Faculty of dentistry mentorship program aka FDMP is a program of great benefit to dentistry students, as students who participated are given opportunities to observe practising dentists in their respective private clinics doing their job and handling patients respectively. This year (2018), it is held around 15 and 20 January, 2-3 days for each student, with participation of around 20 dental undergraduates of University of Malaya. 20 clinics were involved from 6 different states, such as Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kedah, Malacca and Sarawak.
Here, I would like to share the experience of two of my friends, Evelyn Eng and Loh Min Qii who participated in the program. Evelyn and her friend, Lim Chern Nee went to Union Dental Clinic in Alma, Penang, where the dentist is Dr Goon Yong Por, a University Malaya graduate too. On their first day (17.1.18), both of them were able to observe various cases, such as basic scaling and polishing, minor oral surgery, and rather advanced cases, which are screwing of implant, de-bonding of orthodontic brackets and tightening of orthodontic wires. The dentists are very organized and efficient when doing their work, and they are really sure of what they are doing. It was a learning point for Evelyn and Chern Nee when they watched how the dentists communicated with their patients. For instance, he reassured his patients to gain their confidence and trust, by explaining the procedures clearly to his patients, before he proceeds with it. They found out from the dentist that rubbing the patient’s cheek while giving local anaesthetic injection is a great method to distract the patient from focusing on the terrifying needle.
Through the program, Evelyn has learnt that there are many different ways to do something, and the most essential thing is to make the patient comfortable, and there’s no violation to the act of dentistry. Doing your job well as a dentist is more important than doing it fast, to avoid the patient from suffering. As for Loh Min Qii, and her friend, Chan Wen Ni, they went to Wong and Kuay Dental Centre, a branch at Seri Kembangan, for two days. On the first day, they watched the dentist, Dr Mandy Loh doing extraction on mandibular retained root, and temporary filling on her patient’s maxillary molar which has gross caries. She also did scaling and polishing, impression taking for partial denture, posterior proximal restoration using composite. On the second day, they watched another dentist, Dr Wong doing work such as changing the orthodontic bands and doing amalgam filling. They watched the dentist doing a rather complicated extraction on a patient, whose left maxillary molar’s root is located very deep in the alveolar socket. The dentist used the bur to separate the 3 roots of the maxillary molar into 3 separate roots to remove the roots one by one.
Dr Wong did a temporary crown on a patient who requested for a bridge, whereby he had to take alginate impression on the patient, before he burred the adjacent teeth for abutment. They also watched the dentist doing root canal treatment procedure on patient who had sinus tract and there was pus on the patient’s gingiva. The dentist used apex locator and rotary instrument on the patient. They witnessed him applying medicine on the patient, after doing canal shaping and cleaning. Overall, it was an excellent experience for them to be exposed to private clinical practice, especially watching dentists who are very patient while handling dental phobic patients who need to be comforted and cooled down by the dentists. It is great to see patients go off with contented smiles, despite coming into the clinic with anxiety pasted on their faces. The dentists there are excellent in handling patients as most of the patients who visited the clinic are dental phobic patients, as some would curl their fingers or moan upon getting injection.
Ultimately, FDMP helps dentistry students to widen their horizon in private clinical practice, especially to those who plan to work in or open a private clinic in the future, as soft skills are undeniably important when communicating with your patients.