Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Introducing the Latest Issue of the USC 925

USC 925

USC 925

USC 925

For the past few months, a team of wonderful editors and I have been hard at work putting together the Fall 2013 issue of the USC 925. The biannual magazine represents the voice of the student body of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. With newfound passion, creativity, and vision, we strived to transform the USC 925 from a standard old-school newsletter to a modern and trendy magazine. Make sure you check out the latest issue at the following link (http://issuu.com/usc925/docs/usc_925_fall_2013). While you're there, read my article on the 43rd ASDA Annual Session in Atlanta, Georgia!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fujifilm XF1

Over the years, I've been looking for a good point-and-shoot pocket camera that I can take with me at all times. I haven't really touched a point-and-shoot camera since I began shooting DSLR 4 years ago. But at one point or another, all photography enthusiasts realize that a DSLR is not an appropriate camera for all occasion. Like hikes that involve treacherous terrains and water crossing, for instance. Or parts of town where you fear that you might get mugged because you are holding a $2,000 camera in your hands. Or, in my latest example, a vacation in Cabo. 

Fujifilm XF1

There is something inherently unsafe about traveling with a camera that is worth more than the contents of you and your boyfriend's entire luggage COMBINED. Accounting for the camera body, lens hood, lens cap, and 3 lenses, DSLRs are also not conducive to traveling light. Or being used in situations that involve strangers, water (i.e. beaches, pools), and/or alcohol. 

Before taking off for Atlanta in April, I played around with a few simple point-and-shoot cameras and compact system cameras (fake DSLRs). I may have been expecting the photos to be nearly on par with the quality of photos from my Nikon DSLR. Stupid unrealistic expectations, I know. But the image quality of those cameras were terrible. The designs were terrible and non-user friendly. Those cameras were an eyesore. 

First photo taken with the Fujifilm XF1. Not bad! 

So I've been using my iPhone to take pictures for the past few months. But it always irked me that I had to sacrifice quality for convenience and portability.

This time around, I think I finally found THE ONE. The Fujifilm XF1 is a compact retro-styled camera with a faux-leather body.  In other words, it's super sexy. And it takes fantastic photos!

Although I haven't had time to test out all of the XF1's functions, it's pretty much love at first sight. I think I have finally found my pocket-sized travel companion. 

Fujifilm XF1

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day 350: Dental School 2nd Year, Fall Trimester Courses

In two weeks I will be starting my second year of dental school. Being a second year dental student is partially cool and partially terrifying. I'm expected to know things, diagnose conditions, and work on patients. While I've learned a lot in the past year, there is still so much information to learn. They say that the more you know, the more you don't know. It's true.

I can do an amazing amalgam or composite prep. I can even do a pretty bomb crown prep. I can make you a near-perfect provisional. But I don't know how to diagnose caries and other oral health issues, much less treatment plan them. I can't interpret an x-ray proficiently. And when people ask me "hey doctor, what's wrong with my teeth?", the best answer I can give is "maybe you should go see a dentist".

Insecurities aside, I think that I'll be a lot more competent after second year. Here is a sample of the classes that we will be taking during the upcoming trimester:

  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Endodontics
  • Orthodontics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Posterior Fixed Prosthodontics 
  • Treatment Planning
  • Evidence-Based Dentistry
  • Radiology
  • Diagnosis 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer Getaway in Cabo San Lucas

***Disclaimer: pictures were taken by R; I stole them from his Facebook. 

Back in April, R and I talked endlessly about going on a cruise to the Caribbean. We planned for a quick 4 day getaway to paradise. The flights, food, and accommodations were within our VERY LIMITED student budget. It was a perfect vacation plan - until all of our friends bailed on us... 

So we canceled our spring break plans, but not without promising each other that we would do something spectacular during summer vacation. "This vacation will happen in August", we reiterated to each other, "regardless of whether our friends bail on us or not." 

Three days after the last final of our first year of dental school (WE SURVIVED!!!), we made a quick getaway to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Just the two of us. 

The weather was slightly overbearing - sunny with a high of 97F. But the vast expanse of beaches, resort pools, and swim up bars made up for the scorching heat. 

We spent our days doing a whole lot of nothing and enjoying every single minute of it. I even had time to lay by the resort pool and read Dan Brown's new novel Inferno. It was a welcome change considering I haven't had time to read anything besides science textbooks, dental textbooks, and learning needs since school started last August. 

