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D1s, First Week Down

August 3, 2011

Kevin and Ameen

Once we finally straightened out the housing issues that we were having we had to hit the ground running. A lot has happened already during our first week. The first two days was our Orientation (pics here) and this is when it started to really hit me that I’m in dental school. We bought our lab coats and put in an order for our personalized clinic coats which will be presented to us on July 29 when we have our White Coat Ceremony as we get inducted into clinic. They took all our laptops, phones, etc and installed a bunch of hi-tech security features on them since we will have access to patient records and we need to be in compliance with HIPAA. We had to go through a HIPAA Training Course as well. We spent all of Tuesday going through diversity and discrimination presentations and activities to prepare us for the wide variety of backgrounds we will be treating for our entire career. It was actually a very enlightening and eye-opening experience especially when we took a field trip to the Holocaust Museum.


The first two days were very exciting from buying our lab coats and typodonts, receiving our MCards for 24-hour access to all the dental and medical facilities, sitting through motivating welcome speeches from our Dean, etc. However, once Wednesday came around we were thrown into a whole new world. This was our first day of lecture and labs. Three of our courses had already assigned us about 14 hours worth of homework to do before we even set foot in our first lecture. We are already being forced to establish new and more efficient study habits. This curriculum is more intense than anything we’ve done and it’s only the first week of the “easier” summer term. Basically from Wednesday (when we began our lectures) until Friday we were engulfed in school from 6:30am when we woke up until 12:30am when we went to sleep. The only time we really had to ourselves was to eat. Lectures begin at 8am and finish at 5pm everyday. Upperclassmen even advised us to wake up early to review material before we even begin lectures in the morning. Once we’re let out at 5pm we all walk straight to the library where we hit the books until midnight.


We are taking 6 courses:

  • Dental Head & Neck Anatomy
  • Dental Anatomy & Occlusion I
  • Grand Rounds
  • Intro to Function of Oralfacial Complex
  • Intro to the Profession
  • Intro to Clinical Skills

Dental Head & Neck Anatomy is our mot extensive course we’ll have this summer and it’s taught in our very modern Medical School. During our first lecture they told us that we’ll add about 6,000 new words to our vocabulary during this course (we have about 30,000 words in our vocabulary right now). We have 6 weeks in our summer term. So yes, we have to learn about 1,000 new words of medical and dental terminology each week. Pretty crazy considering this is just 1 of the 6 courses. The course is taught two days a week with 1 hour of lecture followed by 3 hours of cadaver lab. In the cadaver lab, we dissect a cadaver that consists of only the neck and head. It was a little eerie at first since you walk in and you basically see a bunch of tables with decapitated heads on them.

Dental Anatomy & Occlusion I is our Preclinic Simulation Lab where we are assigned our mannequin heads. This week we mounted our typodonts onto the articulator with plaster (the articulator is what holds the typodonts in place). This is where we’ll be making molds and impressions, drilling on fake teeth, and learning everything there is to know about dental anatomy and teeth.

Grand Rounds is where we take everything that we are learning and incorporating it into patient treatment. We will be taking this course all four years where we will be doing many types of case studies.

There’s nothing too exciting about the last three courses yet. All I have to say is that this long weekend was much needed even though it’s only been one week. Stay posted as we’ll be on here every so often to give you guys an update on what it’s like to be in dental school.

Kevin and Ameen

D1s Kevin Goles and Ameen Shahnam are  sharing their experiences as they begin dental school with their Pre-Dental Society at University of Nevada, Reno.  Check out their Pre-Dental blog at

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