Being a dental student is tough – you’re learning a clinical and surgical discipline alongside all the challenges of relationships, studying and social interactions. In this episode with Dr. Lincoln Harris, we talked about three key themes relevant for dental students: overcoming fear, leveling up your skills, and being able to cope with failures.
“You only get confident once you DO the thing that you’re afraid of” Dr. Lincoln Harris.
Highlights of this episode:
- Students pursuing growth vs Students enjoying uni life 12:07
- Overcoming Fear 16:44
- Coping with Failure 26:01
- Discovery throughout Dental Career 31:36
For Dental Students who want to have a head start in their Dental Career, join us LIVE on Friday 30th of September with Dr. Lincoln Harris. Register Now!
For Dentists who want to see Lincoln Harris LIVE in London for a full-day keynote lecture: From Class 1 Composites to Complicated crown preps. Email or DM us on Insta for a super special student rate.
Check out Ripe Global, one of the biggest groups in Dentistry with 80,000+ members!
If you enjoyed this episode, then do check out this 5 Lessons from Dr. Lincoln Harris
Click below for full episode transcript:Opening Snippet: The reason that failures hurt so much when you're a new grad is because you always think it's your fault. And you think it's your fault because you're no good.
This episode is specifically for dental students. So if you’re a dental student, keep listening. If you’re a dentist, I think you’ll actually still gain a lot from the latter parts of this episode. Who doesn’t love listening to Lincoln Harris after all, but if you’re a dentist and you haven’t checked out some of the big episodes, we’ve had this year, like Basil Mizrahi on Shell Crowns, we’ve had Ed McClaren on Ceramics, and of course, the other Lincoln Harris episode on Retraction Cords, do check those out, if you haven’t already. They’re huge. But if you’re listening today, about three things we wish you’d known as a dental student who wants to improve, who wants to no longer be scared, and who wants to be able to cope with failures, then this is the episode for you.
Thanks so much for listening wherever you’re listening from guys. My name is Jaz Gulati. I’m the chief Protruserati and I’ve got Lincoln Harris, again, to talk about all those things I just mentioned, essentially about all the things that are all emotions I had as a student, so I want to help you guys out. So just to give you a bit more information about the three main things we’re discussing today is upskilling as a student, because what frustrations I had was that, as a student, you are just learning the basics. If you can just get the very, very, very basics correct, then the rest you can build on. I was really hungry as a student, I really wanted my composites to look nicer. I really wanted to know more about occlusion. And I just felt as though I didn’t have the access now. Now in this world we live in in 2022, with Instagram and etc. The education is everywhere. It’s actually amazing. We had such little to learn from when it comes to the big bad world of internet, when we were students, you guys, you students have got so much at your disposal. It’s actually amazing. But it’s also a little bit confusing and it can be a bit scary as well seeing all this dentistry on social media. And you can’t even take a bloody impression. And I know I’ve been there, right. So it’s one of those tricky things, which poses its own unique challenges. I mean, I think you’re in a far better position than I was, as student. I think it’s great that you can see what’s out there. It’s great that you can pick up tips from all these educators posting great stuff, great cases online for you to learn from. But at the same time, don’t forget that you’ve got your whole career and to enjoy your Uni time.
So you talk a little about how I felt at that time, and how I want to do the course and my dental tutor at the time discouraged me from doing it. I’ll talk a little about that. Then we talked about overcoming the fear. Like I used to be really scared of giving ID blocks. I used to be scared of Crown preps for sure that just scares me the most. In fact, specifically with Crown preps, the thing that scared me the most was breaking the contacts. That was the most scary thing I could do during crown preps and then coping with failure. Like as a dental student, it’s funny actually, one of my mentors, Michael Melkers taught me is that one of the things we don’t get to experience as a dental student is failure in a way because you don’t get to recall your patients. So you don’t see those failures, the kind of failures you get are instant ones, ie failed extractions, failed temporaries, etc, etc. But you don’t get to see the real hard hitting failures a few years later. So it’s interesting when we talk about failure, but I suppose as young dentists, when you have failures, it really can cripple you. So Lincoln does a fantastic job of covering this.
