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Residency

Life as a New Dentist — Pediatric Residency

Dr. Christine Hammer

Dr. Christine Hammer

The ADA is made up of individuals—here’s one of them.

Who are you? I’m Dr. Christine Hammer, a proud member of the Class of 2013 of Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine — Arizona, and I’m currently enrolled in a two-year pediatric dentistry program in a Philadelphia hospital.

If you could have any job OTHER THAN dentistry what would it be? I’m a huge music theater nerd and I grew up dancing, singing and performing. If life had worked out differently I would probably be producing and directing musicals on Broadway.

How did you choose this program? I was interested in very clinical programs with strong hospital components where I could work with medically complicated patients. This program seemed to offer a balance of everything I was looking for to develop my skill set.

As for my interview, that day was tough! I landed, interviewed, toured the hospital, visited Philadelphia for the first time and departed all within 18 hours. My big takeaway was that the program residents were approachable, relaxed, and cohesive. I’m pleased to say my first impression was accurate—we are busy, we are a team and we learn from each other!

What’s your schedule like? There are six of us first-year residents. The regular schedule is Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. There are rotations that vary the schedule on a resident-by-resident basis. And each of us first-year residents is “first call” on the on call schedule for a total of eight weeks spread out through the year.

About being on-call — I heard stories but nothing can truly prepare you for the first time that pager goes off. There is something very intense about arriving in an emergency room knowing that the patient and parents have been waiting for me.

What are you doing for fun? I’m getting to know Philadelphia (in case you were wondering, yes I have run up the “Rocky steps”) and I travel to Maryland/D.C. as often as I can to support my other half — he’s doing his Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery residency.

Any advice for someone considering a pediatric residency? Well it’s obvious that you should have a rapport with kids, but it’s less obvious that you also need to get along with adults — some parents need more management than their children! It helps to be passionate about prevention, and to be realistic about a kid-customized schedule.

What are your plans for after you complete this program? Geographically, I’m planning to move to Maryland to be near my husband while he completes his residency. Professionally, I’d like to do an associateship in the greater D.C. area. I would like to find a position that gives me an opportunity to practice in a hospital-setting. The challenge of treating medically compromised children is one of the elements of this residency that really is meaningful to me.

Interested in sharing your experience as a new dentist? If you are fewer than ten years out of dental school we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at newdentist@ada.org.

Life as a New Dentist — General Practice Residency

Dr. B. Alexandra Barton

Dr. B. Alexandra Barton

The ADA is made up of individuals—here’s one of them.

Who are you? I’m Dr. B. Alexandra Barton, a proud member of the Class of 2013 of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry, and I’m currently enrolled in a twelve-month General Practice Residency (GPR) at Denver Health Medical Center in Denver.

If you could have any job OTHER THAN dentistry what would it be? I wanted to go into broadcast journalism — I even took some courses in undergrad. But while it was easy for me to see myself anchoring one of the morning news shows, I couldn’t sell myself on a work day that starts at 3 a.m.

How did you choose this program? I wanted a GPR program that would give me more experience in endodontics and pediatric dentistry. Of the different programs where I interviewed, this one seemed to offer the most opportunities in these two areas and so far the program has lived up to my expectations!

What’s your schedule like? There are seven of us who are residents, and we attend lectures once or twice a week. But mostly I’m here from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Once a week I’m on-call in the evenings and then I’m on-call over the weekend every six or seventh week.

I was surprised at how often I actually get called in when I’m on-call. This facility is the #1 trauma hospital in the state, so most patients in the area get sent to our emergency department.

What are you doing for fun? Lots of outdoor music and festivals. The mountains and hiking trails are an easy drive from the city, and Colorado has some excellent breweries that I’ve been exploring with my fellow residents!

Any advice for someone considering a GPR? Funny you should ask! Last year at this time I was just starting the application process for residency programs, but I wasn’t fully convinced that I was going to actually enroll in one—I gave serious thought to going straight into an associateship.

Fast forward to today, and I’m really happy I chose this additional year of training. I can tell it’s going to be so much easier to transition into private practice than if I had gone straight from dental school. I’m getting real world experience working with an assistant, using a dental lab, and I’m getting faster at certain procedures. Additionally, I’m exposed to a much different set of procedures in this setting than I was in dental school. I work with the oral surgeons on the bigger trauma cases, but I’ve had the opportunity to do splints, incisions and drainage, that sort of thing. And of course, it’s great that I can bounce ideas off my fellow residents and the program director.

What are your plans for after you complete this program? I’m hoping to stay in Denver, assuming I can find an associateship here, so I’ve been networking with the Colorado Dental Association and getting involved with their new dentist committee.

Interested in sharing your experience as a new dentist? If you are fewer than ten years out of dental school we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at newdentist@ada.org.

Life as a New Dentist—General Practice Residency

Dr Ben Youel

Dr Ben Youel

The ADA is made up of individuals—here’s one of them.

Who are you? I’m Dr. Ben Youel. I’m a proud member of the Class of 2013 of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, and I just started a twelve-month General Practice Residency (GPR) at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.

If you could have any job OTHER THAN dentistry, what would it be? High school Chemistry teacher and wrestling coach. Both my parents are teachers so I respect the profession and I know teachers make a lasting impact on the lives of their students. Plus, I’d have the chance to coach wrestling; a sport that was very rewarding for me to participate in growing up.

Why did you choose to do a GPR? I like doing everything! I expect my GPR year to be a great chance to broaden the range of services that I can provide my patients and define my comfort zone for clinical practice.

Biggest surprise so far about your program? I just started, so I’ll say the volume of information in orientation week about the inner-workings of a hospital and the department of dentistry’s role in this setting.

So far it has been a bit more intense than I thought it would be. We get started rather early in the morning and we tend to wrap up later than we did in dental school. So they’re really throwing us into the fire right away here!

What’s your schedule like? Our hours are usually from 7 or 8am to 5 or 6pm, Monday through Friday. One or two weeks a month I’ll be on call. This means I can get called into the hospital to handle a dental emergency any time on any day (and weekends after midnight are the most popular times for people to stroll in with an avulsed tooth or mandibular fracture).

What are you doing for fun? I enjoy working out each day after clinic. I also play in a beach volleyball league each Monday evening.

Any advice for someone considering a GPR? No two GPRs are alike so ask former and current residents what they think. The residents tend to be the best at describing the strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies of the residency.

What are your plans after you complete this program? My short term plans are a little up in the air. I’ve lived in Illinois most of my life and so I have some interest in moving out of state. Also, I’ve worked in a number of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and have enjoyed those experiences. So right now I’m strongly considering moving west and spending a few years working in public health.

Interested in sharing your experience as a new dentist? If you are fewer than ten years out of dental school we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at newdentist@ada.org.