Removing Caries, Biofilm Lectures & Overthinking

Hey everyone,

I hope your week has been going well! I've had an extremely busy week, been overwhelmed with tasks from all corners of my life, and I've spent most of the week trying to keep up! I remember saying that I was going to try and wake up early this week, but to be honest, I didn't do a great job of that for most of the week, so I'm going to try again this week, hopefully with a bit more success, and we'll see how that goes! Anyway, here's what I got up to in dental school:

🦷 Dental Diary

My clinical skills session was a blast this week; I had a CONS practical session where we were introduced to caries removal. This was a full-on practical session, where I was using different instruments like the slow and fast handpieces and the excavator to remove soft carious (decayed) tissue. I had to focus on being minimally invasive and only removing the tissue that couldn't remineralise. It was a pretty surreal experience, and I really felt like a dentist, changing instruments and cutting away the old amalgam filling that was inside. If you'd like to see more details about this session, I've made a reel over on my Instagram explaining my work, which I've linked here:

So apart from clinics this week I was busy watching way too many lectures about dental plaque and its microbiology. It was quite fascinating initially but after a few lectures, I was quickly getting bogged down with how specific all of the information was. You'd really be surprised how much we have to learn about plaque biofilms. What I'm hoping is that as much of this info as possible will be useful and applicable in practice once I see patients.

🧠 Insight of the Week

This week's insight was indirectly created under the pressure of a decision I had to make. At King’s this week, nominations opened up for the Dental Student Council, where I could be a year representative, who basically just helped to address any issue students were facing and relay them to the faculty, kind of like with School Council back in school. Now the nominations opened on Monday and I wanted to sign up as soon as I'd heard, but I ended up overthinking this decision and procrastinating.

I was debating whether to ask other students who have been year reps whether it was worth it and going through this really unnecessary stress in my mind because I was hesitant to just sign up. I ended up asking someone who was at one point a year rep, but they never got back to me. This, and the deadline for nominations barrelling towards me, I decided to just nominate myself.

As soon as I did it, I honestly felt so relieved. I guess I was waiting for someone to tell me to do it because the voice in my head was apparently not enough! My insight that hopefully, you might find useful is to not wait for people to indirectly give you permission to do stuff, especially if it's some kind of opportunity because, in 99% of cases, you really don't have much to lose, if at all!

📚 Reading Log

This week, I'm continuing to read the second book of the Mistborn Series, called the Well of Ascension. It's such an interesting book that follows from the last one in the series and is very politics & warfare/siege based, which gives a very different perspective than the first book, and I'm enjoying it quite a lot more, to be honest. The only issue though is that this book is a lot longer than the first book, and sometimes so many chapters go by that when a character reappears, I've totally forgotten who they are and don't care enough about them, which isn't great, but these are quite minor side characters so it's not really a big deal, just something I noticed.

✍️ Applicant Tip of the Week

This week, my tip for you guys who are going through the application process at the moment is to do with revision. I really recommend that you guys make use of the examiner's reports when doing past papers. This was something I wish I did when I was doing my A-levels back in the day, because examiners usually write all the things that students commonly get wrong, so you can make sure you have all of those common mistakes sorted, and that'll help you get the bulk of the marks right!

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 :)