The vacation was AMAZING. RIU Santa Fe, room 7486. Infinity pools. Swim-up bars. FlambĂ©ed coffee. Water taxis. Mango deck. Jetskiing in the Sea of Cortez. Sighting the pirate ship. Super comfortable lounge chairs. Dancing like crazy on the deck of the Cabo Escape cruise. Giggling Marlin & Squid Roe. Falling asleep on the beach at 1am in the morning. 

It was the perfect vacation to celebrate the end of our first year of dental school. It was also a perfect first vacation for R and me (and hopefully the first of many more to come)!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Catching My Breath

This past trimester of dental school has truly been a testament of willpower. The intensity of schoolwork went from 0 to 60 in a matter of 2 seconds. All semblance of life outside of school came to a crashing halt. 

Between our slew of midterms (anatomy midterm + indirect restoration timed practical exam + general midterm week) and our upcoming slew of tests (perio OSCE + anatomy final + indirect restoration written final + final exam week), I'm taking a moment to stop and catch my breath. And blog. Otherwise you would all think that I have forgotten how to blog. 

There are a few pearls that I have picked up from this past trimester. 
  • Sometimes, your grades are inversely proportional to the amount of effort expended. This is the trimester of irony. Before my second indirection restoration practical exam, I did 6 crown preps and provisionals for practice. I ended up getting a 83. Before my final indirect restoration practical exam, I did exactly 1 crown prep and provisional for practice. I ended up getting a 95. Go figure... 
  • When time becomes a commodity, you learn to pick your battles. There isn't enough time in the day to study and practice for every single class. You quickly learn that there are classes that are super important to you (i.e. crown preps, provisionals, head and neck anatomy) and then there are the classes that you couldn't give a rats tail about (i.e. scaling and root planing). Just don't let my perio faculty see this... 
  • It's okay to date within your class. We were warned against interclass dating when we started dental school last August. But as time passed, there was an increasing amount of the "we are together all the time so why the heck do we not just get together right now" sentiment. As of July, there are quite a handful of happy couples within our class. I'm a newly minted member of the interclass couple party. 
Fig and Olive
Meet R :)
  • If you are craving high-end food on a budget, go try DineLA. Considering how much I love food, it's one of my favorite things to do. This past weekend, we ate at Fig and Olive in West Hollywood. For $25, I tried: 
Fig and Olive DineLA
Lobster Bisque
Fig and Olive DineLA
Beef Tartar
Fig and Olive DineLA
Chicken Tajine
Fig and Olive DineLA
Chocolate Pot de Creme

All while sitting two tables away from Halle Berry. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Imperfection is Lovable

Today, I stumbled upon an article entitled "Imperfection is Lovable: Let Yourself Be". I try not to post a bunch of psychoanalytical stuff on my blog, but the contents of the article really resonated with me.
I was communicating with a life coach who is an incredible listener, endeavoring to understand why I was constantly feeling challenged in my relationship with my husband. Together, we realized that I was creating the same expectations of perfection for him as I had carried for myself since childhood.  
A memory surfaced: me, around twelve years old, sharing my report card with my father. 
“Why are they not all As?” he questioned unapologetically. 
I glanced at my grades, noticing that I’d earned six As and one B+, and said, “I did my best.” 
“I expect all As next time,” he firmly instructed. 
“I’ll do better,” I submissively acquiesced. 
And this stuck. The need to do better than my best. The desire to be better than myself. I wanted my father’s approval. I wanted my father’s love. I wanted my father’s attention. And so, I worked even harder and earned a 4.0 GPA each semester. 
But you know what? It was never enough.I never felt enough. I never could earn the love and attention that I desperately craved from him. I needed to look within myself.Now, some twenty years later, I’m still struggling with my tendency towards perfectionism.
The scary thing is, the article describes me perfectly. It also describes a majority of the high achievers out there (which constitute a large percentage of the students in dental school). Many of those who are accustomed to the taste of success link their self-esteem to their accomplishments. In essence, they begin to internalize the message that their self-worth is based on what they have achieved, not who they are.

Which is fine, until a bad grade or two sets in. I had a mental breakdown last week after the results of our crown prep and provisional exam came back. The grade I received on my provisional was significantly lower than what I aimed for. I also scored a 68% on the indirect restorations written midterm. In that moment, all feelings of self-worth came crashing down. For those who are constantly praised by teachers, parents, and peers for their achievements, failure is a terrifying concept.

