Women Interested in OMS

Discussion in 'Dental Residents and Practicing Dentists' started by TheSusieB, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. TheSusieB

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    I am currently a practicing OMS and feel it is very important to change the perception female dental students have of our profession. I know there are women out there interested in OMS that have little access to a female mentor and are wondering if OMS is a viable career choice for them. The truth of the matter is OMS is a wonderful career choice for men and women! You can be apart of a profession you love, have a family if you so choose, and achieve work-life balance, you just need some mentoring along the way. I'd like to to start this thread in order for women currently in OMS and women interested in OMS to have a platform to communicate. Any young women interested in OMS, please post your questions or thoughts here.
     
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  2. kad690775

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    Hi Thank you so much for starting this thread. You are so right. It's really hard to find women mentors in OMFS but so important. I'm currently a dental student in 3rd year, just took the cbse and will be applying next year. I'm also currently trying to conceive my first child.

    My question is do you find there is enough time for family during residency? I'm worried that I'm not going to be around enough when the kids are young. I'm also wondering in your experience, are residencies understanding of residents with families, for example if a child got sick and we had to take care of the situation? My husband would also be a resident at the same time.

    Again thank you so much for being available!
     
  3. OMS MRSAnary

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    Unfortunately, no OMFS residency is truly family-friendly. You are going to be missing a lot of important time with your kids as they are growing up those 4-6 years. That's one of the major reasons that there are so few women in our speciality. It is incredibly difficult to leave in the morning before your kids go to school and get home after they have eaten dinner at night.

    In terms of being understanding, you have to realize that whenever you have to take a day off or leave early because your child is sick, it is your co-residents that have to pick up the slack. While legally in your contract I'm sure you have built in "sick" days that can be used for yourself and family if necessary, in reality these are rarely used because you are just pushing all of your responsibilities onto your co-residents. Is it fair to them to have to stay late and do extra work because they don't have families at home? It's really a moral issue that can alienate you from your co-residents.

    From personal experience, the majority of OMFS residents that I know who have families have a spouse or other family member taking care of the day to day issues for their children. It would be extremely difficult to have both you and your husband in demanding residencies while also taking care of your children unless you had another family member around (your parents, in-laws, etc.) that can lend a significant hand.
     
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  4. CMistry

    Physician Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    This. Person. Understands.
     
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  5. kad690775

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    Thanks for the insight! I have heard similar things just reading around the Internet and it's truly helpful in deciding on childcare knowing that I wouldn't be able to take time off. I accept that's the reality of things and understand that no matter what it's going to be a difficult 4 years for all.

    Thanks again!
     
  6. TheSusieB

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    Sorry for the delayed response, but I have been out of the country.

    I can understand some of what was mentioned in the two previous posts, but tend to disagree. Yes, OMS residency is demanding for EVERYONE, but having a family during residency is not impossible. Most of the men in our program have children, and occasionally a child falls ill and the mother or father must take time off. If you're a male OMS resident and you child sustains a life threatening injury, will it be expected you not take any time to tend to your family? I hope not. Also, we have had residents that have become ill themselves and needed time off. Residency programs are a team and there will be times that everyone must help out when needed for different circumstances.

    Are you going to miss time with your children? Yes, you will, but it is up to you to make use of the time you do have. Consider this, in a majority of American families, both spouses have to work full time jobs just to put food on the table. My mother worked full time and went to school at night to get her college degree when I was small child. She missed out some those 5 years, but I don't look back on my childhood and think she was a terrible mother. I realize she was doing something to better herself and our family. This is a reality for a majority of Americans, not just women in OMS. Residency training is only 4-6 years of your life that you endure to have a great lifestyle and income to support your family. Also, these issues are not isolated to women, they affect fathers as well. If you are considering having a family during residency training, you have to take the necessary steps to make sure you have a good network of family, friends, or hired help to assist in child care. In OMS we need to change our myopic view in regards to women in our specialty. Take medicine for example, currently more than 50% of the General Surgery residency training positions are held by women. Some General Surgery programs are small and some are large, just like OMS. Are we assuming that our training is significantly more demanding than theirs? I think not. In fact, it is becoming increasingly more common for female residents in medical specialties to have children during training, and the world is still turning.

