My month long internship at the Center for Special Dentistry

September 9, 2013 3:49 pm Published by

My month long internship at the Center for Special Dentistry was productive to say the least. This private clinic located in midtown has exposed me to dental procedures that otherwise, I would never get the opportunity to see in college. I am currently a fourth year dental student at RCDP in Saudi Arabia. The socioeconomic status of the patients in New York is very different to that in Riyadh. Although this presents its own challenges, it means that the quality of care is better. The equipment available here caters for the patients every need. The thing that has impressed me the most is the management of the patients. I had never seen a phobic patient before I started my internship, so I was unsure as to what to expect. Right from the start the close relationship between the doctors and patients was evident. This has been formed over a number of years; some of the patients have been receiving treatment at this clinic for over 15 years. In order to appease the patients their time spent in the waiting area is kept to a minimum and the time slot for the dental procedure is always longer than necessary. This is to allow the patient all the time he/she needs before and after the procedure to ask any questions as well as providing extra time for the administration of the local anesthetic. The administration of local anesthesia is usually the most daunting part of the procedure from the patients point of view, so extra care is taken to ensure minimal distress. The patient is sedated using nitrous oxide and topical anesthesia is applied to minimize the pain. The care with which the patient is anesthetized is incredible. Initially I thought that the clinic was too small to cover the different dental specialties that cosmetic dentistry involves but the fact that various dental specialist work 2 or 3 days a week means that all the patients receive the care they require.

The first patient I observed required porcelain veneers on both the maxillary central incisors. Even though I have done a tooth preparation for a crown, I had never seen a preparation for a porcelain veneer. The next patient was an orthodontics consultation. Dr. Angela was extremely helpful and went through the case with us after she took the photographs and the alginate impression so the custom tray could be fabricated. It was clear that the patients maxilla was protruded therefore she was prognathic.I had not encountered a patient whose lower canine was distal to the upper canine before. Looking at the occlusion from a lateral point of view is a simple observation to make yet i usually assess the bite from the anterior point of view only, I realize now that this is diligent. Next I observed a periodontal examination. Having practiced perio. exams in college I thought that there wasn’t anything I had not seen before but the doctors approach was very interesting. My basic protocol is usually gingival index, plaque index and then PSR. This is time consuming and as the doctor explained it’s mainly used for research purposes not for every patient. I also learned about the computerized system that automatically calculates the clinical attachment level once you have put in the depth of the pocket/amount of gingival recession. The following day I saw a patient who had an edentulous space in the lower premolar area. Dr. Dorfman went through all the possible treatments e.g. bridge, removable partial denture or implant. He took the time to go through all the possible treatment options; this is very unusual as most doctors choose to only suggest one treatment option to the patient. Unfortunately that amount of care is not seen in most dental practices in Saudi Arabia.

I would highly recommend this program to any dental student or anyone hoping to study dentistry in the future. Many thanks to all the staff at The Center for Special Dentistry, I am already looking forward to returning one day.

Mohammad Kabadaya
fourth year dental student
RCDP in Saudi Arabia

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This post was written by Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman