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I am experimenting with a new format on the blog and there is an audio player embed within this post that may not be displayed in this email. If you’re interested in listening to either of the two podcasts referenced in this post and they are not accessible via email, click here to visit this post in your browser and use the audio player.

Alan Mead (one of the dentists behind the Dental Hacks Podcast) has started his own podcast called the Alan Mead Dental Experience. Recently, Alan published a podcast titled: “AME Extra: A Dental School Nightmare” that made me think about my own experience during dental school. In the episode, Alan describes one of the nightmares he recently had and the possibility of a link between a struggle with a chemical dependency and his dental school experience (you can use the audio player above to listen to Alan’s episode).

I have been told (quite often) that dental school used to be different, that students were often embarrassed and harassed by the faculty. I would describe what I have heard as hazing. Based on my own experience at the University of Maryland, I think dental school has changed and the majority of interactions between students and their faculty are positive. While my experience was not devoid of challenges, I cannot recall a time were I was publicly or privately belittled or humiliated by any of the faculty. In fact, I would say that most of the faculty I interacted with were good people who seemed to have their students’ best interests in mind.

With that said, dental school is supposed to be hard, and while it may seem unreasonable to some that dental students are expected to achieve excellent results early in their clinical experience, this pressure helps expedite our learning. To be frank, four years is not enough time to dabble, and a high-pressure environment may be unavoidable if the goal is to turn a young adult into a dentist in just 48 months.

To contrast Alan’s podcast, I have included the audio of episode 828 of Dentistry Uncensored where Howard Farran interviews Dr. Wally Renne, an Associate Professor in the Department of Oral Rehabilitation at the Medical University of South Carolina. In episode 828, Dr. Renne talks about how dental schools have changed and how he thinks students should expect to be treated today.