After a long year of BMS (Basic Medical Science) lectures and exams, it is nice to take a break from the books and get some experience in an actual dentist’s office. I have been working as a surgical assistant with a local oral surgeon in New Hampshire for a few years, and have chosen to continue working there this summer. I am very thankful for both the opportunity to work with such incredible oral surgeons and assistants every day, and for all of the learning experiences working with them has afforded me.
Atypical day consists of a staff meeting and surgery in the morning, followed by an afternoon booked full with consultations and follow-up appointments. The majority of the cases that I assist are third molar extractions, but each day is different and may include the occasional implant placement, bone graft, or biopsy. My job is to assist during procedures, set up and clean operatories, sterilize instruments, and carry out other daily tasks. Recently, I have been trained to do consultations with new patients that have been referred to the office for third molar extractions. During the consultation, I guide the patient through the entire process from the importance of removing their third molars, discussing various anesthetic options, explaining possible post-operative complications and answering any questions they may have. This gives me great practice educating patients as well as building communication skills that are crucial to developing a successful patient-dentist relationship.
With so many specialty options to consider as a new dental student, I feel privileged to have the chance to see firsthand what a day in the life of an oral surgeon is like. I look forward to the upcoming years at UConn when we get to explore all of the different specialties for ourselves.