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Ask an OMS Resident Anything 2012 Apocalypse Edition

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by armorshell, 12.19.12.


  1. Thanks to Crack the DAT
  1. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    Well, the world is ending in a few days so I thought I might as well get my annual AMA thread out of the way.

    As a baseline, I'm a 3rd year OMS resident at the University of Texas-Southwestern, dental school at University of the Pacific.

    Ask me absolutely anything you want to know about life, OMS, dentistry or whatever.
  2. pinpoint212

    pinpoint212

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    Did you ever doubt yourself when you were becoming an OMS resident? What are the most important characteristics an OMS should have?
  3. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    Doubt myself in what way? Anytime you commit to anything for 6 years there's some doubt involved but throughout the process I felt I was making the right choice. Choosing a program carries a bit more doubt especially since the match process can end up placing you somewhere you might not have expected.

    I think the best characteristic an OMS resident can have, without a doubt, is the ability to work well with a team. Somewhere after that is adaptability and hard-workingness. Somewhere near the bottom, contrary to what many people might think, are book smarts, grades, boards scores, etc...
  4. sacapuntas

    sacapuntas Verified Account

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    Can you talk about the 4 yr vs 6 yr route for OMFS?

    What kind of opportunities do you give up going the 4 year route? What doors does the 6 year route open up?

    Can you practice as a physician with your MD or is it not the same? (not that you would want to, just curious)

    How did you know you had the hand skills for OMFS; were you superior to majority of your classmates in clinical technique?
  5. NDPitch

    NDPitch

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    Are you getting really tired of schooling at this point? Do you feel like you're a professional student? Do you ever freak out about your student loans just sitting there, and possibly accumulating interest and getting bigger and bigger? Speaking of which, do people in hospital based residencies make enough in their stipends to actually start paying off some dental school loans? And lastly, people who go the OMFS route are older just because the program is so long. Do people have to put their lives on hold, or do you know people that are maybe married, have families, etc.

    That was a lot of questions. Whoops!
  6. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    The 6 year route (The one I'm undertaking) includes a variable amount of time to attain and license a medical degree (M.D.) The 4 year option does not include this extra time. Mandatory rotations for OMS residencies include at least 30 months of OMS rotation and 5 months of anesthesia. Some portion of the remainder of the months are taken up by off service rotations or more OMS.

    6 year programs tend to have more off service rotations (General surgery) to license the M.D. and 4 year program tend to have more time on OMS, but there are exceptions on both ends.

    My program has 32 months OMS, 8 months general surgery, 1 month neurosurgery, 1 month ENT, 5 months anesthesia with the remainder being medical school (Which includes a total of 4 months of breaks ;))

    In short, not much. The majority of new academic surgeons in the country are dual-degree surgeons and it will likely stay this way as fellowships close their doors to single degree applicants. This is likely also do the the low interest level of single degree surgeons in pursuing academic careers but after a point the intention becomes moot.

    At some point in our lifetime, dual-degrees will be required to obtain a full time academic position.

    However, a minority of surgeons, dual degree or otherwise, practice this way. A 6 year program opens you up to fellowship training, however, which can open the doors to more advanced cosmetic surgery training. The legality of performing cosmetic surgery in some states is also dependent on having the MD degree but it's wildly variable.

    The M.D. is identical to any other US obtained M.D. We pass all the same levels of licensure as every other US physician. You could legally practice medicine if you desired (and obtained proper residency training in the medical specialty of your choice). OMS residents in the past have jumped ship to other medical specialties, usually anesthesia.

    Honestly, the hand skills required for OMS are not as intricate as those needed for regular, restorative dentistry or endo. If you can master those you can be assured you'll be able to master the skills you need to be proficient in OMS.

    I'd say my hand skills in dental school were above average but nothing spectacular.
  7. KittySquared

    KittySquared Kitty chompers

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    With the way our healthcare is going, do you think specialists or GPs will have it worse?
  8. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    At some point residency stops feeling like school, so no, not really tired. More like I'm looking forward to practice.

    I don't, because I anticipated the costs of residency (which everyone should do) and knew how much it was going to cost me, so more or less everything is going according to plan. Also, freaking out has really no utility since I can't do anything about it, but I do check my balances every once in a while for a little taste of the macabre.

