My First Fillings, Perfectionism & More...

Hey everyone,

So after an absence last week (had some birthday celebrations so don't worry, this won't be a regular thing), I'm back at it again with another update on dental school and also some other things I learned over the last week or two. Let's get straight into it!

🦷 Dental Diary

So this week on clinics was one of my highlights of the week, and as you read from the title, I placed my first two fillings on some extracted teeth! I was working on the teeth that I had removed caries from a few weeks ago, and my task was to place IRM (Intermediate Restorative Material) in the cavities that we created. This really wasn't the hardest part for me, or what I felt was the focus of the session; what was actually much harder was mixing the IRM filling material. The material came in two forms, a liquid and a powder which needed to be mixed together in a certain ratio, using a certain technique AND before the material began to harden and set. This was extremely challenging, especially to begin with, as mixing required a lot of manual pressure and dexterity and my hands began to cramp as well. It was pretty stressful and this was honestly one of the first times I've truly struggled at dental school. The process of actually packing the filling material into the cavities was heavily dependant on whether I mixed the IRM properly, because if I used a slightly wrong ratio or spent too long mixing then the filling process became a nightmare. I just wanna take this moment to really appreciate all the nurses out there who do this, I could not imagine doing this all the time as a dentist!

🧠 Insight of the Week

The insight of this week links to my struggles with the clinics that I mentioned. Since this was one of the first times I've really struggled, especially with something practical, it really hit me hard that I need to practice these skills as much as I can. At the same time though, after panicking so much when actually on the clinics, I spoke to a dental hygiene and therapy student who was sitting next to me after the session. This particular student was really experienced and had worked as a nurse herself for a while. This meant she had loads of experience with dental materials and did a great job with the task. When speaking to her, she reminded me that things don't come easy the first time around and told me about her struggles in the beginning. She helped me get over what was essentially that fear of struggling in the beginning, and understanding that this really is a long process; I would never expect my first fillings to be good before, and certainly not when looking back, but at that moment when I was actually doing them, I had this real drive to make sure they were perfect, which was a very unrealistic expectation. Anyways, what I took from that was that I just have to not have exceedingly high, unrealistic expectations when starting something new, and that it's about the process of getting to that perfection, not the perfection itself, that matters.

📚 Reading Log

Recently I've been finishing off the second book of the Mistborn series, and it was great, so here's a quick review of the book in case you're interested!

Mistborn: The Well of Ascension - Rated it 8/10

This book is the sequel to The Final Empire, which I personally really enjoyed, so I guess the best way to review this book is to compare the two. While the first book was centred around a heist/mission, this book focuses a lot on the idea of a siege, with a young man coming into his own as a new king, and his fiance, the main character, Vin, trying to figure out her role within her kingdom, friends, and relationship. This book focuses on similar themes to the first one, mainly trust and identity, but does introduce the new themes of the art of war, and other themes like the moral dilemma behind killing soldiers of war, etc.

Although I rated this book lower than the first one, I actually felt like I enjoyed this second book in the series more, for a couple of reasons: firstly, already knowing most of the characters was great as it meant I could focus more on their development and also the new characters introduced, namely Zane, Tindwyl and OreSeur were all fantastic! Also, I did really enjoy the whole tone of the story with the siege and the warfare. However, the reason I rated it lower was due to the ending, which I felt was quite underwhelming, especially considering how gripping the majority of the story was!

That's about it for this review; if you've read these books, do let me know your thoughts! For my next read, I'm taking a break from this series and reading Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, this new mystery book was released recently about a man living in a strange, and I wanna say enchanted house. It's quite short, seems interesting, and has won loads of awards already so I might as well give it a try!

✍️ Applicant Tip of the Week

For this week, my tip for you guys is gonna be an interview tip, since the UCAS application deadline has passed and it's basically a waiting game for you guys right now! I just also wanna say best of luck if you're applying this year, you've done amazingly to get this far and now you just gotta stay patient and prepare for interviews!

Now, onto the tip: one thing I recommend you guys do is to get a long list of common questions you could be asked. Here's a website with loads that I used when I was preparing, but I'm sure there will be others too, so have a look around. For now though, here's this link to get you started:

https://www.studential.com/university/applying/UCAS-application-guide/interviews/dentistry-questions

Once you have a list, start by making bullet point answers for as many of these questions as possible, and once you've done this, you get into the proper interview practice, which I'll talk about next week!

That's all for this week, I hope you guys have a great next week! If you are enjoying this weekly email thing I'm doing or if you have any suggestions, please let me know, my Instagram is always open if you'd like any advice or just wanna chat! Talk to you guys next week!

Omar Tabaqchali :)