My Rotation Experiences in Ohio State University's School of Dentistry

Date: December 1, 2010

School of Dentistry, College of Medicine, Student, Yi-Chun Ko
Editor, General Education Center, Chiara Benham

I am very honored to have had the chance to attend the three weeks observership that Ohio State University’s School of Dentistry offered. Within these three weeks each of the China Medical University students who participated had different schedules which rotated around the undergraduate’s clinic, implant clinic, graduated resident periodontal examination (GRPE) clinic, and periodontal laboratories.

Undergraduate’s clinic is on the first and second floor. Year three and four dental students take their patients to these two floors. In the United States dental students start their training after their bachelor’s degrees have been completed. By their third and fourth year of dental school they start taking their own patients. There are several instructors (including periodontal faculty and residents) who check on the students during and after the students treat the patients. As observers we are allowed to help the students with charting, suction and other simple tasks. In order to do these things we had to take an online training course (HIPPA, OSHA, etc.). These purpose of the training is to understand how we should deal with bio-hazards and how to protect patients’ privacy. The student has to take detailed history of each patient before any treatment can begin. This includes a head and neck examination, to check to see if there are any lumps, mucosa, etc. After the check-up the students ask their instructors if they could continue with whatever procedure they were doing that day. This process ensures that the patient’s best interests are protected.

I noticed that each student was confident when they examined their patients, from explaining the treatment plan to answering questions. I think this is something that the CMU students should learn from the OSU students. If the case proves to be more complicated the students are to refer the patients to other departments. For example, if the patient needs an implant, they must first be referred to the implant clinic for an overall evaluation and an estimated fee. This gives patients the option to consider if they want to follow the treatment plan. After agreeing with the treatment and the estimated costs, the students will have a grad perio specialist consults the treatment, because they are the dentists that will be doing the implant surgery. All of the steps, consults, and evaluation were explained in detailed and are easy for the CMU students to understand the process and what the patients must be going through. I think this system can really train students how handle their patients and learn efficiently at the same time!!

At the implant clinic we saw many prosthodontal procedures, including fixing a crown and bridge, complete denture, removable partial denture, and implant restoration. In this clinic they have an oral hygienist to periodically take care of the patients’ oral hygiene. The hygienist teaches patients how to clean their implant restorations, because this is a key factor in whether or not the overall surgery will succeed. The alginate they used in this clinic was excellent. The alginate will automatically change colors from the second it is mixed with water until it has set. To my surprise, the doctors encouraged patients to use the hybrid type implant because it is more economic and has good esthetics.

The graduated resident periodontal examination (GRPE) clinic is where periodontal surgeries such as guided bone regeneration (GBR), guided tissue regeneration (GTR), sinus lift, distal wedge, deep gingival curettage, etc take place. I learned that when there is deep cut in the flap the dentist needs to do a vertical mattress suture and when there are numerous teeth a continuous sling is required. On the first day of my rotation at the GRPE clinic I saw a patient who needed IV sedation for the surgery. This was the first I saw someone being sedated and it gave me a better understanding of the whole procedure. There were many chances to see implant cases at the GRPE clinic.  Some of the best cases were the guided bone regeneration surgeries; which is when the bone graft or autogenous bone has more bone width or depth for the implant.  The GBR students are similar to the third and fourth year dental students, because both have instructors (periodontal faculty) to supervise them. During an implant case, a drill is used to make a hole for the implant to go in to and after an x-ray is taken the students show it to the instructors to see if the angles were right or the distance and depths were ok. I think this is a really good learning environment, because every step is checked. This allows the students to understand what they did right or wrong immediately and  they can discuss any problems or concerns with their instructors on location.

Within these three weeks we had periodontal lectures taught by Dr. Claman and periodontal workshops with Dr. Chien. Dr. Claman also demonstrated root planning; the techniques he showed us were useful as he explained everything to us in details and with patience. Dr. Chien let us practice on each other, what we did was similar to how the year three and four students take their patients history and we were shown the periodontal kit. It was like a summary of all that we had observed the past weeks. It was great to actually have the chance to practice ourselves.

Besides going to clinics, we also went to periodontal laboratories. In Dr. Kim’s laboratory, he does bioengineering. His tests are on bone density and how they correlate with CT scans. In Dr. Walter’s laboratory they are doing in antibiotics on periodontal bacteria, there is an HPLC in the laboratory that they used for their experiments. In the laboratory Patrick Lai (a PHD student) showed us how to count the bacteria and how to “wash” them. In Dr. Kumar’s laboratory, they surveyed people from different races to see how their saliva contents were different, and some of the CMU students were actually used as their sample!!

I am grateful for the Ministry of Education and China Medical University including our dental department dean Dr. Ming-Gene Tu and Dr. Hua-Hong Chien, for providing me this opportunity to observe in the Ohio State University’s College of Dentistry. I really am appreciative for their generosity in helping us with the program and hope that this program will keep on benefiting other students at China Medical University.

Good essay. You laid out what you were going to say then you said it. Make sure that you keep the order the same. Do not say you are going to talk about 1,2, and 3--- but then talk about it in reverse. Nice job keeping it past tense. Just need to work on small grammar and sentence structures.


Practicing in the dental practice clinic
Group photo in the lab
Group photo in the Implant clinic