    The important point to take home is that you have to make good life choices as far as family planning, the type of program you apply to, and what works for you and your family. One of the major reasons we lack women in our specialty is not necessarily because we are not "family friendly," but because our specialty still lacks perspective. There is a large gap between the perception of female dental students and female practitioners. There is also a gap related to the perception some men in our specialty have of women and their role in our profession, along with the family. Both of these perception gaps are actually supported by research in the literature. What our entire specialty must come to realize is ~50% of dental school classes are women and more than half of the top of the class is women. So as long as we continue to dissuade women from going into OMS, we are loosing out on the best and the brightest candidates. The lack of women in our specialty needs to be addressed if we want to maintain the future and integrity of our profession.
     
  7. Splittin' Wizzies

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    ^good post

    Take home message:
    There is the potential for an extremely talented OMFS under the umbrella of any race/gender/ethnicity/etc. What constitutes a great surgeon is not their color or sex, not solely their numbers, but their perseverance, ingenuity, adaptability, and true love for their profession and the people they are helping.

    OMFS residency is brutal and I probably wouldn't call it "family-friendly" per say but it is definitely doable if you have a family. If you have the right stuff and it's truly your dream, you will be capable of making it through regardless of a setback you may have (i.e. you have children, you have the potential to become pregnant, you're not the best test taker, etc.). Nothing worth having comes easy and it's the one's who don't give up who make it in the end.
     
    #7 Splittin' Wizzies, Aug 31, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
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  8. OMS MRSAnary

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    See, I disagree with the notion that OMFS as a specialty is inherently sexist (myopic view towards women). I truly don't believe that's the issue. I think it's more of a case that women, more so than men, generally do not want to sacrifice 4-6 years of their life to go through an OMFS residency. They do not want to postpone starting a family or miss out on significant time as their children are growing up. A few of the top students in my graduating dental school class were females that had an interest in oral surgery, but didn't even consider applying because the time commitment at this stage of their life was just too much.

    That being said, females that do end up applying tend to do very well in the match. I don't know if there are any specific numbers, but all of the women that I met on the interview trail the year I applied ended up matching. To me, it doesn't appear that programs prefer males over females, but that women in general aren't interested in applying. I would love to see statistics on % women matching vs. % men matching if anyone has ever seen them, rather than just pure numbers of females vs. males in OMFS residencies.

    In regards to your comparison between OMFS and surgical residencies, it is a bit flawed in the sense that surgical residencies, on average, have 2-3 times more residents than OMFS residencies. The majority of OMFS residencies have either 1 or 2 positions annually. If your co-intern calls in sick, your work doubles for that day. The impact of one missing resident is significantly greater in the smaller OMFS residencies.

    In terms of "life-threatening injury," of course any rational person would be understanding of a resident having to miss time. The original question posed by kad690775 seemed more to be pertaining to the frequent times that a child falls ill (flu, strep, etc.) and someone needs to be home with them. Currently in my program we have 4 residents with young children, and not one of them has ever missed a day of clinic/OR. It's not because they have children with superhuman immune systems, it's because they know it is expected that outside of extreme emergencies, they cannot take days off. This isn't specific to males or females, it is a fact for all residents in OMFS programs. That is why I mentioned previously that all the residents I know with families have a spouse or family member that takes care of the vast majority of issues for their children. You can't be a full-time parent and full-time resident in OMFS residencies.

    I would love to see more women applying to OMFS. Like I said before, some of the most talented students in my graduating class were female and I would have been ecstatic to be their co-resident. However, the demands of OMFS residency are not soon to change. The only way that more women apply to OMFS is if there is a generalized shift in priorities from family to work/career.
     
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  9. TheSusieB

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    No one is implying that the specialty is "sexist," although I'm sure there are some individuals who remain in our specialty that are. Having a myopic view can be as simple as some of the statements people have made on this thread regarding women, childcare, and their desire to become oral and maxillofacial surgeons. An interesting point is that many of the comments above are put forth by male residents, and there is actual research out there demonstrating that not only are the views between men and women in OMS different, but the view that residents have towards women in the specialty and their ability to be successful is more negative than that of academicians and practitioners, even though most of the male residents have little to no exposure to women in the specialty.