    Stipends vary from residency to residency, mostly in relation to cost of living. Find a place with a low cost of living and high stipend (Like Dallas) and you can find some extra money to pay off loans with. I manage to pay down some higher interest loans, buy a new car (Mine got totaled in a hit and run, otherwise I would have driven my old one until it exploded), have a cool apartment in a hip area and enough left over to have a solid buffer fund. The biggest thing I do to manage my expenses is to make sure I'm living below my means, which despite how it might sound, I still am doing.

    I don't think people put their lives on hold. There are many people who get married and start families in OMS residency. I don't currently have an interest in any of those things but residency has still been the best time of my life, and it's getting better. The work is harder than anything else I've had to do, but you do get used to it.
  9. UCSFx2017

    UCSFx2017 username is misleading

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    How long did you study for Step 1's? Is research imperative for being a competitive applicant to UT Southwestern OMFS? How much sleep do you usually get at night? Do you recommend Prospective OMFS applicants go to the cheapest school or the one with the best reputation (i.e. UCFS vs VCU)?
    Last edited: 12.19.12
  10. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    Procedural based specialists will have it worse, but luckily dentistry won't get touched 1/10th as bad as medicine will. Too small a slice of the pie, and still considered primarily elective.

    I wouldn't be doing OMS if I thought there would be a problem.
  11. KittySquared

    KittySquared Kitty chompers

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    Which specialty do you think will have it the worst in the future?

    And what happens to premeds who went for dentistry envisioning it as the easier path to becoming a "doctor?"
  12. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    I studied about 2 weeks for Step 1 and got a 230.

    No idea. My only experience with UT Houston is one terrible interview.

    Depends on the rotation. During OMS months (the majority of my residency), around 5-6 on non-call nights and 0-4 on call nights. During med school, it depended on how close her place was to the school ;)



    Cheapest. No one cares about reputation, even during the admissions process. Maybe the schools who consider themselves prestigious do, but they tend not to have strong OMS programs anyway.
  13. UCSFx2017

    UCSFx2017 username is misleading

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    You have no idea how much your opinion means to me. I've been following your posts since I was in high school (cira 2008).

    Going back to the cheapest school versus prestigious school. What if that prestigious school offers two 3 month summers off which would allow me to study for NBME? Since you came from a dental school without any affiliation with a medical school curriculum and have taken the Step 1's, how long do you think it would take someone in a similar predoctoral position to prepare for the NBME?
  14. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    I can answer both of these with one answer. I'm not much of the type for speculation. Just do whatever you're interested in and you'll have a lot fewer headaches than if you try and ride the next big wave.

    However, since were just here for fun, personally, perio gives me the biggest worries as a specialty because of how heavily they rely on implants and the current push by implant supply companies towards having general dentists place implants. If the implant referral market dries up, perio would be hit the hardest.
  15. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    What's the price difference? I could convince myself to do a lot of things for $100,000, even study for an extracurricular test while class is in session.

    Honestly, that's what I did for my dental boards. I did most of the studying while class was in session. I also just studied using all USMLE materials for the biosciences, which really helped when I had to take the USMLE. So I guess I can put on my hipster glasses and say I studied for Step 1 in dental school before it was cool.
  16. UCSFx2017

    UCSFx2017 username is misleading

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    The price difference is 70,000 but may become ~40,000 because I've heard some people can get grants.
    What would you say the threshold in price difference should be, for you at least, in terms of attending the more expensive school?
  17. sacapuntas

    sacapuntas Verified Account

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    Thanks for answering my first set of questions:)


    Did you go to dental school knowing that you wanted OMS or did you go into dental school wanting to be a GP and became interested in OMS?

    Would you have been satisfied being a GP if you were unable to match into a OMS program?
  18. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    If someone were going to give you $100,000 cash to go to the cheaper school, would you take it? That's the exact decision you're making right now (Since that 70,000 will grow significantly even during just 4 years, even more during a 6 year residency).
  19. UCSFx2017

    UCSFx2017 username is misleading

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    Big thanks from me too!
  20. UCSFx2017

    UCSFx2017 username is misleading

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    Gottcha! Off to VCU I go!
  21. capnamerica

    capnamerica

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    1) Is there a strong focus in your particular residency on head and neck oncology? What's the breakdown like?
    2) What area(s) are you planning on focusing your future academic career on?
    3) What are some of the more common area(s) that academic OMS focus on?
    4) You mentioned that being able to work in a team is important as an OMS resident. Could you elaborate upon what this entails?

