Life as a New Dentist — Pediatric Residency

By | October 11, 2013
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

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