    As a resident, your exposure to academic medicine is still somewhat limited. There are many medical residencies that only take 1-2 categorical residents a year and statistically have far more women in their specialties. Some examples are ENT and urology. Even the specialties of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery have more women than OMS, though we are fairly close behind. Overall, women comprise 7% of our specialty and almost 15% of the residency training positions. We as a specialty need to address this shortcoming like the medical specialties if we want to remain a viable profession, and this should be accomplished using only two things, facts and solutions, not anecdotes and opinions. Regardless, this thread was started, not to start a debate amongst genders, but to empower and mentor women with an interest in OMS, so let's keep it at that.
     
  10. lexa_m

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    Wow what an encouraging thread! I am starting my first year of dental school and am very interested in OMFS. I know some may think it's a little early for me to be showing interest in a specialty, and maybe it is, but I enjoy having a goal to work towards nonetheless.

    My school doesn't have a residency so I've heard that I should try and familiarize with other programs but have no idea where to start... Do you have any advice for an aspiring first year lady who wants to go into OMFS?
     
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  11. TheSusieB

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    It is never too early to show interest in a specialty! In fact, the earlier, the better. What dental school do you attend? The reason I ask, is then I may be able to help you identify some schools within your region that may be a good place to start. My suggestion is look at your school schedule and see what breaks you may have. Then, use some of those to visit programs. When you "extern" at a program, try to schedule them for at least 7-14 consecutive days. Maybe during you first 2 years of dental school a week at a time may be best. In order to schedule an externship, all you need to do is look up the program on the AAOMS website or go to their institutional/OMFS Residency webpage and get the contact information. Then you can call or email the program and they will generally have a route to apply or request a visit. Before you go to a program, make sure you know whether there is a call room for you to stay in or how that works and do some research on the program and the attendings. The more time you spend on OMFS and the more programs you visit, the greater your depth of knowledge will be. Another option early on, is to find some private practices near your dental school to visit or shadow at. If you have any other questions, you can private message me.

    Best of luck!!
    -SB
     
  12. nsx2omfs

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    Dear TheSusieB,

    Can I privately message you?


    Thank you
     
  13. TheSusieB

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    Of course.
     
  14. Woodson Lefort II

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    I'm curious why OMFS wouldn't remain a viable professional unless we increase the number of females in it. Thanks.
     
  15. TheSusieB

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    The answer is simple actually, it comes down to numbers. Approximately 50% of dental school classes are female and more than half of the top of the class in most dental schools are female, and little to no women are choosing our specialty. So, we are loosing out on an opportunity to recruit some of the best and the brightest into OMFS, which is something our profession has always prided itself on. This is unfortunately cutting our applicant pools of qualified candidates nearly in half. About a decade ago many of the medical specialties were facing this very dilemma and set forth initiatives to change the perceptions of their specialties. In turn, many have had huge success in recruiting more women into their respective specialties. Another interesting point is there is data to show that women are more likely to choose careers in academia than men. So failing to change the perception female dental students have of OMFS also compounds the shortages we currently face in academic institutions. One must also consider, some of the perceptions students have of our specialty may impact our ability to recruit well qualified men as well.
     
  16. Woodson Lefort II

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    Thanks for the reply.

    I think my issue is with some of the generalizations you make off of your numbers and purported research. Saying "top of the class" is a very broad metric. Top 10, 15, 20, 25, etc? My top 10 was predominantly male, and I'm confident it varies greatly on the school. To support your assertion; our 2 top females chose other specialties, and would have likely made great OMS residents.

    I think the specialty has done quite well considering the deficiency in women, and isn't going away if "initiatives" are implemented. The scope continues to expand; we can look no further than oncology to see it. Could it do better with more women? Maybe. It all depends on the threshold of what makes a good resident.

    My experience has been that most programs are starving to attract females. I've seen females attain interviews and match at a higher rate than their male counterparts, often with inferior credentials. So if you're female and interested in OMS, you should absolutely not be worried about entry bias, although I'm sure it still exists at some programs.
     
