Indra’s blog; About those 16 Years and Memories
Last week marked my 16th year after graduating as a dentist. Not a special number in any way or form, but for me still significant and a day to reflect. I graduated cum laude (with distinction) after a lot of hard work within a fantastic university of dedicated teachers, even though I might not have appreciated it so much at the time as what I do now, knowing all I have seen over the years. Having made friends for life, together learning a skill that enables me to do what I am doing today with so much passion and joy; Bringing smiles and confidence to my patients.
I still remember those years at university. Learning to do a filling on phantom heads; The first exercise being able to use a diamond bur to drill the letter G in very exact dimensions on a central incisor. We used up a lot of plastic teeth before being able to succeed at the task …. All in the name of science of course. Gradually improving and proving your worth. The teaching was strict and relentless. Where my fellow house mates were having parties midweek and following (what looked like) a 6 hour or so college-contact week, the dental faculty students were doing 9.00-17.00 days, often staying late as we had to pour our own plaster models for planning our treatments and gluing the extracted teeth that we collected from dentists to use as real practice material ready for the next day. Often when I came home my house mates where waking up and by the time I left the house in the morning they were returning home…. What a life… Our parties only consisted of the Thursday nights at the dance pub “The Three Sisters” where we danced the night away.
I remember learning to give anaesthetic and having to try it out on each other first… the lunch room filled with students with droopy faces having trouble keeping their drinks in. And then to learn anatomy being not so pleasantly ‘surprised’ this was done on cadaver heads … having trouble to find the nerves and doing our first bit of surgery.
I remember doing my first filling on an actual patient….. Oh my… the nerves. We were working without dental nurses most of the time and I did wonder why my teacher was hanging around my dental unit when I started my preparation of the tooth…. until the whole thing shattered to pieces and hardly anything of the tooth was remaining, leaving me shocked and she stepped in right away; ‘I knew this would happen, but did want you to see it and experience it’ her reply was…. Thanks… I was a bit upset then, but it taught me the best lesson in dentistry. Things don’t always go to plan and you just have to be resilient, adapt and create a new plan. … which still works to the high-level dentistry we do today.
Obviously, the years in dentistry, the support of great mentors and all the post-graduate training I did made me a lot more experienced. There is not much that will surprise me now…. if anything. Still, we sometimes must adapt as things can change… working in a biological system that is not always stable will bring it’s challenges….
I always tell my team; You don’t know what you don’t know. And that is fine, as long as you are curious to find out and keep learning. So, over the years we have brought in new techniques and have changed the way some treatments are done, continuously learning, developing and trying to be the best version we can be for our patients. Things change and it is important to stay up to date and adapt.
But then… I always liked a challenge! Come bring me one I have not seen… I dare you..