Saturday, August 4, 2007

Dental Hygiene

I have a friend who, while working in anatomy lab one day, told me what she thought about the dental students fucking us over on anatomy practicals. Her dad, apparently upon hearing about her brief consideration towards dentistry, told her that:

“If you want to be a doctor, be a doctor. If you want to be a garbage man, be a dentist.”

Clearly he didn't think highly of them and she never considered the career again.

Personally I’ve had some mixed feelings for the dental school and their students. I hate dentists - childhood fear really, but I’ve been able to overlook the mixed feelings I have towards people that desire to work in someone else’s mouth their whole life and have gotten along with some of them just fine. However, seeing a display within the OR while managing one of their cases (since most of the surgeons aren’t cutting this week and the oral “surgeons” are doing a lot of cases) has made me question their training.

If you’re a resident, especially a surgical resident, shouldn’t you know the general culture of the operating room? In particular, the fact that sterility is not something to eschew? I would think that would have been discussed on the very first day while getting your ID's and signing papers. Yet, I’ve seen several of the dental school’s oral surgery residents making huge mistakes in regards to being sterile with a complete lack of follow-up by their seniors.

My attention was caught while watching a girl scrubbing into a case, face exposed because her mask wasn't on, who suddenly appeared with the mask miraculously placed on her face. I wondered how she performed this feat, as no one was in the wash area to assist her prior to her entrance. I soon found out as she, in full sterile surgical gear, kept pushing her gloved hand onto her mask and adjusting it. Over and over again. I looked around, amazed that no one was saying anything. In surgery you would have been tossed out for an infraction like that! Where was the beat-down here that I'd seen or received on so many occasions during surgery?

Another resident would enter and leave the OR through the back door. A huge no-no since this door has signs plastered on it with large stop signs saying “Do not enter or leave through this door. Use the interior door, please.” People have been kicked out of surgeries for doing something this dumb. But, once again, nothing was said.

Another resident, moving around the patient while getting x-rays, kept brushing against the blue sterile cloth of the equipment table. He was warned once by the scrub-nurse, but he kept doing it. I have been made completely paranoid about this area and avoid it like the plague for fear of sudden death. He, however, didn’t seem to care. Probably because the case wasn’t stopped, new equipment wasn't procured, cases weren't moved back for hours, and the resident wasn't made to feel no larger than 2 inches for being a completely worthless idiot.

And still another resident (a lot of them in the room fucking stuff up, no?) didn’t seem to understand that wearing his mask was not an option. I counted 7 times where this guy left the room and entered without his mask pulled up. At least the attending got on him about that!

I seriously have to wonder about the training these "surgeons" are receiving when something that seems so inherent to any surgical field has been, apparently, completely ignored. Perhaps they are happier than most residents in medicine since they aren't belittled for infractions. But isn't that what makes you learn the correct way to perform procedures? Isn't that, at least to some degree, part of the reason surgeons are as compulsive about being clean as they are? I wonder what their infection rate is and who takes over once they give their patients endocarditis. Oh yeah, the real doctors.


Anonymous said...

Dentists are real doctors. In fact they're more doctor than you'll ever be, being a fucking gasman. You're a tard.

Parcho said...

I've been in on a few oral surgeries as well. Nasty stuff.

But someone's gotta do it, right?

Jean said...

This post really hit it on the head - ever watched at your dental office? Amazing lack of tech. As eg - take Xrays and never double glove - just on to the next "victim", use same pen/pencil to chart and back in the mouth. I could go on and on - - -
and you wonder why patients say they aren't doctors, they're dentists.Read somewhere that some larger offices charge a fee to use sterile tech.!!

MedStudentGod (MSG) said...

Actually I've not been to the dentist in over 7 years, so I can't really say that I've been aware - but surely I'll be watching from now on.

Certainly someone's gotta do the work, but...the mouth...all day...gross.

And to anon: an IQ of less than 70 makes me a tard. Since I'm at 71 - nyah!

Liz said...

This post was funny. Anon's comments were not. :)

At my med school, the dents have all of the same lectures and path sessions as we med students do. The only thing is that our anatomy sessions are replaced by their own (for the most part). So they have to do all of the work the med students do + all of their crazy dentistry work. They have wayyy more classes and exams than us b'c they take all the med exams + their own. I think on my last exam there were like 2 questions about dentistry. Yet they have to learn all of our material. Oops!! I somehow feel like that's not a very fair system (for them). After 2nd yr is over, we split up and never see them again. :(

isabelle_yang said...

That was how it was at my school too, but I'm still appalled at how loosely some dentists are on infection control. Fortunately our oral surgery instructor was very strict about it, and taught us well. Anyone adjusting glasses with sterile gloves would be banished from seeing any more cases that day. Guess it depends a bit on the person, eh?