Continuing Education... It is a must for your dentist

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , ,

When I graduated dental school 18 years ago, I remember being told by some of the faculty that finally I was going to learn. That was a little disheartening to hear since I had just spent the hardest four years of my life supposedly "learning" to be a dentist. I couldn't appreciate what they were saying at the time.

Today, I understand what they meant.

Dental school is only a beginning. It teaches the basics. A new dentist needs to practice what he or she has learned. The new dentist needs to gather tips and tidbits from more experienced dentists. The new dentist needs to take classes on subjects that are not offered in dental schools, for it is only when dentists routinely enroll in continuing education courses that they learn the cutting edge stuff.

Relying on only what was learned in dental school, a dentist will soon find him or herself terribly outdated. State-of-the-art procedures are constantly evolving, and it takes a concerted commitment to continuing education to keep on top of things.
Most of the procedures I do on a day to day basis, for example, are procedures that I learned after I graduated.... Things such as tooth-colored fillings, implants, porcelain veneers, orthodontics and orthopedics were all learned from other dentists who were considered masters of their craft.

Other techniques such as root canal therapy are now performed differently than was ever envisioned back in dental school days.

There are new materials to use that weren't even around four to five years ago. There are new and improved versions of older materials that need to be tried out. Equipment design changes are constant, with the introduction of better, faster technology almost every week.

With all the movement in the profession, it is imperative that your dentist read as much as possible about what is going on. The next step is to take courses on the topics that interest him or her. In this way, a dentist can bring new knowledge about the latest techniques back into the office.

Last month, at a dental conference held in Toronto, I became a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry. It is an award given to dentists who complete hundreds of hours of continuing education in various dental topics, and who also pass a comprehensive written examination. I was proud to achieve this award because it signifies my continuing commitment to be my best.

Require the same from your own dentist. It will result in much better care for you and your family.

Careers In Dentistry

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , ,

Okay now, who likes science? Who also likes working with their hands? To be politically correct, I will also ask, who likes helping people? If you answered yes to all of these and you are a student of any age, you might want to consider a career in the dental field. The following article will highlight 4 positions in the field that anyone can aspire to attain.

The first one is the dentist. To become a dentist, you need a bachelor's degree with a strong science foundation, biology, chemistry, physics and math being crucial. To be admitted to dental school, which lasts 4 years, requires high grades in college and a competitive score on the Dental Aptitude Test (kind of like a dental SAT). After graduating from dental school you must take a licensure exam required by the state that you want to practice in. If you want to become a dental specialist than 2 or more extra years of schooling are needed. Specialized dental fields include:

  1. Orthodontists who straighten crooked teeth and malaligned jaws with braces and other appliances.
  2. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons extract teeth as well as care for problems associated with jaws and facial structures.
  3. Periodontists care for a patient's gums and bone that supports the teeth.
  4. Pediatric dentists care for the needs of children.
  5. Oral pathologists help diagnose tumors and other lesions of the mouth.
  6. Endodontists treat the nerves inside of teeth when they become infected.
  7. Prosthodontists specialize in the replacement of teeth.

The next dental professional is the dental hygienist. They help people prevent tooth decay and maintain healthy gums by cleaning teeth to remove tartar, stains and plaque. They review a patient's health history and chart the condition of the person's teeth and gums. They also teach proper brushing and flossing techniques. Hygienists must complete a two year certification program or a four year college program. Good grades in high school are needed to apply for admission.

The dental assistant is the next dental team member. They keep the practice running smoothly. They greet and dismiss patients as well as assist the dentist during all phases of treatments, including the taking of the necessary x-rays. The assistant many times help prepare the patients so they will be comfortable during treatment Community colleges and vocational schools offer dental assisting programs.

One final member of the dental team is the dental laboratory technician. The technician follows a dentists prescription to make and repair dental appliances, including dentures, inlays, crowns, and bridges. They make these appliances using wax, plaster plastic and ceramics and metals from impressions taken of a person's mouth or teeth. Many technicians learn their craft on the job, while others take a certified training program. The work is extremely delicate and time consuming but good dental technicians are and will be always in demand.

For anyone out there reading this who might be interested in a very rewarding profession that will always be in demand, please consider the dental field. You won't be sorry.