  17. tuttifrutti15

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    SusieB, I was a female applicant last year and I have to share my experience. I am a good example of how women are discriminated in this profession. I was ranked # 3 in my class and had a decent NBME score when I applied and I still didn't match last cycle. It was a shock for everyone and obviously very disappointing. Some schools that I matched had some unmatching spots...meaning they didn't even consider me... Not even my own dental school considered me for a residency or internship spot... I love kids but I was willing to postpone it until finishing my professional career. My goal was to even do a fellowship after residency. And no...I am not an awkward person. I am very simple person that have worked very hard to get this far, having coming to this country in high school and not letting the language stop me. So my thoughts... it sucks being a female in this profession (my latin accent probably helped in not matching too)...
     
  18. nsx2omfs

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    TheSusieB,

    I attempted at PM you on several occasion but was denied access. Perhaps you can PM and I can send you my questions? Or would you be comfortable corresponding by email?
     
  19. Sublimazing

    Physician Dentist 5+ Year Member

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    According to your post history...and username...you should be on year 5 of 6 in Neurosurgery...you're seriously going to do 4 years of OMFS after that? Is this real life?
     
  20. TheSusieB

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    Actually they are not generalizations at all and supported by data acquired from the ADA, ADEA, and the AAMC. It is a well known fact that females over the last decade are out performing males in the classrooms from grade school to professional schools in mutilple areas with exception of the tech arena and a few others. It does not mean that this occurs in "every" dental school, but it is an overall trend. The exact percentile is not especially significant, but what is significant is that we are cutting our applicant pools in half. Should we not want to continue to recruit the best and the brightest into OMS because some perceive that our profession has "done quite well?" Nothing I have mentioned is to say that women are smarter, but our culture and the women's suffrage movement has placed a huge influence on women to acheive higher education. And for many women and minorities, it is their only option to better themselves.

    As a fellowship trained OMS in academics, for any resident to say "look at oncology" to infer that our specialty "continues to expand" is extremely short-sided. If you look at the major players in oncology right now, most of them have fought tooth and nail for decades to gain the ground they have. This has not evolved overnight, and there are still only about a dozen or so programs that have successfully achieved this.

    Also, the comment "Could it do better with more women? Maybe. It all depends on the threshold of what makes a good resident." Is that to infer that gender may somehow play a role in what makes a good resident? The truth is our patient populations are very diverse and there should be more diversity within our profession in order to better serve our patients.

    Lastly, I find it hard to believe that any applicant, yourself included, has any in depth knowledge of other applicants credentials or qualifications in order to put this in writing, "I've seen females attain interviews and match at a higher rate than their male counterparts, often with inferior credentials. So if you're female and interested in OMS, you should absolutely not be worried about entry bias, although I'm sure it still exists at some programs."

    Lastly, I did not start this thread to get into a tit for tat about women in OMS with anyone. I started this thread to mentor young women with an interest in OMS. Sadly, I now have a better understanding of why female dental students view our profession the way they do. Just look at all the responses written by male residents currently in OMS. After reading them, I'm sure many of the students who have viewed this thread must think, "If I choose a career in OMS, will that guy be my co-resident or my colleague or my boss one day?" This thread is meant to be positive! A place for young women in dental school or OMS to find some guidance and mentoring. If you're not interested in doing just that, then please refrain from commenting further.
     
  21. TheSusieB

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    I am so sorry to hear you didn't match, and I am even more sorry you feel that way about the acceptance of women in OMS. Without knowing you or your credentials, it is challenging for me to even guess why you didn't match. My advice is #1 Don't give up! Apply for a non-categorical internship and work your butt off! Sit down with the chairman or program director of your dental school and express your interest, ask them what you need to do to become a better applicant, and ask for their advice on why you weren't considered for the match. #2. My best advice to applicants that have English as a second language is to practice interviewing. You only have a short time to express yourself during your interview, so you want it to be clear, concise, and carry conviction for your commitment to OMS. #3. Maybe gender played a role, maybe it didn't, regardless focusing on it won't help you match next time around. Though it's hard, try to not let it jade you. You are going to meet stupid people out there, we all do, male and female. You can't fix everyone or change the way some people will view you, it's just a fact of life. Keep working hard and striving for your goals, and your work will speak for itself soon enough. My best advice on this is find a strong female role model in your institution, they don't even have to be OMS (mine is not). See if they can help you be more prepared in any way. Use them as a sounding board.

