Toughest stretch of school: For me it was second year, and I think that’s true for most of my classmates. I have one friend though who really didn’t like the first year, but then it turns out he was great with his hands and he did fine in second year. I was better with the books, so I did fine first year. Making your hands do what you’re supposed to do for the second year is really hard, to create the things you’re supposed to create.
Third year was hard because it was different, and now you’re working with patients, and that’s stressful. I remember the first filling took me forever, but at the same time you’re working with patients, so it’s different than just being in the lab working on plastic teeth, or fake teeth for that matter.
Fondly remembered: Dr. [Herb] Kashiwa was the head and neck anatomy guy, and he was great. Dr. [Brian] Toolson was really personable and kind and nice and I love him. I still do Christmas cards with him. [D-1 head lab technician Bill Loew] was wonderful and caring and good and nice and not flustered, and he didn’t get all mad at you and look frustrated, like “You people…” He was never like “That’s just stupid.” He was very “Yes, OK, let’s try to fix this kind of thing.”
I have a picture of Dr. [Marty] Anderson with a crown and a cape on and he’s knighting someone. I wrote in our little caption “He’s our king,” and I think he’s knighting someone with a giant mirror.
Lighter moments: In second year, we had just learned how to get each other numb, and we were in the old D-1 lab and somebody said [to a classmate], “I dare ya – I’ll pay ya ten bucks if you get yourself numb.” So he sets up this mirror on the cart and then got his syringe and his needle, and he got himself numb. . It was pretty funny. We were all watching him, looking at the anatomical landmarks, because we just learned all this. He’s like, yeah, he did it himself in the mirror. Rock on! Now he’s an orthodontist and he doesn’t get anybody numb, so it’s sort of humorous.
“I remember the first filling took me forever, but at the same time you’re working with patients, so it’s different than just being in the lab working on plastic teeth, or fake teeth for that matter.”
[Another classmate] was really a ladies’ man. We had a holiday gift exchange, and he would always get these obnoxious pinup calendars – weird stuff that he was always so proud of, he’s such a big ladies’ man. Now he practices in Alaska.
Practice management learning curve: I learned things as an associate over time. I also did like temporary stuff or did temporary hygiene and I learned things from other offices, like “Ooh that works,” or “Ooh, that doesn’t work,” and it was kind of interesting to learn different pieces of the business like recall, or how do you call different people, how much do you charge for this, or how do you run the day. It took a long time till you got comfortable – I mean, it’s still something I struggle with every day, the whole “I gotta have enough money to pay the bills” kind of thing. It’s still something you worry about.