Choosing a Dental Specialty

Some individuals go into dental school already knowing what area of specialty they want to go into. Conversely there are some who figure it out as they matriculate, and there are others who are just not sure what to specialize in, if at all.

When the third year of dental school comes around the halls are usually abuzz with chatter of people applying to various specialties. It's a worry-filled, yet exciting time for many. There are always the bunch wanting to specialize in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry and Endodontics. Then there are the handful that chooses to go into the less popular areas such as Public Health and Radiology, to name a few.

There are nine (9) specialties of dentistry that are recognized by The National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards, and they are:
Dental Public Health: Dental public health is the science and art of preventing and controlling dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community efforts. It is that form of dental practice which serves the community as a patient rather than the individual. It is concerned with the dental health education of the public, with applied dental research, and with the administration of group dental care programs as well as the prevention and control of dental diseases on a community basis. (Adopted May 2018)
Endodontics: Endodontics is the branch of dentistry which is concerned with the morphology, physiology and pathology of the human dental pulp and periradicular tissues. Its study and practice encompass the basic and clinical sciences including biology of the normal pulp, the etiology, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries of the pulp and associated periradicular conditions. (Adopted May 2018 
Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: Oral pathology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of pathology that deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions. It is a science that investigates the causes, processes, and effects of these diseases. The practice of oral pathology includes research and diagnosis of diseases using clinical, radiographic, microscopic, biochemical, or other examinations. (Adopted May 2018) 
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: Oral and maxillofacial radiology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of radiology concerned with the production and interpretation of images and data produced by all modalities of radiant energy that are used for the diagnosis and management of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral and maxillofacial region. (Adopted May 2018) 
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the specialty of dentistry which includes the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects involving both the functional and esthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. (Adopted May 2018) 
Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics: Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is the dental specialty that includes the diagnosis, prevention, interception, and correction of malocclusion, as well as neuromuscular and skeletal abnormalities of the developing or mature orofacial structures. (Adopted May 2018)
Pediatric Dentistry: Pediatric Dentistry is an age-defined specialty that provides both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs. (Adopted May 2018) 
Periodontics: Periodontics is that specialty of dentistry which encompasses the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes and the maintenance of the health, function and esthetics of these structures and tissues. (Adopted May 2018)
Prosthodontics: Prosthodontics is the dental specialty pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes. (Adopted May 2018)
But how exactly do you choose a specialty or even know that you want to specialize?
My suggestions would be:

  • Shadow dentists and specialists - this will give you direct insight into the daily life of that specialist. Yo will see first hand the different procedures performed, different treatment modalities and how cases are managed.  
  • Internships/externships - these are usually done in an academic or hospital setting. This offers insight as to what a typical day in residency is like and often times go more in depth on the different treatment and procedure that are done. 
  • Consider Compensation - although personally I believe one should go into a specialty that they are strongest in and that they enjoy, some individuals regard compensation quite highly. Check the average salary for a certain specialty in your area. You might even consider moving to a different state if the compensation there is better. 
  • Consider Lifestyle - the lifestyle of specialists can be quite different so do some research to ensure you know exactly what you're getting into ahead of time. Oral & maxillofacial surgeons typically lead quite busy lives depending on the type of practice they go into. During their residency years (4-6 years post dental school) they might be on-call and have less flexible schedules than say an Orthodontist who's typical week comprises of 4 work days.
All in all, ensure your research is thorough before you make a decision on any area of specialty. You may even want to consider being a general dentist for a few years before deciding that you want to specialize. At the end of the day, make sure that you are well informed about a specific specialty before going into it.

Source: American Dental Association website 

Class I Cavity Preparation

No doubt dentists have to be proficient in cavity preparation, it is part of our basic training. But just how to we master the cavity prep? I have laid out the steps for the Class I cavity prep on the blog over at TheNEXTDDS, follow the link or click the image below to learn more.

Any questions, comments? Feel free to drop me a line here or on the blog at TheNEXTDDS

Momentum Motivation for The New Year, and Beyond

The beginning of a new year is a great time for goal setting, re-assessing and re-evaluating. It's a time for resolutions, a time to figure out the things you've done in the past that may not have worked or may need a little help/boost. You have a clean slate now and everything you do from here on out has to count!

If this is your first year of dental school, ask yourself the question: did I meet my GPA goals last semester? Do I have a firm foundation and a good understanding of the fundamental core coursework in which to move forward and build on? If your answers aren't a resounding Yes! then this is the semester to really hit the books hard and try to make a "come back," so to speak.
If you're in the clinic, are you on track with your requirements or fulfilled your yearly/quarterly requirement goals? and If this is your final semester of dental school (at long last!) are you on track for graduation? Have u taken/passed your boards and are you on track with the myriad requirements to graduate?