Now Linc is actually coming to London, 30th of September, and the 1st of October. Now 30th of September is an evening lecture just for you guys, students, whether you’re in Bart’s, King’s, or if you’re anywhere in the UK, or Europe, and you want to come to the free event on the Friday night, I’m gonna put on some pizza for you guys, then come on over. It’s an evening lecture, the way you can book that is if you go to protrusive.co.uk/students, it will take you to a blog post for this episode. And then I’ll put a link awakened by the ticket for nothing. It’s a free ticket, by the way, for the Friday evening. So you can come and join us and Linc will be there to talk about from graduation to a great career, what are the important things that are going to define your career in the future and how to maximize your time now. And then on the Saturday, it’s a huge event, there’ll be dentists coming from all over the country. And guess what, guys, you guys can come free. Now the Friday night is open to all students, the Saturday event priorities being given to fourth year and fifth year students because it’s just more clinically relevant for you guys. And so Ripe Global are sponsoring your ticket. What you need to do is get in touch, DM me, your student president should have already emailed you, all of this but if they haven’t just DM me on Insta @protrusivedental, and we’ll send you a linked typeform to fill in. And then that will eventually confirm your place so you can come on the Saturday. It’s a full day lecture at the Guys campus in London. Come and join us for both if you can. We get to see you guys and meet you and it’d be nicer for you guys to see what Lincoln has shared with you on the day as well. So I look forward to seeing some of you then. But anyway, let’s join Linc and talk about all these important things, all the struggles as students and how to overcome them.
Lincoln Harris, welcome again to the Protrusive Dental Podcast. How are you my friend? [Lincoln]
Very good. And thank you for having me. It’s an absolute pleasure to be on your podcast again, so. [Jaz]
Linc, you absolutely blew everyone’s mind on episode 54. If you haven’t, if you guys haven’t listened to Episode 54 yet, five lessons with Lincoln. I love that theme because it was five lessons that I’d learned from you. But I wanted the whole world of dentistry to know and that was a huge hit. It’s probably up there in the top 10 episodes actually They have all time. So it’s a Masters of anyone. Linc, we were just having a chat briefly about education going forward, the one of the things you’re doing with Ripe Global. For the few people who listen who don’t know, you are, I don’t know, as anyone who doesn’t. But please, may perhaps some of the dental students coming through discovering this big world of dentistry. Who are you? And what do you stand for? [Lincoln]
I’m a general dentist, and I work in a very small village in Australia, so and that isolation in that village has actually really shaped my entire career, it has forced me to learn more complex procedures, because I don’t have specialists nearby. In fact, I have an orthodontist, and no other permanent specialists of any sort within two hours drive. And so forcing me to learn sort of, I guess, more comprehensive and advanced procedures purely because my patients didn’t always want to travel two or three hours every time they needed to have something done. And then that led to teaching and teaching led to learning things on the internet, because it’s so far for me to go anywhere. And that has led to what we do now. So Ripe Global was really founded on the idea of giving people open access to really high level education. And to this day, we are the leading company in the world to deliver cloud hands on training of any sort, in any field, we were the leading provider of cloud education. So that’s where I am in a nutshell. [Jaz]
That’s absolutely mind blowing. And for those who do know, Lincoln will realize that the way you answer that was extremely humble. I mean, you are the best in my opinion, and not just my opinion, pretty much most of the Dentists I know, you ask them, ‘Okay, who’s number 1 dentist in the world? Linc, whether you like it or not, like to hear this or not, they will say you, okay? And I certainly do. So you are someone I’ve loved enjoyed learning from over the years, your philosophies and how you make things tangible, your diagrams that you share on the Ripe Global Facebook group, it’s completely transformed how we learn and when, in fact, actually, next week, I’m doing a talk about social media and dentistry. And one of the first things I’m gonna talk about is how social media has enabled dentists from all over the world, every corner, to be able to learn from mentors that are remote, and our journey of learning has really expedited. And I’m gonna mention, the very first exposure I had was from your group that you set up showing full protocol photos, that for me change the game from before and after, to full protocol. And that was absolutely massive [Lincoln]
