.”  They seemed to enjoy telling us we’d never be successful (like them, HA!).  Thankfully, good friendships among classmates kept us sane.  That… and a steady flow of alcohol.

Dental school graduation with my Mom (RIP) and brother.

The best revenge is living well.

But, look at me now, assholes! :P  I’ve turned into a darned-decent dentist.  I’ve been published many times.  I’m on the national lecture circuit.  I even teach clinical courses… outside of traditional academia.  I DIG this stuff!  It’s my religion!  Get me talking about dentistry, and you won’t get me to shut up.  It’s guys like me that you WANT as faculty.  Well, logic says that you’d want guys like me.  But, you sear our brains with your extreme negativism and hazing, leaving us with no desire to even step foot on campus again.  Donations?  Not if your very existence depended on it.

Now… GET OUT OF MY DREAMS, will ya?  :(

PS…  I just noticed this is my 88th blog article.  I graduated dental school in ’88.  Coincidence??

PPS…  I’ve been a prolific photographer since I was 12 years old.  I didn’t take a single photo inside the UTCHS College of Dentistry in Memphis.  There wasn’t any memory there that qualified as a positive one to be recorded.  Not one photo of actual dental school.  Hmmmm…

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72 Responses to 25 Years Later – Dental School STILL Sucks!

  1. Steve Markus says:

    Mike, the problem is those without the interpersonal skills to make it in private practice augment their meager income by teaching. So few taught because of their desire to help train future dentists. They were not trained educators. Their didactic skills were based onthose who tortured my father in dental school in the forties, and so it continued back thru time.

    The fear of not graduating takes students trained in scientific method, and separates them from using their brains, but rather, following dogma like the safety and inertness of Hg fillings promulgated by the credentialling organization: the guild that was formed in the 1800′s and is now the ADA.

  2. DrDan says:

    I had virtually ALL the same instructors that you did at UTCHS….including Diamond Jim. In fact, his daughter was in my class. I guess I’m fortunate because literally NONE of them bothered me the entire time I was there. Guess I knew how to stay below their radar. But….I DID witness much of what you describe. IMO “the ‘breath” was the WORST one of the bunch. I personally witnessed him dress down a classmate IN FRONT of the patient there in the clinic before giving him a 50 along side a big “F” written in red ink on the grade card. He told the student (in front of the patient) “you mutilated that tooth!”
    My advice to all dental school students is to just fly low…..stay under their radar…..keep your nose clean (figuratively)….and hope they don’t notice you and therefore leave you alone. Your goal is to survive the experience and just get outta there with your degree.

  3. Jay A. Nelson says:

    My daughter went to undergrad at the same university where I did my dental training. When we were touring, I decided to show her the dental school. Twenty five years after graduating, my stomach was still doing flip flops when I entered the main clinic!

  4. The Dental Warrior says:

    It’s truly amazing how universal this dental school experience is.

  5. Although most of us graduated and passed the boards ‘on time’, there were about 5 seniors who either failed the state board the 1st time around, or were deficient in a few units. They remained in the clinics throughout the summer, preparing for the next boards and finishing their requirements.

    Although I passed ‘on time’, a close friend in my dental class didn’t, and worse, had to endure the taunts of one newly-minted p/t assistant professor, an actual fellow student in our class. This particular graduate for some reason vastly enjoyed pimping on these 5 students who, just weeks before, were all equal and in the same senior class as he. Talk about low self-esteem!

    So one day, when my friend phoned me at work, complaining to me yet again how this former fellow classmate turned into a real jerk with a capital ‘J’ today via his new teaching position in the summer dental clinic, and who was giving my friend a hard time, I had had enough.

    I left my little associate position in the city, drove back to UCLA Dental School to meet my friend for lunch, and moments later found the asshole, and confronted him: ‘Look, we all graduated on time, so why are you pimping on your fellow classmates?’ He naturally told me to ‘butt out, its none of your business, Ed’. I responded, ‘Hey, we all went through 4 years of tough times, is this how you’re going to be with other dental students? I think you’re disgusting, you shouldn’t even be teaching with your attitude. You’re an asswipe.’
    THAT pissed him off. My former classmate’s face turned red, and just walked off, speechless. A moment later, he turned to give ME a ‘rude look’ and I just childishly flipped him off, and walked away, where my friend and I continued our lunch, a smile on both our faces. Immature? yes, but did it feel good!