At whatever stage you are in dental school, this time of the year is crucial and is always met with high energy and a get sh*t done attitude. The goal is not solely about making a long to-do list of things you need to do but to keep momentum. How many times do we start the new year off with dieting and work out goals to only have them fall by the wayside by mid-january??

I've had my share of new year resolutions while going through dental school and I have curated a short list of the key principles to follow to make your year successful:

1. Stay Motivated - Remember why you chose to become a dentist. Dental School is not easy and there will be times when you feel like giving up. Don't! Dig deep and keep your eyes on the finish line. Perhaps you can schedule to shadow a local dentist just to remind you of the reason you chose this great profession. Stay focused on you juicy vision and that will increase your motivation and energy to take the necessary actions to see your vision through.

2. Stick-to-it-iveness - That to-do list that you have, get to it and keep going until all your tasks are complete. Develop the habit of following through. As you strike things off that to-do list you are building momentum which will be the motivational force that will sustain you to the end.

3. Time Management - If you struggle with any of the above, managing your time will be a problem as well. All these three points go hand-in-hand and one really does not go without the other. Here are some tips to help you with these:
    • Keep you energy levels high!
    • Make your goals exciting. Follow the SMART rule and make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
    • Stay Positive. Check yourself from time to time. What kind of self talk are you having? If you think you will fail, you probably will. If you think you can do it, you will be unstoppable. 
    • Avoid procrastination and think of creative ways to reward yourself. Perhaps a mani/pedi if you get all your week's goals complete? 
    • Don't put off for tomorrow what can be done today! Self explanatory. In other words, JUST DO IT!
    • Get support. Don't be afraid to ask for help - closed mouths do not get fed.
    • Balance your life. Dental School can be stressful, find ways to decompress. Do not ditch your hobbies; you still have a life outside of school!
I hope you will take these pointers to heart and really get motivated to smashing your goals this year. As usual, I'm here for you. Drop me a line in the inbox with questions and Comments!

The Journal of Implantology (JOI): Glossary of Terms 2016

I am VERY excited to share the publication of the Journal of Implantology 2016 Glossary of Terms! The Glossary is a curated collection of terms and their definitions written by dental professionals. In other words. it's a reliable resource to students and professionals alike. 

Perk: It's available online! Click here or the infographic below to navigate to the Glossary. 

The JOI Glossary of Terms, 2016 Edition – a specialized collection of words, phrases, and definitions found in general dentistry, implantology, and oral surgery.

Updated with over 1,500 terms, it’s the largest and most comprehensive edition of the Glossary yet. The Glossary is available for free as a digital flipbook, which is enabled with HTML5 and easily accessible through a PC, tablet, or smartphone.

About the Journal of Oral Implantology
The Journal of Oral Implantology is the official publication of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. It is dedicated to providing valuable information to general dentists, oral surgeons, prosthodontists, periodontists, scientists, clinicians, laboratory owners and technicians, manufacturers, and educators. The journal distinguishes itself as the first and oldest journal in the world devoted exclusively to implant dentistry. For more information about the journal or society, please visit

Follow the links and/or graphic above to access the 2016 edition of the JOI Glossary of Terms.

Valuable Lessons From Successful Dentists That Have "Been There, Done That"

As dental students and young dentists we want to know that we made the right choice in our career decision and we want to know of things that will ensure of success. A great way to gain insight on this is to learn from people who have gone before us and have "been there and done that." We can learn a lot from what makes them successful in their practices and sometimes, unfortunately, from their misfortune as well. 

Thanks to Dr. Ahmed Ezzeldin who put together an expert roundup of 21 successful dentists in the following infographic where they share their secrets on how they've built a successful career.

Dr. Ahmed Ezzeldin is a General Dentist with advanced training in several areas of dentistry. He is owner of Easy Dental Care in Gainesville, Virginia.

The Gold Standard DAT: A Review

The Gold Standard DAT is an awesome addition to your DAT prep armamentarium!
I was given the opportunity to review the products and there is much to be said about them.
The Gold Standard brand has been around for quite some time and has been a house hold name in the medical field, particularly with MCAT prep.  It is fairly new to the DAT arena with it's launch of DAT test prep materials around early 2013. Since then, it has been a great contender among popular DAT preparation materials.

If I were to describe The Gold Standard DAT package in one word it would be COMPREHENSIVE.