Every day, I have to remind myself that my self-esteem should not be linked to my grades. I remind myself that my friends appreciate me for who I am and not my achievements. I try to let go of the perfectionist within me.
And who wants to be perfect anyway? How boring that would be! The most fun is in the growing, in the expansion, in the learning and becoming ever more who we are. 
I release the compulsion to be perfect, to constantly achieve, do more, handle every task on my to do list immediately. 
I allow myself to be more present, to be in the moment, to remember what matters most: love.
I love the quote at the beginning of the article:
"You're imperfect, and you're wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging" - Brene Brown 

Embrace imperfection.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Governor Signs Budget Restoring Adult Denti-Cal

The California Dental Association applauds the governor’s signature of a new state budget plan that includes the restoration of Adult Denti-Cal services. 
The budget provides funding for the restoration of Adult Denti-Cal benefits slated to begin in May 2014, with a proposed annual cost of $77 million to the state budget. The coverage includes preventive care, restorations and full dentures. 
“We appreciate the support of Governor Jerry Brown and legislative leaders, including Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, in recognizing the tremendous need,” said CDA President Lindsey Robinson, DDS. “This is a significant achievement in the effort to restore essential dental services for low-income adults who experience barriers to oral health care.” 
Lawmakers cited visits to the CDA Foundation’s free dental clinics, CDA Cares, as a reason for making the restoration of Adult Denti-Cal a priority. Since 2012, three CDA Cares clinics have provided free oral health care services to 5,878 patients, some of whom waited in line for days to receive treatment. 
Since 2009, after the state eliminated virtually all Adult Denti-Cal services for 3 million Californians, an increasing number of people have sought emergency dental care at hospitals, which are rarely equipped to provide dental care, and often resort to writing prescriptions for antibiotics and pain. These are temporary and costly actions that do not resolve the underlying disease. 
“We look forward to working with the administration to effectively implement Adult Denti-Cal, a vital service that will benefit the health of millions of Californians,” Robinson said.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day 259: Three Trimesters Into Dental School!

Our third trimester of dental school has been the most stressful trimester to date. Here are some dental-related highlights from our first 4 weeks of the trimester: 

  • Assisting for WREBsThe Western Regional Exam Board (WREBs) is a dental licensure examination that dental students take at the end of their fourth year. Passing this exam allows the individual to practice in states that recognize the WREBs. The exam consists of various different procedures, including two operative procedures (Posterior Class II Amalgam, Posterior Class II Composite, Anterior Class III Composite, or Posterior Class II Cast Gold Restoration), endodontic treatment on two extracted teeth, and scaling/root planing. Dental assistants and first/second year dental students can serve as assistants, which gives us a good insight into the WREBs process. 

  • Equilibrating typodonts: Our first project of third trimester was to equilibrate two typodonts to achieve three posterior teeth mylar holds on each side as well as anterior teeth mylar "drag". In addition, we had to take impressions and pour two casts of each equilibrated typodont. It was our most pain-in-the-ass project to date and the whole process took over 12 hours. It didn't help that the typodont would become dis-equilibrated after you take an alginate impression. As a result, you have to spend another hour or two re-equilibrating the typodont...
dental school equilibrating typodonts

dental school equilibrating typodonts

  • The Beginning of Sophomore Perio Block: This summer, we started sophomore perio block. So far, we've learned how to probe and explore using the 3A and 11/12 explorer. Measuring pocket depths, looking for furcations, and finding subgingival calculus. If there's one specialty that I have absolutely no interest in, it is probably perio. 
dental school perio

dental school simulator

  • Indirect Restorations: This class is our most time-consuming class for the summer. At the moment, we are learning how to prep teeth for inlays, complete veneer crowns (CVC), and porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns.  
dental school typodont
Inlay prep on the typodont.

dental school tooth block
Making a tooth block - we will be doing a PFM prep on the tooth in the middle. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

10 Things We'll Miss Most About Dental School

Watch the superbly hilarious graduation speech for the Ostrow School of Dentistry Class of 2013 graduation - "10 Things We'll Miss Most About Dental School" - given by ASB President Christopher Chan and Class of 2013 President Cecilia Liu. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Perch LA

We started our summer trimester right by celebrating a classmate's birthday at Perch!