    Later that day, my friend told me that the other 4 members who were still in the dental school environs, and who still had to ‘watch their demeanor’, also gave me the thumbs up sign when they heard what I did Apparently after that, the jerk also lightened up on them, or so I was told.

    And yes, I still have my occasional nightmares about dental school. Who doesn’t? At least this confrontation was indeed a moment to remember in a positive light.
    Ed

  6. I also went to UCLA and actually have a good dream where I confront one of my Dick professors (Richard “Dickhead” Matsueda) and kick his arse.

  7. Alvaro Fernandez-Carol DDS says:

    Dear Mike and fellow colleagues, I rarely have the nightmares anymore but they were quite disturbing. Why instuctors needed to be such pricks is hard to understand. And the heads of the departments were often the worst. How can you expect donations to the school after creating such animosity? I am thankful for what they taught me but a bit of thoughtfulness on their part couldn’t have hurt. I’ve never sent them a dime. I even thought of creating a legal fees fund so students coulkd have some muscle on our side. Put a little fear in the good ol’ boys network. They certainly did a number on me and a large percentage of my classmates. Oh well, I like to believe I’d make an exceptional instructor: patience,knowledge, guidance, encouraging words. But never in a million years if today’s faculty are anything like when I went to school.Living well is the best revenge. All The Best in 2012!!!! AL

  8. Steve Markus says:

    One of my friends took over 5.5 yrs to get out of Penn, and finally had to sue, or threaten suit, to get his diploma. Psychiatrically devastated by the experience, he “retired” after less than 5 yrs of practice. But what was worse was his roommate Freshman year developed night frights. He was found dead, in his bed, of a coronary, before his graduation year was over. Has anyone ever run across his tormentor, Dr. Austin Robbins?

  9. Dave says:

    I guess I can’t complain about my experience. There are definitely some jerks, sure, but I’ve usually been able to hunt down the good instructors and work with them instead.

  10. Mark Frias says:

    This universal nightmare exists in hygiene school too; just on a smaller scale. Most of the instructors were either dicks, or in our case “bitches”, clueless, or didn’t know how to teach AT ALL. As a male hygiene student I was lucky enough to escape much of the wrath, but for my female classmates, crying seemed to be a weekly, sometimes daily event. I think some of the instuctors got off on that.

  11. Anna says:

    I must say that my dental school had many wonderful instructors. The full-time faculty was extremely helpful, inspiring, and definitely approachable. We were treated as colleagues . Never demeaned or made to feel inadequate in anyway. I went to Baylor College of Dentistry and can confidently say that it was a tremendous experience and I am indebted to not only the education I received but also to the many wonderful mentors. I loved my dental school.

    • Lolabees says:

      Great post! So true about seeking out the part-timers. Though I must say, it bothers me when people say that the reason the teachers work at the dental school is because they are losers and can’t make it in private practice. We used to say that all the time in school. It’s really a defense mechanism to put them down for being such douche-bags to us students. I chose to leave private practice (and the entire career,) but it’s certainly not because I couldn’t make it in private practice, or because I have no people skills. It’s because I didn’t want to make it. I bet there are many teachers that simply didn’t like private practice.

      Why they’re such a-holes? I don’t get it. We had our share too. Especially those OS boys. They thought they were better than everyone else. We had a restorative teacher named Beninger, aka Begin-again-inger. I managed to avoid her throughout, but she would make people start over for the stupidest reasons all the time. I even was bullied by a female instructor until I stopped kissing her a** and started being a bitch back. Funny– she quickly changed her tune and became my BFF. You’re right.

      This is why many won’t donate to their schools. Good for you for speaking up about this. I had some really good times in dental school (appears you did too) but it was a pretty tough time. They can do better. I doubt they’ll ever change though.