    Best of luck!
    SB
     
  22. Woodson Lefort II

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    As someone who has always supported women entering into OMFS, I think you may have misunderstood my points. I strongly encourage anyone interested to pursue the specialty, regardless of race, gender, age, etc.

    It sounds as if you're hostile to any challenge to the information you put forth. I would recommend quelling the ad hominem to further advance your quest.

    My comment about threshold is philosophical in nature. It has no direct relationship to gender, but a question about what is the lowest threshold that makes a good resident. All genders and races undoubtedly have all the criteria. But after it's crossed, what additional advantage is acquired? This relates to what makes a viable profession vs. a failing one vs. a thriving one. No conclusions were made on my part.

    My personal experiences have been stated, and you can choose to not believe them if you wish, but I would encourage all women to apply. Because my experience has shown what I stated above, and yes, I do indeed have "in depth" knowledge of those involved, they are friends of mine.
     
  23. TheSusieB

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    I appreciate your clarification and am glad you are supportive. I am not in the least bit hostile by someone challenging information I put forth, as it is well supported and not based on my personal experience. My point was that we should avoid making generalizations about women or anyone else based on our own limited experience. In fact, in JOMS along with numerous other academic medicine journals, women surveyed had the polar opposite experience of what you perceived from your friends. I will tell you that the one place I know there is a statistical advantage for women in our profession is acceptance into the ABOMS as a board examiner. But there are so few women that apply, that I'm not sure the actual statistical significance.

    Diversity is important to the viability of all of health care in order to better meet the expectations of our patients. And our profession working toward changing the perception students have of us is not based on a minimum standard. We shouldn't be looking for a minimum, we should be recruiting the best. In order to do that all applicants, regardless of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, must perceive an equal opportunity. So, now that we've both clarified our points, let's return to a thread about mentoring.
     
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  24. pinksconnie234

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    Hi SusieB! I'm a 1st year dental student at a state dental school in the midwest and I think I might be interested in Oral Surgery (obviously not set on anything yet). So far I've been getting As both my science classes and dental classes. Is it too early to start looking into externships?
     
  25. TheSusieB

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    It is not too early!! In your early years there are a couple great things you can do. First, the Midwest is know for solid OMS programs. If your school has one, find a time to express your interest to the chairman or the program director. They can help get you involved. You may be able to sit in on their meetings or conferences or if you have some downtime in your schedule, shadow them in the operating room. This is a great start and the chair of OMS in my dental school is who got me involved. The second thing you can do is join the OMS interest group at your school. Most dental schools have them and if yours doesn't, you could always start one. The third thing I would do is spend some of your break time from school, summer, winter, or spring either shadowing a private practice OMS or externing at a program. You don't have to spend your entire break doing this, especially in your early years of dental school, but it will give you some exposure. It obviously costs money to travel to a program, so depending on your finances, you may want to stick to local places until you've really decided OMS is what you'd like to do. Once you've made up your mind, let me know and I can give you a list of some great places to extern. In the mean time, keep working hard and please let me know any other way I can be of service to you!
    Best!
    SB
    Also, see my reply to Lexa_m. I discussed how to apply to externships as well!
     
    #25 TheSusieB, Sep 27, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015
  26. pinksconnie234

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    Thank you! This helped a lot! Also might PM you about places to extern.
     
  27. TheSusieB

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    You're welcome. Please PM any time.

    ~SB
     
  28. amkana

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    Hi SusieB! I'm a third year and am beginning the process of applying to externships. I've got a few questions and would like to PM you as well.
     
  29. TheSusieB

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    Please do. It seems that some people have been experiencing trouble, so I'll send you a note first.

