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A Typical Week In Dental School

Posted in: Adelaide Dental School, Student Blog, Study Abroad, Study Abroad Blog, Study In Australia, Uncategorized
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A typical week in dental school


I’m sure many of you have your own idea of what dental school may be like- I know I definitely had my own assumptions before I came here! Whether you think of caffeine-laden all-nighters, or adrenaline-fueled clinic sessions, I’ll lay it out for you here and let you judge for yourself. Keep in mind that I’m only a second year student, and the schedule and allocation of contact hours will change drastically in the upper years (less lectures and more clinic with patients!) Also, I’ve divided up Monday’s into first and second semester schedules, since these varied drastically between each semester. Other than that, however, both semesters followed mostly the same schedule on a weekly basis.

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First Semester

Monday mornings in first semester were either lectures from 9-11am, or activities in the dental simulation clinic from 9am-12pm. In the second half of the first semester, we began our morning sessions in the Dental Simulation Clinic, which is a large lab filled with approximately 100 mannequin heads used by students of all years to practice clinical procedures. During this semester, we did not do any operative procedures, but rather analyzed the occlusion (contact between teeth) of a typical human.


Second Semester

In second semester, we began the dissection of the head and neck on human cadavers- examining every organ, nerve, muscle, and blood vessel from the clavicle and above. This has actually been one of the more interesting and captivating activities this year. These two-hour anatomy labs are typically followed by the introduction or continued discussion of an “ILA” scenario. The ILA (integrated learning activity) is effectively the same as PBL (problem-based learning)- we are presented with a patient and a scenario and must consider all factors in the diagnosis and treatment of the patient. Every three weeks we are presented with a scenario, and the lectures throughout this period will mostly relate back to the given topics.



In both first and second semester, Tuesday mornings were occupied by lectures beginning at 9am and spanning for 3 or 4 hours. Then, after an hour break for lunch, we would be in the simulation clinic to practice clinical procedures. This year is focused on restorative procedures, which is the typical “drill and fill” procedure for cavities or any lost tooth structure. Each week, we work on restoring a tooth in a specific site using various methods.

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Wednesday is a very unique day, as we are granted the morning off and do not have any scheduled classes until 1:00pm. However, there is a catch- class is not done over until 8:30pm! From 1pm-4pm, we are scheduled in the simulation clinic to further practice the procedures. From 5:30pm-8:30pm, we are in the Adelaide Dental Hospital for clinical sessions. In first semester, these sessions involved practicing oral examinations and standard cleaning or preventative procedures on fellow students. In second semester, we finally saw our first patients- although we were restricted to booking in only family and friends. This was still an extremely exciting process, as it was our first time ever operating on real “patients”. The last year and a half was spent only operating on fellow classmates, so this has been a very enjoyable experience.



Thursdays are colloquially known as lecture days, with lectures typically spanning from 9:00am through 4:00pm, with a lunch break. The afternoon lectures involve meeting with your ILA group and a tutor to discuss the gathered research on the current ILA scenario. This is always a great opportunity to share information and learn from others!



Fridays are more or less the same schedule as Tuesdays, with a few lectures in the morning followed by an afternoon in the simulation clinic. Some Friday simulation clinic sessions are assigned as assessment days- where a tutor grades your work performed in that session and gives feedback for improvement. Despite being nerve-wracking at times, this is one of the best ways to improve clinical skill

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Read some of Preston’s other blogs;

Things To Know Before You Leave To Study Abroad 

Why You Should Study Abroad

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