    Thanks Armor!
    Last edited: 12.19.12
  22. Ferneezy

    Ferneezy I don't always Go Blue, but when I do...

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    How much can you deadlift?
  23. Zbtb7

    Zbtb7

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    What would you say are the most important factors towards creating a competitive OMS application? (CBSE, class rank, surgery internship, etc...)
  24. sacapuntas

    sacapuntas Verified Account

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    +1
  25. UltimateHombre

    UltimateHombre Doc Holliday D.D.S.

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    Wasn't it 90K? http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=969466

    Also, i am not sure about anyone getting 30K worth of grants for dschool?! Sources?
  26. UCSFx2017

    UCSFx2017 username is misleading

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    Found out that that I could get living expenses comparable to that of VCU.
    A UCLA, not UCSF, grad. pm'd me about getting 7,000/year in grants. I'd have to pay the deposit to find out if I would get any money. VCU is looking a lot better now that two OMFS residents, armorshell and CMistry, recommended going to the cheaper school.
    Did you guys know that armorshell and CMistry are in the same program?

    Also this,
    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cReNU5pAZyc[/YOUTUBE]

    "Mount up!"
  27. UltimateHombre

    UltimateHombre Doc Holliday D.D.S.

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    I think that is wise.

    Most every dentist will tell you to go to the cheaper school. It sets you up for the most financial success in the future.
  28. 503224

    503224 Gold Donor

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    Armorshell, I read somewhere (can't find it now) that there was a low percentage of women in OMS, so I'm wondering how many women are in your OMS program? Are women discriminated against in this specialty? If not, what do you think turns women away from OMS?

    Also, how do you manage to function while sleeping so few hours a night?

    Do you have a lot of studying and projects to do outside of your residency? How do you manage to fit that in?
  29. Bereno

    Bereno Smoking Monkey

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    Lol...



    AS: I am am curious what you think the value of summer research is after your first year of dental school.
  30. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    I had an inkling I wanted to do OMS based on shadowing experiences, my first externship confirmed it.

    Absolutely, if you wouldn't be satisfied being a GP what are you doing in dental school in the first place?
  31. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    My residency does oncology on a rotation (JPS if you're interested) which accounts for 6 months of our senior experience. I personally prefer this to having oncology being the primary focus of the residency as the majority of OMS do not routinely incorporate this into their practice. I don't have a breakdown as our oncology program is fairly new (<3 years old) but IIRC correctly we're doing free flaps on the order of 1/week.

    I feel like this is strong enough of a focus if you're interested in oncology and weak enough of a focus if you're not. Perfect balance.

    Privatepractology.

    There are surgeons who develop a focus in every type of surgery that OMS can feasibly perform. The most common are trauma, oncology, craniofacial surgery, cosmetics and dentoalveolar surgery, but can include things like sleep surgery, anesthesia, hair transplantation, all kinds of things.

    Having social skills, understanding how to work in a collaborative environment, understanding your role in the team and being able to perform within it, knowing how and when to pick your battles all come to mind.
  32. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    370 last time I tested my 1RM. No straps.
  33. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    CBSE and class rank will always be the first hurdle, after that all that matters is the interview.
  34. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    The percentage of women in OMS is low, probably around 10%. Out of nearly 30 residents we currently have no women in my residency program, but not for lack of trying. Over the past few years we've ranked several women fairly highly in the match but they've chosen to go elsewhere.

    I think there are several reasons for this, and none of them are active discrimination. The number of women who apply for OMS are low in the first place, and the number of women applying for 6 year programs is even lower. Many women seem attracted to dentistry because of the life balance it offers as a career, and taking an OMS residency kind of eliminates that benefit.



    5-6 hours is about the amount I would sleep anyway so I don't feel like I'm not getting enough sleep. On call nights, well, lots of caffeine and small naps.