      • The Dental Warrior says:

        Thanks for commenting, Lolabees. I truly believe the reason so many instructors are assholes is because that is the CULTURE of dental schools. Like attracts like… Law of Attraction. And, the “leaders” in the school do not see any reason to change the culture. I guess that makes them assholes, too! :)

  12. edward mcgrath says:

    Yeah school sucked balls. I’m in federal prison now for pills and its less stressful than dental school was.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I had a truly horrific dental school experience and I definitely agree with all of your points. The faculty preyed on students and psychologically tormented them to a great degree. The problem in my view has in fact worsened. Faculty, in addition to performing their classical shenanigans, only respect those that want to specialize and push many students into GPRs. If you disagree with them you are labeled a troublemaker and are constantly harassed. I, as you can probably assume, did not go the GPR rout and have been making my bones in private practice dentistry. I love private practice dentistry because you can start small and get more complicated as you gain more experience in addition to getting paid. The only way to really learn is by doing it in the real world and gaining experience. Compared to some of my friends that went the other rout, they ended up in the same situation I was when I first started out in practice. How do you see 20 patients when you have only seen four a day in the GPR? How do you get patients to say yes to treatment? How do you adapt to your environment? How do you do recession dentistry and for that matter what is recession dentistry? Hell most faculty, especially the full timers, with the exception of a few had no idea of these things. This is evidenced by the 3 visit treatment plan, the 10,000 dollar treatment plan for a patient on disability, the endless consults for a PFM crown on number 30 with half of the tooth missing, etc. I just can’t fathom how a competent general dentist cannot ok a crown or a bridge without having a prostho consult. This stuff still gets to me even after being out for several years. People need successful dentists to emulate not a bunch of jokers (Drs. Oakley and Odonnell)

  14. Barnslayer says:

    Wow! I thought the child beating instructor tradition was unique to NYU.

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  16. MooseDMD says:

    As a recent graduate (May 2011), I’ve only had a small amount of time to get used to the nightmares. Most of them center around the test taking from first and second year and the board exams. My clinical time was relatively easy due to the fact that I was in a special program that let me work/learn out of a small clinic about 100 miles south of the main school. I got to live at the beach and actually enjoy my senior year of dentistry far away from douche-bag professors, it was great.
    That isn’t to say that the one I encountered during the first three years didn’t leave a lasting mark. One that sticks out was during fixed-prosth preclinic sophomore year. Our teacher, who I’m sure is a great prosthodontist, was named Dr. Ab-Yusef (pronounced “Abusive”). That is not a joke. What nightmares about clinical things I do have, almost always center around her teachings and her search for (and always finding) an ‘undercut’. I failed the first few prep/temp practicals in her class due to “illusion” of undercuts. Finally, I said to her “If the undercut is an illusion, why do I get an actual ‘F’?” She didn’t find it as funny as I did. I went on to pass the class and graduate without issue, but that still pisses me off.
    Another thing that I didn’t have to deal with as much due to the the program I was in my senior year, but I heard about nonstop from my classmates was labwork and the Q/A professors. One teacher was infamous for refusing to send cases to the lab due to the fact that the indices on mounted models were not large enough. He would make a student bring the patient back in, do another face-bow transfer (which is totally necessary) and make them pour up another master cast and mount it again just to fix the three little notches you put so that a lab can re-mount it faster.

    The above video kind of shows the story from the other side, how faculty probably see 50% of dental students.

  17. Matt McGee says:

    I too am an escapee from UT Memphis. Despite having some good friends as classmates, those 4 years were some of the worst in my life. It was such a huge let down to be so excited when dental school started, and then realize that these guys are actually instructors?! Occasionally they would have someone new and great on the faculty, but they didn’t last long and usually left for another university. I think it is terrible the way the students are treated, the way WE were treated. Graduation wasn’t as much of a celebration as it was a relief to be done. I was just glad it was over.

  18. Tom Hadley says:

    I arrived in Memphis two days before school started in 2000 and left the day after Graduation in 2004. I haven’t given a dollar or a flip since. Some of the same old surly instructors are still there but the ones who have retired or died off have been replaced by people with overall educational value. In fairness, some of the best instructors I’ve ever had are mixed in there too (I’m looking at you Tony Wicks, Mike McBride, Lawrence Weeda, and a few others). I think the abuse is a little less but the value of the education is as well. For instance, I do more crowns in a week, sometimes a day, now than students do in two years of clinic. Oh and they can get credit for “sharing” a crown. Overall, UT still does a better job of exposing students to real world dentistry when compared with other schools. I hear all the time about young dentists who have never done molar endo, sectioned a tooth, or even seen a veneer. We did get all of those things, with a side of abuse mind you. UT would probably be the best school in the country if the overall faculty culture changed. Maybe we can take over.

