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No manual dexterity, do I have a chance?

Discussion in 'Dental' started by mailman, May 25, 2008.

  1. mailman

    mailman my game is like a rhyme 2+ Year Member

    May 26, 2007
    I'm starting dental school this fall but I'm a little nervous about my hand skills. I've never really done anything to show me if I have good manual dexterity or not. But, the few things I have done (even screwing a screw in something with a screw driver) are not the easiest things for me. I'm not a klutz or anything, but do you think I can learn to dentistry with my hands with hard work or am I in trouble?
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  3. Yang

    Yang 2+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2007
    Yes, you can learn to do dentistry with some effort. The learning curve is different for people. Some are better than others at certain things. Some kids in my class were really good at waxing up a tooth in preclinic lab. Some people can visualize the final product at the beginning and know exactly where to add and where to carve away. Eventually everyone learns how to do it. You are good enough to get into the dental school you will do just fine. Be sure to be good friends with the lab technicians at your school. They were the most helpful people at my school. They can save one a lot of sleepless nights. Good luck.
  4. griller

    griller 5+ Year Member

    Nov 22, 2006
    you will surprise yourself to how fast you will learn and improve. some people i saw the first day of lab were year later they are actually pumping out some decent looking preps. granted, if you really are not good with you hands you will have to work harder than most to get by. just have confidence in yourself and you will do just fine.

    if you want to get better before you start school, start drawing by replicating figures, pictures, things like that. A major factor in being a great dentist is having a good eye, so work on that and you will be fine. but if you hate using your hands, i recommend you pursue another career
  5. mailman

    mailman my game is like a rhyme 2+ Year Member

    May 26, 2007
    Thanks for the encouragement. I don't hate using my hands at all. I just grew up going to school and playing sports. I never worked on cars, wood carved, built furniture, put things together, etc. so I am just not sure how good I am. I do know that I don't have the experience. But I am willing to work hard and do whatever it takes. I just wanted to make sure I'm not hopless.
  6. OceanDMD

    OceanDMD Rather be fishing 7+ Year Member

    Oct 25, 2006
    Go ortho. They make twice to 3x as much as a general and need almost no hand skills...:D
  7. DCRedskinsRule

    DCRedskinsRule 7+ Year Member

    May 27, 2008
    I found a random hobby (at Hobby Lobby :cool:) that not only tests your manual dexterity but it really helps develop it too. Go to the back section of Hobby Lobby and there will be an aisle with model cars or something. Get one of those for $10-15 and it comes with anywhere from 50-100+ pieces depending on what level of difficulty you choose. The one I started with had over 20 pieces in the engine alone. You have to work with really small pieces and hold things while they're gluing at funny angles while you stick something else on it. It's pretty fun and something you can do for like 30 minutes a day during the summer and it should get some of the coordination that you're wanting.
  8. La Dentista

    La Dentista 2+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    That actually sounds like fun... I never thought of that!
    Geez now I'm going to have to spend more money on small things! :scared:
    Thanks for mentioning this.
  9. OffAngleHatchet

    OffAngleHatchet Likes off-angle hatchets 7+ Year Member

    Sep 18, 2005
    San Diego, CA
    About 70% of developing "hand skills" is actually "eye skills" - training your eye to look for the details that will tell you how off your crown prep or wax carving is. The other 30% is learning how to work on a small scale and make little witchy adjustments -- again, a lot of it depends on how your eyes are adjusting and adapting to working on such a scale.

    However, if you've got stone fingers because you've been doing Iron Palm kung fu all your life, and your hands are a gnarly mass of calluses and deadened nerves... then dentistry might be difficult. Not to say you can't make it or won't make it -- a guy in my class is a black belt, spent his life breaking boards, and he's going to perio school in the fall. But he did have a steeper learning curve early on.
  10. Saddleshoes

    Saddleshoes 10+ Year Member

    Oct 28, 2007
    In my class we had people with "golden hands" and we had people with "lead hands". We did lose one girl with lead hands. She bombed out not because she couldn't do it but because she WORRIED about not doing it.

    Point of the story is this ...... Give it your best shot and don't worry about it, you will do fine in time.
  11. LeoDDS

    LeoDDS 7+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2008
    if you can tie your shoes, you're fine
  12. KOM

    KOM Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    No manual dexterity = not good profession to be in. Plain and simple.

    There is time to develop it however. If you don't see any improvement I would definitely shy away from it. Working in such a small area the rest of your life is enough to drive even someone with great dexterity a bit crazy.

    There's a simple test you can perform -

    If you got really fat fingers and/or can't place a screw to hang a painting then dentistry probably isn't for you.

    Imagine the Simpson's episode where Homer got really fat, had to wear a Mumu, tried dialing a phone number, and got an operator recording "the fingers you have tried dialing the # with are too fat."
  13. apple1012

    apple1012 2+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2007
    I disagree. Unless you had prior training as a lab tech or hygeinist, nobody truly knows the degree of one's manual dexterity. If you like to work with your hands, very interested in dentistry, maybe test the waters by sewing or painting. If you are more of a brain person and don't care very much at all for working with your hands, then I would reconsider going into dentistry. If you have the interest, and have a little bit of experience, your interest will drive you to work your butt off in pre clinic to be great with your hands. Me personally, in D1, lab courses were not exactly my strength, but I knew how badly I still wanted to learn and get better. D2, I got much better, and I'm going into clinic soon. So, don't underestimate your abilities, just make sure youre interesred in learning, and if not, then maybe dont go into dentistry
  14. KOM

    KOM Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    I disagree with your disagreement.
  15. rsweeney

    rsweeney Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    I also disagree with the disagreement
  16. KOM

    KOM Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    I disagree with you disagreeing about our disagreement.
  17. OLDwood

    OLDwood 7+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    I was wondering if dental assisting gig help with hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity?
  18. KOM

    KOM Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2006
  19. VilleDent

    VilleDent Hate Teeth? Visit KY! 2+ Year Member

    Dec 3, 2006
    I think it has more to do with hand-eye coordination as well. I played sports always, but never built things with my hands. I felt like I wouldn't be very effective with my hand skills, but was surprised at how well I could pick it up. That said, someone with severe dexterity problems (ex. can't play rock-paper-scissors) may have some trouble.

    Big key for me was to actually keep a final picture out of what I wanted to do, whether it be a prep or a wax carve-up. If I saw it, it came out so much better.

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