We started that because at the time, there was lots of before and after pictures, and what people had learned is that if you showed the preps of your case, then you got criticized for prepping teeth. And so that if you just showed that before and the after, and you didn’t show the preps, then you didn’t get criticized. So all over the world, people were hiding their preps, and people would give them a lot of praise going, ‘Yes, lovely case. Lovely case.’ But it just wasn’t realistic. And so we were kind of all in denial that often to get a particular result that we really like you have to prep the teeth. And so and that’s really, I mean, that whole discussion about touching the tooth or not touching the tooth is actually people frame it as a clinical or a scientific discussion is actually a political one. It’s dental politics. And so more or less, you have like, you know, the left and right of actual politics and within dentistry, you have the left and the right of like enamel politics, really. So there’s another podcast for you. Enamel politics. We’ll cover that one next. [Jaz]
I love it. Well, that absolutely shaped my career so far. All the course have been on yours and what you guys do with Ripe Global and I’m proud to be one of the educators make some videos for Ripe Global, it’s a great community. If you guys if you haven’t checked out Ripe Global, check it out. It’s such a fantastic platform, what you guys are doing now with making learning accessible through the new model, the hands on model, but remotely just briefly describe that because that is very clever, what you guys doing very much pioneering dentistry before we get to three things we wish we knew as a dental student. [Lincoln]
So we actually, for a long time I’ve been passionate about education ever since I wanted to go to dental school. And there was doubt about whether my family could actually afford that. And so access to education is baked into me because there was a period of my life where I wasn’t sure whether I could afford to escape my life with education or not. And so, you know, that obviously, as you know, I’ve been teaching in one form or another since 2006. So this is my third evolution of education, you could call it so I started out at like luxury conferences, which were silly. And then I went into procedural training in a traditional sense. And now here we are, and but what’s interesting is that my brother has been at the forefront of technological advances in communication for all of his career, and he spent a lot of time trying to help some of the biggest companies in Asia Pacific, learn to be collaborative, so learn to use technology to enhance communication where people can just communicate all the time. And he spent a lot of time with universities trying to convince them to be build immersive collaborative education. Education where the students talk, and the students and the educators talk. And it all happens all the time. In 2020, I thought, Okay, let’s start a new company where we make education far more accessible. So we will use the power of the Internet to make education more accessible. And we bet we still had a traditional model that was like videos online. And then we would build training facilities, you know, in the UK, and Europe and the United States and wherever, and we got investors to help us do this. And then, in the middle of COVID, my brother said, we’re taking the education closer to the student, but we need to take the education right into their office. And so then we basically worked out how do we build this. And so we’ve built simulation kits. And we have built a platform and we connect the two together. And we can teach hands on education while you are in your office, so you don’t need to travel. And the thing that’s really interesting is that the students, the dentists who were training, they learned faster, and it’s not a little bit, they learn to 50 to 70% faster when we train them on Crown preps when they’re using their own equipment in their office on our cloud platform on a live class, but it’s a lot on cloud than they do if they’re in a similar app. So it’s amazing, because pretty much if you have the internet, you can join our hands on class and get ultimately very intensive education that you know, and our students that their careers, their offices are going crazy. It’s an amazing way to learn. And just if we’re like really calculating about it, cost is about 70% less than traditional education because the biggest single cost with education is closing your office, and they almost never need to close their office. So that’s amazing. [Jaz]
The two reflections on that is A) You can do it anywhere with an internet connection, reminded me of an Instagram post you made of you know, someone on the beach during a prep, we don’t know they’re on the beach until they zoom out. And that was awesome. I love that and how fast they’re learning. Well, we have proof because on the Ripe Global Group, we’ve got the first cohorts of the fellowship. I mean, amazing. Let’s name, Stephanie, her I mean, wow, the development we’ve seen from her from Piatt, from Brett, from all these guys on the fellowship and just seeing that the quality of Dentistry you producing is really inspiring. So on the topic of development, the first question I have for you is just rewinding to when I was a student, I was a fourth year student. And I remember how awful my composite looked like even then I kind of knew that okay, this you know, my lower molar composite looks nothing like a little molar. So I approached one of my tutors, and I said, Listen, I see this leaflet here, there is a composite course happening. There’s nothing really there for students. But for dentists first few years qualified, it’s a reduced rate of 185 pounds, should I go? I think might be a good investment for me to make as a student, I didn’t have much money, but I knew I wanted to develop. And my tutor said to me, ‘Listen, you’re a student go drink some beers, go enjoy, you can do this stuff when you’re qualified.’ And I look back and I resent that because I could have had a head start, I feel. So what do you think about that? Do you think my mindset was right that I should have perhaps pursued some education, because I really wanted it. And I really, really want to improve my composites. And that was the only way I knew how because my tutors. The proof was there, my composites wasn’t helping me to the degree I wanted, or should students just be chilling out enjoying their uni life while while they have it. [Lincoln]
I don’t Far be it from me to tell the university student what they should do during university. But if you are interested in attending further education while you’re at dental school do so. In fact, we have quite a few students who do because so you have to remember that universities do a terrific job with the constraints that they have. And they have quite a few they have a lot of regulation, they have a lot of government demands on them. And they have a captive audience and a captive audience sounds great. But what that means that they have to teach the dental students who are enthusiastic, but they also have to teach the ones who are like limping over the line with their total least amount of effort possible. And so whereas when you teach, when I teach, the only people who turn up are people who are motivated enough to like do something voluntarily above what they have to and this is very different. So if you’re a person who wants to learn more at dental school, go ahead. I have, I actually have an American dental student who has signed up for my full two year fellowship before he has graduated, because he says I’ve only done like a handful of Crown prep, so I don’t feel confident and I’m about to be released into the real world. He has a very good theoretical grounding, and like a theoretical understanding how to do it, but it doesn’t have a technical, like, I’m 100% confident that I can drive my hand around something. And so he has done that. And we’re actually working on programs like that, you know, for new grads to make education very affordable. So obviously, I can’t talk about that yet. So that’s still coming, but that is definitely possible. And I think more and more dental students are realizing and we’re getting contacted from a lot of them saying ‘Hi, we want to finish our degree and then we want to go into high level education, post degree.’ And you go well, what can we teach the dental schools. Dental schools are teaching you to a regulated standard. And that means a lot of making like a lot of paperwork to prove that you have met some type of standard. And that’s, it’s a difficult job. I don’t have to do it so thankful for that. And I, you know, it’s easy to criticize them with skills, but they have to take the great unwashed and turn them into dentists. And then I get them after they’ve done their job. And they’ve done the hard yards. And then from there, I’m putting icing on top. So what can we teach from there? I mean, we can then go into things with a much more enthusiasm and specificity if you like, these are real world problems. Not the theory. But how do you actually do it? Like the theory of class two composites doesn’t help you when your rubber dam clamp has gone ping. And while you’re waiting for it to land on the other side of the room, you’re watching the blood well up from the gingiva that was inflamed. And you’re wondering how you’re ever going to restore this subgingival class two, you know, that the theory of that is not really well covered, and the actual practical, how do you do it? And then even more, so, how do you feel? But that’s not covered. How do you feel when this is happening? You’re feeling like really stressed. So how does that? How do you manage that stress and emotion? [Jaz]
I’m so glad you mentioned the stress and emotion, what I heard from that was that perhaps if I went back in time, I should have pursued what I really wanted. I was really keen I was executing, I should have pursued pursued what I wanted. And then of course, all these emotions took off when things aren’t going well and the daily struggles and when you’re a newbie, gosh, I mean that those emotions are heightened like you know my routine days now. I can only wish my days now, as I kind of coast sometimes your crown prep. I remember when I was scared of Crown preps. So my next question is about fear. Fear to prep, fear to extract, fear to give a something you talked about giving a palatal injection, giving an ID block. I’ve been through those phases, and eventually you lose that fear. So what advice do you have? Or lessons do you have to give to Dental students who are feeling that fear? How can they overcome the fear that is procedural? [Lincoln]
