Monthly Archives

July 2015

Casting Off the D3 Jadedness

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by Riley Schaff, University of Michigan (2017)

As the Class of 2019 donned their white coats for the first time, I couldn’t help but think back two years to my own White Coat Ceremony.  Bright-eyed and smiling, I remember as we posed for photos with the eager anticipation of being one step closer to that prefix “Dr.”  As I’m sure could be easily surmised, I have not been bright-eyed and smiling every day since then.  Getting through each day in dental school can be an arduous task at times, and, as I’m now entering full-time clinical care, school has a whole new set of stressors and challenges.  I, like many of my classmates and third-year counterparts at other dental schools, often feel a little wearied.
Seeing patients full time has been something I’ve looked forward to since I decided I wanted to become a healthcare professional.  Being able to interact with people while helping them achieve better health is an incredibly rewarding experience, and, even after just a few months in the clinic, I have already had my fair share of hugs and thank you notes from my patients.  However, as every third-year (and fourth-year) dental student knows, those experiences are balanced by long days in clinic when things don’t go as planned and patients who don’t show up.  As I reflect on the experiences of both the last few months and the last few years, I do see how I’ve grown both as a person and as a professional. There are many days indeed I feel jaded and dread heading into school, but I am coming to realize those days are balanced by seeing grateful patients that reminds me why I chose dentistry.  Those tough days go a little smoother as I have begun to feel more comfortable and confident in my skin as a clinician.
This halfway milestone, beginning my third year, reminds me why I began dental school bright-eyed and smiling, wearing my white coat free of PVS stains and die stone on my sleeves.  I want to regain my optimism and positivity and cast off this jadedness. Two years closer to my DDS with two years to go, I’m focusing on this contagious excitement to be a member of this profession.  The white coat-donning eagerness of the new D1s is reinvigorating, and I hope I can continue tackling the challenges and triumphs ahead with the D1-esque smile.

Invisalign vs: Fixed Appliances: What’s the Difference?

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by Mudita Agrawal, University of Michigan (2016)


Cosmetic dentistry is becoming increasingly common as people focus on improving their smiles.  Orthodontic treatment is just one facet of this increased attention to cosmetics.  Orthodontics, with its prefix coming from the Greek word meaning “straight,” is the specialty of dentistry that deals with straightening teeth.   Dental professionals use various techniques to straighten teeth. Teeth are moved to give them an ideal position, improve esthetics, and to promote better function of the patient’s bite. Dental professionals improve the patient’s smile while also focusing on his or her oral health.

Most commonly, either braces or Invisalign are used to straighten teeth. Invisalign is a great tool to improve the malocclusion of teeth though it does not work in every case. It uses a series of clear plastic trays to move teeth one step at a time. On the other hand, braces usually use metal wires and brackets to position the teeth.

Invisalign is a great method of doing tooth movements that are not very complicated.  It also works better for esthetic purposes than metallic wires and brackets. These are a set of clear, computer-generated plastic trays ideally worn 24 hours a day and are changed every two weeks. There are certain retention trays given to patients after tooth movement is complete. One of Invisalign’s main advantages is that the trays are thin and unnoticeable. It also offers some degree of comfort because it does not affect the patient’s speech much and also may make him or her feel comfortable in social situations.

Treatment with braces uses brackets which are attached to teeth and subsequently to a wire. An orthodontist or any other trained dental professional is responsible for fixing the dental braces onto the teeth. This supports slight teeth movements that, over time, provide proper alignment and straightening of the teeth. One benefit of dental braces over Invisalign is that these are not removable so patient compliance would not be as great an issue.  Dental braces also afford more precise control of a tooth’s movement compared to Invisalign.  Braces work much more efficiently for complicated tooth movements, and they can also be expected to act faster at closing gaps and aligning the teeth.

Choosing between various orthodontic treatment ultimately is based on the patient’s expectations, desires, and severity of malocclusion.  Considering these three things, the patient and his or her dental professional can decide on an avenue that will give them the smile they have always wanted!