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Maybe I should post this in the Dental forum, but I was just wondering how prevalent left-handed dentists are? I'm left-handed and am applying this year and was just wondering if left-handedness is a severe disadvantage in dental school/dentistry.

I was reading in an earlier post on how one school has some of their operatories set up for left-handers. Is that something that is common in dental schools?

Thanks :)
 

Teething Beauty

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RSXer,
Well, I do not see how this would be a disadvantage for you, in fact the dentist that I used to work with was a left handed dentist. His left handedness was quite a handy tool because he had an easier time in dental school while in clinicals because he knew how to work with his left hand while most righties were having trouble. He believed that it was easier for him to learn how to use his right hand, while righties had a more difficult time learning how to use their left hand in clinicals. So, in the long run your "leftiness" will be to your advantage!!!! :D
Teething Beauty
 

Yah-E

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RXSer:

Many of the dental schools that I've visited are equiped for left-handed students (Temple, Nova, NYU, Marquette....), you'll be just fine!

:cool:
 
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RSXer

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Interesting spin on things. Thanks for the optimistic perspective. It makes me feel better about the situation. Although, I can't help but think about the difficulty of being a left-handed dental student. Do all schools have left-handed equipment/operatories? How about finding work as an associate dentist? I assume a left hander has limited options when looking for work coming out of dental school. I mean, what percentage of dental offices/clinics have left-handed operatories?

Anyway, this left-handed issue is just a concern I have. If my concerns are validated, then so be it. It won't detract from my wanting to become a dentist. Thanks for your thoughts. Anyone else? :D
 
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RSXer

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Originally posted by Yah-E
RXSer:

Many of the dental schools that I've visited are equiped for left-handed students (Temple, Nova, NYU, Marquette....), you'll be just fine!

:cool:
Cool! I'm already applying to Temple and NYU. I'll check into the other 2 you mentioned. Thanks!
 

steiner19er

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Disadvantage??? my ass. You have the greatest advantage of all. Most people are right handed, which means most of your professors will be right handed. Your advantage comes in when your profs come and look at your fulcruming, and your technique. Since they don;t know which way you are supposed to be holding the instrument, or if you are fulcruming off of the right tooth or not they will just assume you are doing it correctly and give you and A.
 

groundhog

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It gets even better after you graduate. Prospective right handed assistants (who are likley to be in the majority)) will love the opportunity to work with a left handed dentist.
 

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I disagree with steiner on this one - although I'm guessing he was being sarcastic in his post. When we took operative, the handouts gave instructions for right and left handed operators on the same page. There was one left-handed instructor out of the 9 who taught in the class (same for fixed prostho - one left hander out of 8 teachers). The professors knew to look for proper positioning and instrument finger grasps in right and left handed operators when they were grading for the practicals. All of our pre-clinic and clinical classes give instructions for right and left handers. I think they are very sensitive and accomodating to left handers at Buffalo and I don't think they have a problem.

A few years ago I shadowed a recent grad who was left handed and had just bought her practice from a right handed dentist. She said she did have to convert some of the stuff, but it wasn't such a big deal. So I would think that if the dentist really wants you as an associate, they should be willing to invest what's needed to convert an operatory for you.

I just saw some patients at the Children's Hospital of Buffalo last week. I quickly learned that especially in pedo, it pays to develop ambidextrous skills. You can never position the kid exactly the way they teach you in operative to do sealants and restorations and stuff. The kid will squirm or get restless or move their tongue into the way. You have to be FAST and that means doing whatever is necessary. I will definitely be working on better utilizing both hands this fall in clinic.
 

cusp of carabelli

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Originally posted by griffin04
I will definitely be working on better utilizing both hands this fall in clinic.
I've been practicing too by trying to eat w/chopsticks in my left hand!! :p :)
 
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RSXer

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wow! Thanks for all the activity in this thread. I'm glad you can all chime in with your comments.

I am getting a sense that schools accomodate left-handed students in their instruction, which gives me greater comfort. Please feel free to chime in with ny schools that you feel are extra accomodating or LESS THAN accomodating to left-handers.

griffin - When you say "develop ambidextrous skills", do you mean actually learning to use handpieces, explorers, etc. with your non-dominant hand? Or even learn using a left-handed operatory?

Thanks!

BTW cusp, I've been practicing to down Jager shots with my right-hand. Doeas that count as practicing?:p
 

steiner19er

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griffen04, I wasn;t being sarcastic when I posted. I was just going on what my friend, a sinister person, had told me. When she was in hygiene school she Aced all of her practicals, b/c the profs were all rightys, so they had no clue if she was doing something the right way or not. So I believe my theory is correct, but it gets tossed out of the window once you have a lefty prof.
 

gryffindor

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RSXer - I am right handed. I mean more like using the explorer with my left hand, giving anesthesia with my left hand (this one is key for pedo), applying sealants, scaling and root planing with my left hand, etc. I don't think I would use the handpieces with my left hand, but it's all about training yourself to do it. Operative was hellish enough with my right hand, I'm not going through it again to train my left hand.

For NY Schools - my school, Buffalo, definitely has operatories for left handers and is very accomodating to them. We have four or five students who are left handed in my class. I know a student who is left handed and is a fourth year at Stonybrook, so they must have some provision for him at that school if he made it this far.

cusp - I guess using chopsticks with your left hand is a start but I can't even use them with my right hand. I wouldn't stress about it too much, you'll develop all the hand skills you need (right or left) with the excessive amount of lab work they make you do at school.
 

steiner19er

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griffen04, I wasn;t being sarcastic when I posted. I was just going on what my friend, a sinister person, had told me. When she was in hygiene school she Aced all of her practicals, b/c the profs were all rightys, so they had no clue if she was doing something the right way or not. So I believe my theory is correct, but it gets tossed out of the window once you have a lefty prof.
 

steiner19er

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griffen04, I wasn;t being sarcastic when I posted. I was just going on what my friend, a sinister person, had told me. When she was in hygiene school she Aced all of her practicals, b/c the profs were all rightys, so they had no clue if she was doing something the right way or not. So I believe my theory is correct, but it gets tossed out of the window once you have a lefty prof.
 

Regina330

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I am left-handed and going to be starting my first year of dental school. I can tell you that in pre-clinics at Temple, left handed students have no option but to sit in the last seat at the far end of each row, which I did not like. BUT, the good thing is that the operatories are large and the chair is directly in the middle, so that you can set your equipment and yourself on either side. USC has the same set up in the simulation learning center, where you can move your stuff on either side, where, if I remember correctly, at NYU and BU, there are certain sim lab seats for lefties. But, I did ask at all of my interviews (NYU, BU, Pitt, Temple, USC) if and how lefties are accomodated, all were. But, I do think that since the majority of professors and students will be right-handed, it may be a little bit more difficult to get started. Just my thought.
 

Frank Cavitation

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lefties make up about 10% of the class here at my school,
and they sit at the aisles too. I don't think it makes much
of a difference.

On the other hand (pun) I would love to become ambidextrous
so that my hands never get tired and I would have 180
degree mobility around the patient.
 
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