My Life and Times at UOP

My first year at the University of Pacific Dental School


The "Hack", hacking up some more teeth in the UOP Simulation Lab

My first year at dental school came and went. Time sure travels fast when you are incredibly busy. Let me give you an overview on my thoughts of my first year at UOP. The first month at dental school was very hectic. Dental school is not difficult (like quantum physics) but is very demanding. At UOP I took something like 26 units of coursework!!!!! You do get to have fun at parties on Fridays and perhaps out on Saturday nights but you certainly do not have time to lay around on the weekend watching TV. I juggled my wife, kid and a one-hour commute and managed to finish in the top 20% of a class of 126. So it can be done. The first few months was especially hard for those that had relationships, most of which were terminated. Not too worry though…..there are plenty of attractive men and women! Also I am happy to say though, NO divorces occurred. The second quarter was tough but not as bad as the first. I think most of us were used to the furious pace (tests every week!!!!). During this time students at UOP pick up two MUST-pass classes: Operative Dentistry and Fixed Pros. Basically if you fail these two classes you will repeat dental school or placed into a remedial class. Both classes require your work to be very precise and you will be graded critically (e.g. preps have to be to the degree!). We all thought faculty were ridiculously critical. I learned many tricks on how to get through (shortcuts) these classes and will disclose what I have learned if requested. The third quarter was by far the most brutal. All I can say is 10 finals!!!!! I literally was studying stuff the night before, a task know one should undertake. Fixed is very brutal this quarter. You have to make a gold bridge in addition to several other projects. On top of that, you have practicals every week in operative dentistry. I was in the lab quite a bit this quarter and had little time to focus on my didactic work. I made it out ok though. Unfortunately this is the quarter when we lost four people. If you make it past this quarter and have passed operative dentistry and fixed you are home free. BTW, during this quarter 5 babies were born to our classmates (one set of twins!) The fourth quarter is a breeze compared to the first three. I think we all just got so used to the furious pace that when we lost a few classes things became significantly easier. Professors become more relaxed and you start feeling like a veteran. The second year at UOP will be a breeze with the exception of boards. Good luck first years!!!! Mike 2001’

Yippie I finished my first year at UOP! Out of 132 people 126 of us remain. Four of the six were asked to repeat or leave and the two others changed careers. Here's my scoop on some selected classes I had in my first year:

  1. Fixed Pros. - you'll be spending many evenings in the lab.
  2. Biochemistry - easy for science majors.
  3. Operative Dentistry - must pass this class prior to the clinic.
  4. Dental Anatomy - everything you ever wanted to know about teeth.
  5. Gross Anatomy - the most demanding biomedical sci class.
  6. Histology - hard core molecular bio majors will find this easy.
  7. Microbiology - lots of memorizing latin names!!!
  8. Physiology - tough at UOP due to the professor. Easy for those that had it before.

My Second year at the University of Pacific Dental School


Meet your friend you will be working with throughout the entire second year

Wow, the 2nd year came and went! The second year at UOP is a breeze. Yes you do have to study for the boards in the first two quarters but after that the class load is very light. Those that suffered during the grueling first year at UOP will be quite relieved in their second. During this year you will spend about 3 hours of your day in the clinic doing dentistry. Students have clinic requirements they must meet and test cases to perform. For our class many students did not complete all three operative test cases and as a result ALL those will receive an INC on their transcript. Those amalgam class II test cases are hard to come by so if you come across them in the eary months, DO THEM AS TEST CASES! Crowns are also very scarce at UOP. You need 18-19 to graduate. Most students do 1-2 in the first year but I know someone who has done 10! During this year you will likely begin seeing denture patients (denture block) and likely will perform 1 to 2 root canals. The great thing about UOP is there is no endodontic specialty. Therefore all the students have the opportunity to try their skill endoing lower and upper molars. That brings up another good point I wanted to make. UOP only offers an ortho specialty and as a result students here get great training in all areas except ortho. For those interested in bolstering their C.V. with research experience, now is the time to do it. There isn't much but opportunities exist. Trust me, you won't be doing anything earth shattering. Anyway, that's all for the second year.

My Last year at the University of Pacific Dental School


Our retreat in Monterey, CA in the final year

The third year at UOP is almost as hectic as the first. The distinct difference however is the emphasis on meeting clinical thresholds with minimal coursework. Boards Part II are tkaen during this year which means you'll need to study in the summer so clinical lab and studying for boards do not overlap. I began studying dental decks in the summer so when school started and I was bogged down with all the lab work, everything was a review. The clinical threesholds to graduate are as follows: 6 denture patients, 150 surfaces of operative, 20 extractions, 19 crowns (pontics do not count), lots of root planning (you'll have plenty) and 6 endo procedures. Mixed in with all of this are 3 fixed test cases, 5 operative test cases and lots of perio (root planning and diagnosis). To graduate you need to get close to these thresholds. Test cases are VERY important. Passing them demonstrates independent clinical judgment and hand skill necessary to practice in the real world. Ultimately what it comes down to is what the floor instructors think of you (can you perform clinically acceptable work). Even if you meet everything they still can keep you back (it has happened). Out of 126 students I believe 4 were held back for legitimate reasons. Other things you have to worry about besides graduation are the State Boards. CA, Western Regionals and the Nevada Boards are given at UOP. To obtain the perfect patients do not depend on your school. You will have to become a sales person and hunt them down. Unlike other students in my class I made flyers (with my pager number on the bottom to tear off)and place them on every college in the Bay Area. I hit art schools, law schools, city colleges, universities, etc. These students usually need dental care (because they just got eliminated form mom and dads' health plan), are more responsible and more than likely have what you need. I must have had 40 patients to screen!!! I had enough for myself with back-ups and for some close friends. To ensure they showed up to the boards I paid them $100. Trust me, if they don't show up you pay far more in lost wages and exam expenses. As for me I PASSED the CA boards in June with a overall score of 84 (or something like that). Now its time to do some dentistry. Later!!!!!

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