    SB
     
  30. pinksconnie234

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    TheSusieB,

    What is the general timeline of applying? e.g. when do you take the NBME CBSE, when to get letters of recommendation etc.

    (Sorry for the basic questions, but I'm pretty new to the whole process. )
     
  31. OMS MRSAnary

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    Good breakdown in my book. I can't stress enough the importance of doing externships at programs you're not interested in first. Learn the ropes and what to do/say and what not to do/say. We just recently had a person come extern at our programs and just didn't know his place whatsoever. Rubbed all the residents the wrong way. He will not be getting an interview.

    I would also recommend doing externships at programs that have a quality reputation. I actually externed at Shreveport (while Sublimazing was there actually), and was asked about the experience at almost every interview. People know that if you externed there you've seen more than just exos under local. If only the program wasn't filled with a bunch of a-holes like Sublimazing.
     
  32. Sublimazing

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    [​IMG]
     
  33. TheSusieB

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    PinksConnie:
    There is some good information on the above responses, but I will give you a little insight from my perspective. It is great to get involved with your dental school OMS program or a local OMS even in your first year. It all depends on your schedule and study time. Make sure you are not neglecting your course work.

    Yes, you only send the CBSE score you want programs to see. I think every applicant is different in regards to how many times they take the exam. It makes sense, especially if your dental school curriculum mirrors the medical school's, to take the exam shortly after completing your D2 year. This way your course work is fresh. First Aid and UWorld are great study aids as well. If you do well, you may not need to take it again. Aim for a 70 or above. Most medical schools feel a 70 on the CBSE is a good cushion for a guaranteed pass.

    As far as doing externships at programs you do not want to attend, this may be a waste of the limited time you can take off. If you are a sensible person and have spent some time in your OMS dept at dental school (attending rounds, conferences, getting guidance from attendings, etc), then you should know how to appropriately act. In the 10 years I've either been in training or practice, the best extern our program has ever had was a second year dental student. She was well prepared for the cases daily, polite, and worked hard alongside the residents without complaint. It is very important for you to pick out some programs you think you may want to attend and extern there. It is very challenging to really get a good idea about the potential of a program on a one day interview, and I would put little faith in what you read on student doctor. Often, programs remember the externs that come through that do a nice job and it does help your ability to match into that program if you so desire.

    When you go on your externships, don't be intimidated, especially early on. Remember, you are interviewing the program as much as they are you. Programs often depend heavily on externs having a great experience at their program in order to match the best applicants. Often, you will get asked questions, but most of the time no one expects you to really know the answers. That's what residency is for. Though reading for cases and having the ability to answer some of the questions, may help you stand out. Yes, a program may ask if you took the CBSE, but if you haven't yet, it's ok. Most of the time they ask out of curiosity. No one should publicly ask you your score. That information is confidential, so don't feel obligated to answer while in front of others. When you apply, they will know your score and that's when it will count or you can tell them in private.

    In regards to letters of recommendation, make sure you choose surgeons that know you well. Of course, it is ok to have a generic letter from the chair of your dental school OMS program if you don't know them well, but make sure you have some from people that can really write you something detailed and personal. This goes a long way when reading over applications and are often memorable.

    And lastly, the personal statement. My biggest piece of advice to all applicants is to keep in mind that your one page personal statement may be the program's only insight into who you are. Make it count, don't make it generic. In fact, when I applied my personal statement was about my character and my life and had little to do with oral surgery. I can tell you at every interview I had, I received nothing but compliments. I even had a couple programs call when I was unable to accept their interview due to scheduling conflicts because they wanted to personally tell me how much they enjoyed reading it. If your statement is bland or generic, chances are some people will only read the first paragraph and then move on.

    Let me know if I can be of any more assistance.

    Best of luck!
    SB
     
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  34. mcgriddles

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    @TheSusieB Hey! I know this thread is kind of dead now, but I'm finding your advice to be really helpful. I wanted to PM you for further advice but I can't do so. Could you PM me so we can start talking?
     
  35. nsx2omfs

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    Can I PM you?
     
  36. Marwahatem1990

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    Can I m you? M nt able to send you a msg it says you have limited wh views your profile
     

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