  19. Mike Cook says:

    I should have punched this instructor out! It was my sophomore year. The week before finals my younger brother was killed in a motorcycle accident. After the funeral I came back to The Ohio State University to to make up the finals a week late. Most of the instructors were very accommodating, although thinking back no one said “don’t worry about it, I’ll just pass you.” A few of my classmates actually stayed behind to help me study and get through it. Then there was Dr D. He wasn’t so sure I wasn’t pulling a fast one. He wanted to see the obituary as proof. I had to drive 130 miles back home to get the Toledo Blade and show him the obit. My only regret is that I was too intimidated by the fact that he was an almighty instructor to knock his two centrals down his throat. Wow, I feel much better now!

  20. edward hines says:

    I graduated from dental school in 1967. I went to Columbia because my father who had graduated from dental school at U of Penn. had told me not to go to Penn. He had told me a story about a classmate of his who had done a piece of work that his instructor told to do over because it was unsatisfactory. His classmate put the work away for 3 days and showed to the same instructor again. The response was ,”Why didn’t you do it like that the first time.”
    My personal dental school experience was very unpleasant. There was intimidation at most levels. Immediately after graduating I went to medical school. I loved medical school. We were treated as prospective colleagues and the goal was to teach not to intimidate, even though in medicine an error can be life threatening. I completed my residency and practiced medicine for 35 years.
    The clinical aspect of dentistry is procedure oriented and viewed very subjectively. What is good or even acceptable work is judged subjectively. I learned to practice quality dentistry but the experience was unpleasant if not painful. I have never donated any money to my dental school but I have donated money to my medical school every year since graduating.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Thanks for sharing your story, Edward. That’s amazing that you went from dental school to medical school. I had friends that were medical students at the same time and place. They were not hazed like we were.

  21. john p bryson says:

    Just discovered your great blog. I am also a UT grad and I still feel the same as you about the experience. I graduated in 1970. The good news is that the nightmares went away after 30 years!

    A group of us in my class made a pact to never give money to UT when they came calling with their hand out. I have kept my word on that.

    Enjoying your blog and have already found several useful tips and products. Thanks

  22. David says:

    Awesome post. I know two dentists that have graduated from Tennessee and both have told me to steer away from it….maybe they had similar experiences (ages from 40′s to 60′s. ) Do you think dental students have it easier today than your generation had it?
    -David, BrushorDie.com

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi David,

      Thanks for chiming in. I see you have started a blog of your own! Best of luck with it!
      While UT was a rough experience at times, from what I hear it is not unique among dental schools. The theme of hazing dental students seems to extend across many / most dental schools.

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  24. Brad S says:

    Thank you for all your posts. It’s cathartic, to say the least, that I’m not the only one who got screwed over in dental school. Our’s was three profs from the prosth. dept. Being an older student, I stood up for a fellow student who was getting berated by one of these numb skull teachers and after that, I couldn’t get anything completed- lab or clinic no matter the quality. I had to fit check a gold crown 21 times as an example. Had a final denture rejected due to phonetics…my patient used a voice box. I could go further with more horror stories, but knowing that I’m not the only one (and I’m sorry we are all in this group) has made me feel much better. Few can understand the complete worthlessness that is needlessly applied to us, I hope our night sweats will end. Thank you again. Brad MCG

