One might ask oneself “should I see an experienced dentist who has been around the block a few times or a younger dentist that might be more familiar with newer techniques?”
The reality is, that a recent graduate of dental school while knowing the latest information regarding the basic sciences such as physiology, pharmacology, and the like, is trained at entry level in the profession of dentistry.
The basics of dentistry are taught so that a dental student can pass the state dental boards and begin dental care in a surrounding such as a group practice. Some techniques in private practice aren’t even taught in dental school due to prohibitive costs for a dental school.
Some dentists go on to additional training ranging from general practice residencies to specialty programs. These dentists are the small minority of dental school graduates but they do graduate their respective programs at a higher level of practice knowledge. Even these dentists sometimes aren’t sure whether or not to use some of the newer techniques for a particular patient or rely on the tried and true techniques. This is where experience comes in.
The best scenario in my mind is the dentist that has had the opportunity of a graduate program after dental school, and has the timely experience to know what works well in a particular situation. This is what describes my particular situation.
When I graduated dental school I had the wonderful opportunity to take a General Practice residency program at Queens Hospital Center in Queens, NY. At the time Queens Hospital was managed by Long Island Jewish Medical Center where we all took our didactic lessons. LIJ is world renowned for its teaching.
The second year of the residency I became Chief Resident which has the responsibility of teaching the new residents. When one becomes a Chief Resident in a major city hospital, the learning opportunities are enormous.
During my tenure at Queens Hospital, we would have what were called Grand Rounds, where review of the patients and their treatment was conducted. All dental specialties were represented and the final determination or treatment would be determined by the Prosthodontist. That’s when I decided to become that person who was captain of the team.
I entered a graduate Prosthodontics program the after graduation. Having had the Hospital experience I built my knowledge base and I feel that I had a wonderful education. Practicing about 5 years led me to understand what I didn’t know and I began a steady continuing education program. Additionally, I began teaching dentists what I knew. You be the judge.