September Student Spotlight

September 02, 2020 1275

Quick Summary:

Get to know CDA’s September Student Spotlight, Jessica Huang from Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry class of 2021.

Describe your experience as a dental student during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Remote learning has been challenging these past couple of months, especially because I am missing a lot of clinical experience as a rising D4 student. I miss my classmates, holding a handpiece, scaling off calculus and even popping off the bubbles on my stone casts.

I try to maintain a positive outlook and I appreciate all the faculty for their efforts in trying to continue our education through live online lectures, discussions and research assignments. It has been fun seeing a snapshot of everyone’s lives at home, including the faculty, when all our cameras are turned on.

Have your career aspirations changed due to COVID-19?
Absolutely not! Dentistry is still a phenomenal and rewarding career. It might take some time to bounce back once the pandemic is controlled, but there will always be a need for dental professionals. Interprofessional care is also becoming increasingly common, so I look forward to collaborating with health care workers from all types of disciplines as we work together to tackle current and future diseases.

What has been your favorite dental school moment or experience so far?
I will never forget the first time I drilled on a tooth of a real patient. It was just a Class I prep, but reality kicked in when I realized I could not just unscrew the tooth and replace it with a new typodont tooth. I was quite nervous, but the second I touched the tooth with the bur, I was overwhelmed with excitement and the whole process felt natural.

What has been the most rewarding thing about working on patients?
I am also a dental hygienist, so I absolutely love when my patients see and feel the results from improved oral hygiene. It is rewarding when my patients understand and stick to a homecare regimen that will make huge impacts on their dental treatment and overall health. I also love when I get to witness all the “ah-hah” moments that my bubbly pediatric patients have after they learn about sugar bugs and are motivated to floss and brush the sugar bugs away. I hope this instills good lifelong oral hygiene habits.

What’s one thing about dental school you wish your friends who aren’t in dental school could understand?
There is a lot to learn in four years! Dental school is not just about developing our hand skills. It is also about understanding what, when, why and how we carry out each procedure. It may seem so simple to just “drill and fill” a tooth. However, there are biological and mechanical reasons as to why we would prepare a tooth to a specific depth, width or shape and reasons why we would pick one material over another to restore a tooth. 

What is your favorite comfort food?
Fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs, with extra BBQ sauce!

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
I would definitely pull out my KitchenAid mixer and bake more desserts. I made the desserts for several family weddings, fulfilled cupcake orders for birthday parties and baked for many fundraisers. I look forward to many more baking adventures after I graduate from dental school!

Why are you #cdaproud?
I am #cdaproud because CDA is the largest and most respected state dental association within the ADA. The CDA network is so strong that I feel like everyone is family. I always feel energized when I talk to other CDA members because we all have the same passion for dentistry and share the same goal of improving the health of all people. Thank you, CDA, for all the resources you provide and for all of your support!