I enjoy having a summer dental student around. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, it makes me realize how much I have learned over the years. Secondly, I am reminded of how necessary it is to stay up to date with techniques and treatments.
Often the student will come up with an x-ray, pointing out some pathology that I would have quickly passed over as just a variant of normal. It is easy to do that when I am busy. Having a student pick up some of these little things is good. It keeps me on my toes and reminds me of the importance of taking note of the little things.
Some things seem so easy now that I would have needed help with when I started out for sure. I still remember old Dr. Singer helping me with an extraction in the first few months after I graduated. I felt a bit bad about it then. He was nearly 80 and I had less strength than him – let alone less ease with the technique! It takes time to develop a feel for the way a tooth moves under pressure.
Then there is the pleasure of teaching. It is fun to see each student learn some practical stuff while in our office. They get more familiar with techniques, learn to interact with patients in different ways than at school, they gain confidence.
One day, my kids remarked that I had a pretty good set of pipes! I replied that they must be kidding. But I guess my work keeps my right arm in fairly good form. Now if the rest of the body would stay so trim!