Monday, April 25, 2016

Dentatonix = dentistry + lots of music love :)

When I think back on hobbies that randomly changed my life, two come to mind..

1) high school yearbook
2) acapella

And now when I think about it, I've actually been doing choir/acapella for a longg time now. I started out singing in choir in high school as a freshman, and joined the women's acapella group in my junior year. When I got to Berkeley, one of the major reasons I actually went to Berkeley was that the Golden Overtones, the only women's acapella group, was so so cool. I just wanted to be a tone :) And when I got there, I spent one year living that life, and eventually switched to a co-ed group with a (fortunately for my pre-dent life) decreased time commitment.

So that comes out to... lets see.. add the 2.. carry the 1.. TEN YEARS OF ACAPELLA!!

That is almost half of my life. It's weird, because now, acapella and singing have just become integral parts of my life. Most recently, I decided not to do an event because there's just not enough time to balance everything else that needs to happen in the next couple of months..

But here's a little musical trip down memory lane :)

D1, 2014 - The year Dentatonix was born! ASB Variety Show - One Republic Medley

D2, 2015 - The year we performed at the school's 50th Anniversary Gala, and added "Somebody to Love" to our set

Same set with "Somebody to Love", just a little more comfortable in our scrubs :)

Yup, I'm a huge acapella dork and it's been a lot of fun.. :)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Maxillary Sinus Lift Workshop

Over the weekend, the periodontal and implant orgs put on an implant workshop where we learned how to do sinus lifts on goat heads.

You may be asking, what is a sinus lift? Well in order to place implants, there needs to be a certain depth of alveolar bone available for the implant to have stability within the jaw bones. The only issue for implant placement in the maxilla (upper jaw) is that there are sinuses, or air-filled spaces, that comprise your midface, and if the floor of the maxillary sinus is too low, then an implant may not have the sufficient height of bone necessary to be placed. So in these instances, a maxillary sinus lift literally goes and lifts the floor of the sinus, and replaces that negative space with bone graft so you can come back and place an implant.

Pretty cool stuff :) It's always nice to take something that you've learned about in class and physically do it. Though random sidenote, an interesting quality you learn to develop as a dental student is to take something that is pure theory/fact in your mind, and learn to execute it with baseline proficiency the first time.. since your test subjects are always people, you don't really have any other choice. It's a strange kind of situation - I mean, we all practiced our first injections on our classmates, learned how to administer nitrous on each other, had to drill on a real tooth for the first time on a live human.. etc.

Fortunately, I think we put enough pressure on ourselves to simply not mess up (too badly), and kind of level up through the years in terms of the ability to bridge that knowledge-to-practice gap a little more seamlessly. Plus, as a student, there's always faculty or someone around to bail you out in case anything does go wrong.. Though I guess this doesn't exist once you start taking CE courses, etc and are responsible for yourself in the "real world".

Speaking of the real world, that's right around the corner for me. I wonder what it will be like..

Monday, March 7, 2016

Third Year Life Thoughts

I was just eating dinner with my roommate when we realized that 1) our kitchen is very messy and 2) our table has a lot of random things on it that don't typically belong on kitchen tables. But it's not weird because it's just our life.
Third year is full of surprises and changes. At UCLA, it's when you start rotating through each of the different specialties and get to see how all the different facets of dentistry fit together. This was one of the most identity-challenging aspects of dental school for me, because this is where I started to see, and maybe even accept, that some aspects of dentistry just aren't for me.

At some point, you finally have to let go of that "hard work" card, and just realize that you're a fish. Sure, being a bird would be wonderful. While hard work may help you feel more and more like a bird, and maybe you'll have small victories where you can propel your body out of the water.. you're simply better as a fish. Maybe it's actually braver to understand that, and use that to your advantage. I have difficulty coming to terms with the idea that hard work doesn't solve everything. Sometimes, happiness is the answer. Probably most times. But then my roommate reminded me that maybe it's better to be mediocre at something you love than amazing at something you don't. (Also, you should check this out because all of it is so real.)

Other third year surprises: You start really caring for your own patients for the first time, and I think its quite life-consuming. I often find myself wondering how that filling I just did is doing. As a student at UCLA, you are operating a one-woman (or one-man) dental office. You are your front desk staff. You are your dental assistant. You are your own in-house psychologist. And of course, you are the dentist. I gotta be honest, it's rough. But.. rewarding. Funny at times. And always very revealing about your character, as well as the nature of people.

Other thought, I've learned its absolutely necessary to find ways to be happy every step of the way or else one day, this huge mountain of expectations will come crumbling down because you've deferred happiness for such a long time.