I spent a couple weeks going through the materials because I really wanted to do it justice. Upon opening the package that I received, my initial reaction was one of awe. Before I opened any of the books I was taken aback by 1) the packaging: the books come enclosed in a hard covered box that keep the books nice and secure and 2) the quality of the books/pages: the book covers are of really high quality with a matte finish; and the pages are thick and glossy which makes the illustrations, pictures and diagrams really pop. I have honestly never seen test prep materials of that kind of quality. One of my first thoughts was "wow, someone really paid attention to detail and someone really cared about the quality of products that they produce." As I perused the pages of each book, I realized that those sentiments were not only true for the packaging and pages but also of the information within the pages as well.

The materials are, as stated before comprehensive. The Gold Standard DAT takes on a multimedia approach with their collection including textbooks, MP3s, Videos, flashcards, online resources, etc. It does not skimp on the details but is concise and to the point enough that it is easy to go through. The books are broken down into pretty short chapters which has practice questions at the end of each with solutions provided throughout the book. The illustrations and pictures on each page are also well depicted. Not only do you receive books with good, solid and pertinent information to do well on the DATs but many tools to augment your studying and to continuously test yourself throughout your preparation process.

My Opinion:
It has been several years since I took the DAT exam and I am sure there have been some amount of changes. If I were taking the DAT around this time I would honestly consider The Gold Standard for my DAT prep. While the prices aren't the lowest, there are several packages that you can choose from based on what fits your budget, your need, and/or your study habits. Plus, I am of the belief that you get what you pay for.
If you like going through textbooks then perhaps the four (4) book set will work well for you. It does come with 2 full practice tests. Likewise, if you prefer software and/or other online tools there are options for that as well. I think the different packages cater to each individuals' study style.

I have outlined all the packages below for your convenience, and I must mention that all their items are currently discounted.

The Complete Course Package  COST $499.00 $399.00
  • Complete four (4) book review set (1408 pages)
    • (DAT Bio, DAT Chem, DAT QR&RC, and DAT PAT) 
    • 2 full practice tests
  • Online access code with 3000+ practice questions
    • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • 15 hours of Natural Sciences review with 6 months online access
  • 3 hours MP3 review files for the natural sciences 
  • TopScore Pro software
    • 3 full computerized DAT practice tests and 18 exams
    • 7 months online access
    • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • 52 flashcards
  • Interview DVD
  • Bonus: Medical School Interview + MMI DVD: 100 min (can be used to help with Dental School Interviews)
  • Bonus: Science review flashcards (just ignore physics)

The Complete Package (minus Topscore Pro)  COST $399.00 $299.00
  • Complete four (4) book review set (1408 pages)
    • (DAT Bio, DAT Chem, DAT QR&RC, and DAT PAT) 
    • 2 full practice tests
  • Online access code with 3000+ practice questions
    • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • 15 hours of Natural Sciences review with 6 months online access
  • 3 hours MP3 review files for the natural sciences 
  • 52 flashcards
  • Interview DVD
The Gold Standard DAT 4-book set + Interview DVD + Science flashcards

The Gold Standard DAT 4-book set + Interview DVD + Science flashcards


The Complete Four Book Review Set  COST $199.00 $149.00
  • Complete four (4) book review set (1408 pages)
    • (DAT Bio, DAT Chem, DAT QR&RC, and DAT PAT) 
    • 2 full practice tests
  • Online access code with 3000+ practice questions
    • Compatible with PC and Mac

Individual Books  COST $49.95 $29.95
  • Comprehensive Biology review with over 300 practice questions with solutions
  • 400 pages

  • Comprehensive Chemistry review with 650 practice questions with solutions
  • 414 pages

  • Comprehensive review of Math and English skills with 350 practice questions
  • 314 pages

  • Complete and innovative preparation for the PAT
  • 280 pages

DAT Practice Tests
  • TopScore Pro  COST $65.00
    • 3 computerized practice test
    • 840 comprehensive questions
  • Gold Standard Online Practice Tests   COST $60.00
    • 2 full length practice tests
    • ADA format

DAT Videos
  • The Medical School Interview
  • DAT Natural Sciences Review  COST $199.00 $98.00

*Disclaimer: This is not an ad. I do not work for/with The Gold Standard DAT*

Surviving D1 year: Taking Notes

You made it to dental school and you are now a D1! The fun begins now and the pace will pick up very rapidly. There will be many obstacles to overcome over your tenure in dental school, one of the first ones will be mastering the art of note taking.
Luckily, I went over the different ways you can go about taking notes. The article can be found on The Next DDS website, but you may find an excerpt below.

Click on the link above or the graphic below to go straight to the article

Remember, you all can become members of The NEXT DDS! It is absolutely free to enroll.
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