My 3-week Rotation Experiences in Ohio State University's School of Dentistry

Date: December 1, 2010

School of Dentistry, College of Medicine, Student, Min-Yin Li
Editor, General Education Center, Chiara Benham

The opportunity to spend three weeks at College of Dentistry, Ohio State University (OSU), was an educating and rewarding experience.  My pre departure preparation included familiarizing myself with the safety rules by taking the HIPPA online, a blood-borne pathogen and OSHA training. I was on rotation at four of OSU’s dental areas during the summer quarter. I observed the Comprehensive Care Clinics where fourth year dental students examined their patients. This gave me an idea of how dental students managed their patients in United States. I visited the Graduate Periodontology Clinic where the Postdoctoral Program Residents treated patients with periodontal diseases both nonsurgically and surgically. I also examined practices used at the dental implant clinic and THE FOURTH PLACE. In addition, I also visited three clinical research laboratories focusing in microbiology of periodontal diseases, regenerative periodontal therapies, and peri-implant wound healing. Through observation and participation, I was able to learn about OSU’s dental practices in relation to China Medical University’s (CMU).

The Postle Dental Clinic at OSU, is where fourth year dental students see their patients on the second floor and the third year dental students see their patients on the first floor. This is different than at CMU, where dental students don’t begin working with patients until the fourth year. OSU’s system is good because dental students are more familiar with the dental environment after getting to see patients for two years instead of one. When they are faced with a situation, they are more likely to make a decision confidently and accurately. Another difference from CMU’s is that students apply for OSU’s after four years of university instead of going into dental school straight out of high school. As a result, most dental students are a lot older than I am.

Similar to the national board exam in Taiwan, there are two parts that a dental student has to write before graduation. The first part is a written evaluation taken after the second year of dental school. The second part is clinical, taken in the winter of their fourth year. This means that students have to bring their own exam subjects who are real patients to the exam. To avoid subjects not showing up on the exam day, students often have backup subjects. After the student passes the national board exam in Taiwan they become certified dentist. However this is not the case in the United States.  At OSU, dental students not only have to pass the national board exam but also the regional board exam. The regional board exam is a test that is based on which of the three regions the student wants to practice in the United States.

A routine procedure for a dental student at OSU is to have a consultation appointment with the patient before anything is done with their oral well being. The consultation appointment checks the oral condition of the patient in order to discuss treatment plans with them. It is not until the second appointment that any treatment is actually done. During my visit, I was able to help with charting. I really liked to help instead of just standing there and observing. I saw a few restorations using both amalgam and resin composite. I also saw some simple tooth cleaning, scaling and root planning. I really enjoyed my visit because everyone was so nice. The fourth year students were willing to show me around and even the patients were very friendly.

What I enjoyed the most was visiting the Graduate Periodontology Clinic because this was where most of the action took place. I saw nonsurgical treatment and surgical treatments.  While, surgical treatments include placing an implant, sinus lifts, and bone remodeling. The implant clinic usually works closely with the periodontology department. The implant is placed by the residents and the implant clinic deals mostly with full denture and partial denture. Again, all the staff and dentists at the implant clinic were very appreciable. Dental students in Taiwan rarely have the chance to see this kind of treatment during their obervership at school. As a result, I really think this visit is a very valuable experience.

Professor Dr. Claman, gave us a special lecture on scaling and root planning. The lecture was in the morning and in the afternoon we had the chance to put what we learned into practice. He has a passion for teaching and strongly believes the importance of scaling and root planning. He showed us many valuable techniques that we hadn’t learnt at CMU; for that I believe this trip is worthwhile.

Last but not least, I had the chance to visit three professors’ laboratories. This is a very nice getaway from all the clinical observership. Dr. Walters’ lab is doing inflammation, signaling mechanisms involved in activation of polymorphonuclear leukocytes and their association with aggressive periodontitis, and factors that influence the distribution of antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents in periodontal tissues. Dr. Kumar’s lab is dealing with regenerative periodontal therapies and perioimplant wound healing. Dr. Kim’s lab focuses on bone. He is most interested in mechanobiology of osteoporosis, viscoelastic mechanics of bone, mechanics of orthodontic tooth movement, degenerative joint disease, tissue-biomaterial interactions, bone tissue engineering, and computational biomechanics.

The school hours are from eight thirty to four thirty. After school, we had the chance to walk around the school campus. The school is huge and the campus that we visited is just the medical center. The campus is beautiful and all the buildings are in red bricks. We had the chance to tour their student recreational center. It is amazing. They have all the facilities one can possibly imagine. They even have indoor running tracks. That is awesome. We also visited their football stadium. Apparently, OSU is also known for their football team.

The three weeks at OSU has been a lot of fun and educational. It has broadened my horizon and enriched my dental school experiences. Thanks to Dr. Hua-Hong Chien who made this experience possible and made all the arrangement. Thanks to Dr. Tu who came with us and took a very care of all of us. This is one experience I will never forget.


A picture with the model in implant clinic
Patrick, the assistant, operates the procesures for us.
Group photo in Dr.Harrison's (male) GRPE clinic