A Technician Goes to Dental School: Communication is Key in Dentist-Technician Relationship
Posted Apr 28, 2011, Published 2010-02-01
Bernard Baseri was a technician for four years before enrolling in the class of 2013 at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry.
I call it a new road, a new life, a new beginning. I had been an Empress waxer and CAD/CAM technician for four years at Carl Puga's Recreations Dental Studios in Marina Del Ray, California. I really enjoyed the work and was excelling quickly but I wanted to grow and learn more.
I realized it gave me great pleasure to see my restorations in patients' mouths either in photos or in person; this is one of the reasons I started thinking about dental school. It took me three years to take the necessary science courses and the Dental Admission Test and get accepted to the University of Southern California School of Dentistry (USCSD).
As a dental student, my responsibilities continue to change and grow, especially in the second trimester. In addition to our course load, we're assigned to rotations such as taking X-rays, assisting third- and fourth-year dental students, and educating elementary students about oral healthcare through the local Doctors Out to Care program.
USCSD uses a Problem-Based Learning curriculum, which means we're given cases that incorporate all the subjects we're studying: biochemistry, microbiology, histology, human anatomy, pharmacology, physiology and immunology. This method not only tests our understanding of each subject but also helps us learn how they relate to each other.
My dental technology background has really helped me, especially my eye-hand coordination, ability to see the big picture, and understanding of occlusion and the technician's need for a thorough prescription in order to properly fabricate the case.
In my opinion, the dentist is required to write a detailed prescription explaining what he's looking for in the restoration, including the required amount of reduction, staining requests and specifics on the contacts. At the same time, the technician is required to contact the dentist if the prescription is unclear.
The prevalence of dentists sending incomplete prescriptions and technicians just fabricating restorations based on their instincts needs to change. Consequently, one of my goals after graduating is to give seminars on improving communication between dentists and technicians. After all, this is not about competition, but collaboration.
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