    Nothing mandatory. I have some small research projects I'm working on during my own time solely for my own interest and edification and I read OMS literature as much as I can. I just read during downtime and work on my research whenever I have a solid block of free time which pops up every now and then.
  35. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    The value of research time lies in what you take out of it. I guarantee you're not going to impress anyone on the interview trail with anything you manage to accomplish in a summer research program, even if it results in a publication. Do it if you enjoy research and can take something away from it.

    If you're just trying to "check off a box" for your residency application I'd say don't even bother and waste your time on something more interesting to you instead.
  36. 503224

    503224 Gold Donor

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    Thanks for answering my questions!

    Hmm, since you're saying 5-6 is normal and what works for you, would you have time to get more sleep if you wanted to on non-call nights? I ask because I'm consistently a 7 hours/night type of gal, but I can certainly function on 3 hours when I need to.

    How often do you take call? Is it in the hospital? Is it usually running around all the time busy?

    Also you hinted that you have a girlfriend in one of the previous posts ("how close her place was to the school ;)"), so how do you think OMS residency affects relationships? Do single people have time to meet others and date or is it more of a if you're single in the beginning you'll remain single because you're just so busy type thing?
  37. 503224

    503224 Gold Donor

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    So would you recommend doing research during dental school as an ongoing thing then?

    Does research you did in undergrad/do publications from undergrad add anything to your application really?
  38. Ferneezy

    Ferneezy I don't always Go Blue, but when I do...

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    when you enter repayment land, what percentage of your case load do you predict T&T will make up?

    will that be more or less than you'd prefer?
  39. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    I easily could get more sleep, I just don't need to.
    At my program it's usually q3 or q4, so every 3-4 days. Usually 2x a week. Yes, it's generally incredibly busy.

    Note that I said it depended on how close her place was to school. ;) So yes, if you're single there is plenty of time to meet others and date.
  40. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    I would recommend doing research only if you're interested in it. Othersie I would say do something else.

    Doubt it unless you provide some continuation of that experience in dental school.
  41. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    Probably 80-90%. I personally enjoy T&T so that's not a problem for me. I will likely continue to do trauma purely as a hobby, if I get paid for it then that's a bonus. If I can make orthognathics work financially I will do them effectively non-stop but that seems to depend highly on geographic area of practice.
  42. bchurchmanpac

    bchurchmanpac U of M Class 2017!

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    Do you do much with Cleft lip/palate or does plastics primarily manage those cases?
  43. armorshell

    armorshell Moderator Emeritus

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    In the US there is simply not a great deal of cleft lip and palate secondary to excellent prenatal care. Most cases are managed by large, interdisciplinary teams which are ultraspecialized out. On these teams, generally the primary lip/palate closure is done by plastics and OMS do alveolar bone grafting and cleft orthognathics. At one of our sites we (OMS) do the primary closure, and at another site it's PRS. The number of cases our major centers do is nothing compared to what you would do on a few weeks of an overseas rotation with Smile Train or a similar organization.
  44. Bifenthrin

    Bifenthrin

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    As a female considering eventually going into OMFS, I have to ask.. do you think it would be reasonable to go for the 6 year program AND have a kid or two during it? I don't want to wait until I'm 34 to start having kids, but I also am very interested in OMFS.
  45. fordorobere

    fordorobere

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    Do you have a lot of studying and projects to do outside of your residency?[​IMG]
  46. Bereno

    Bereno Smoking Monkey

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    Thanks for the insight. I am debating staying home and spending that time with my GF and family (namely trying to spend time with my father), doing research here in CT, or doing a fundraiser bike ride across the US (from Cali to CT) decisions... lol :)
  47. Menthol

    Menthol

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    if you dont mind me asking..
    what was your class ranking??
  48. RU1992

    RU1992

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    I'm sorry if this comes off as a personal question, but what is the typical pay like of a OMFS resident throughout the 4 (or 6, in your case) years? It's more of a financial factor for me during the residency period since I've heard the income is quite low during those years. If you could speak as to your friends experiences or even your own in terms of salary, that would be great. Its also fine if you choose not to answer. Thanks in advance!
  49. GTFOOMICT

    GTFOOMICT

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    How many University of the Pacific alumni does UTSW have?
  50. GTFOOMICT

    GTFOOMICT

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    :eyebrow:

    Thank god for interns

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