  25. Reid Crumpton says:

    UTCHS ’82. I do not feel that Reid or Kaplan were unreasonable (OK, perhaps a little too much “smooth it a little more” from Kaplan but all in all not a bad guy to me), but Diamond Jim, Bubbles, and some other were worse than useless. I personally did not suffer an exceptional amount of abuse, but there were others who did. Some of the best instructors were part time instructors and did not last long. When I accompanied my daughter to her interview two years ago they made a big point of tell us how the culture had changed and their big goal now was to help the student in any way possible. Perhaps they have seen the light, or the “old guard” has been replaced with a more enlightened leadership. Diamond Jim’s daughter is an instructor there now, and my daughter describes her as a rather benign person (to make up for the sins of her father?) They are attempting to build a top tier research university and they have brought in some heavy hitters for that purpose, but that does not always mean compassionate instruction. Anyway, I have not heard any real complaints or horror stories from my daughter, but then again she is always in lab doing work, so maybe there is no time to complain. I will ask her shortly and see her take on this as she is the one who forwarded the link to your blog. I wonder why…. Sharing common misery or a reflection on my horror stories of the past which she does not encounter?

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Reid,

      Thanks for your comments!

      Andrews’ daughter, I believe her name is Diane, was an instructor when I was there. She would look at our wax-ups of “cones” in the lab and unceremoniously flick the “rejects” off the plaster pad with her fingernail and hand it back to us. She wasn’t “terrible.” But, she wasn’t “helpful,” either.

      Ah… the memories!

  26. Ashley Duran says:

    I am looking into being a dentist and am looking at dental schools..
    any recomendations on how to start off, the required classes i should take, where i should go??
    these are all really horrible stories but are there any good colleges out there?
    i reallyyyy want to be a dentist!

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Ashley,

      My intent is certainly not to discourage anyone from pursuing dentistry as a career. I do love being a dentist.

      I read a book about how to get into dental school, and it was a big help. I just did a quick search on Amazon and found a bunch.

      http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=how%20to%20get%20into%20dental%20school

      The best dental school is the one that accepts you. If more than one accepts you, then you get to be choosy. But, I would recommend graduating with as little debt as possible. Accordingly, I’d stray away from the “prestigious” private dental schools… unless you have wealthy parents who are footing the bill. The bottom line: None of your future patients will care where you went to dental school. And, the real learning comes AFTER dental school.

      Good luck!

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  29. Tara says:

    I just love all of these photos – they bring back so many memories of college days! Thanks for posting this and I love reading your blog!

  30. Rachel says:

    Wow!! I am so happy i found this blog and people that I can relate to. I just finished my first year of dental school and I can’t even begin to describe how ruthless some of the profs/ instructors are. It’s so unfortunate that dental school is so ridiculously competitive to get into and prospective students get so excited to start the year yet its a nightmare from day one!! We have jam packed days (8am – 6pm) and of course days get longer starting second semester. And are expected to know and barf out EVERY single piece of information given to us during lectures come exam time – which are scheduled back to back. I took 14 exams in 2 weeks ( head and neck, pharm, path, physio, occlusion, medicine, system anatomy, radiology, etc) 4 months into the program. I’m grateful to have good dexterity but I’ve seen people break down and cry because of the “feedback” they got from profs on wax ups. Can you imagine how sad/ disturbing it is to watch your 31 year old male colleague get emotional over his “unsatisfactory” 7th class 1 prep? And seriously, how many practicing dentist actually sit around waxing??? And then spend 2 hours adjusting height of contour and making the cinculum just sightly more distal??!? And it’s so aggravating when the profs/ instructors walk around as if you OWE them something and its a privilege for you to be in their presence?!? Umm…hello I’m paying full tuition and earned a well earned 3.8 science gpa to be here! Gosh – it makes me sad that I’ve become this cynical person just in this past year and makes me question where I’m heading with my life?!? I don’t want to leave dental school because i actually enjoy the clinical aspect but I’ve lost some dear people in my life this year and this reminds me how short life is – are the 3 additional years of brutality really worth it? I recognize that nothing worth having comes easy in life – but does losing sleep and sanity over it actually worth having? I’m only on summer vacation after 1 year of dental school and I already have nightmares of my dental anatomy prof and operative instructors – what’s going to happen 3 years from now?

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Rachel,

      Hang in there. Fly low… under the radar as much as you can. Work hard. Party hard. We did!

      Your friend got upset after only his SEVENTH class 1? haha! I was just getting warmed up a bit at #7. I did mine 32 times before getting checked off. Today, my dentistry would blow them all out of the water.

      Just get THROUGH dental school. Then the real learning (and fun) begins. And, I mean that in a good way!

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