So there is more or less the whole process of teaching is an exercise in fear management, because mostly what is holding us back it’s actually fear. And I need to stop at this point and point out that I also am afraid. So I’m afraid of different things now to what I was when I was a new graduate. So I’m not afraid of doing an injection or class two. But I was when I graduated, I was very, you know, like, I can’t remember how long it took it might have taken 10 years before I could just do local anesthetic willy nilly without being concerned about the fact that I had to do this nasty thing to the patient. But beyond that, there are some things that you can do. Now, in Ripe Global, we have spent a lot of time not only on the technology platform and the simulation kits and the collaborative communication between all the students and giving them a community that safe that they can help each other through their journeys. But we have also put a huge amount of effort into innovating and how to teach the way that most people teach is not necessarily the most effective way to be taught. And so if you look at that, why doesn’t it work? It doesn’t work, because it doesn’t take into account a thing called human factors. Now human factors is the effect of how you feel on your ability to perform. So if we look at that, what things affect how you perform? Obviously, we know that if we’re tired, we can’t perform as well as if we are not tired. We know that if we are stressed, you know, we know that stress makes us perform worse. And we know that fear makes us problem. So all of these things affect how we perform. And so you can do things about that the first one you can do is you can have the right type of training. And I’m not talking about theoretical training, I’m talking about training, that builds your skill that will actually make a huge difference to your fear. So like to give you an example, most courses that teach you how to do a crown prep, you do like occlusal reduction in the morning, and then you do mesial and distal cuts in the afternoon. And by the time you finish the day you have done one crown. Now almost none of us have eight hours to do a crown. We mostly have like 30 minutes, one hour, an hour and a half. And so we don’t do that. When we do our crown prep training, we do 17 in one day, we don’t stop for lunch. We stopped for like 10 minutes, because that’s what real dentistry is like. So we it’s not a simulation if it’s nothing like the real thing. So simulated training exercises can be significantly helpful to reducing your fear because you need to have the ability to do a procedure far in excess of what’s required so that when you are stressed you can still do it. So like if you can only just do a crown prep, when you’re relaxed, you won’t be able to do it under stress. That’s just because your stress levels, stress levels reduce your performance by up to 85%. So you need to have like this massive reserve of skill and competence. So that when you are stressed, when your ability to reduce, you can still do it. And so the one is the right type of training. Now most people don’t focus on human factors training. In fact, I think almost no one does, we do, because we’ve done the research into it. And so one is this highly intense simulation training, that helps a lot. The second thing is, there’s a whole bunch of mental things that you can do to help keep your mind clear while you do a procedure. One is the boxes, which you will have heard me talk about a lot of times. And I won’t go into that, but only doing your procedure in small chunks. And so a lot of the ability, like people focus on the theory far too much. And actually, our controlling our mental state, and having ourselves trained to a skill level far in excess of what we need is the way that you reduce stress. And that’s, you know, we’ve built a whole program around helping people get past this. And also you have to support people emotionally through confronting their fears. So you can’t just go okay, here I’ve taught you now go like, then they get to the first page and go, I’m afraid, which is normal. And you have to have that support. That is normal to feel afraid. And you’re not going to feel confident until you do it. Like people think there’s some secret to feeling confident before you do something that you’re afraid of but there isn’t. The confidence will only ever come after so yeah, that’s it. It is what it is. [Jaz]
I think we’ll all, I think everyone listening, all the students, young dentists listening will take satisfaction, I guess, or there’ll be a little bit happy to know that you’ve been through the fear, I have it, we all have had it at some stage, whether it’s the first ID block or whatever. And I think the key lessons from what you shared there were, for example, an ID block, it really helped me to revise the anatomy again, and then get opportunities to practice it. So opportunities whereby I could get away with the buccal infiltration. Actually just do the ID block with some support might be a good way to go. or less, like you said about repetition. So if you’re a student, because I’m gonna probably get really tangible with students here, yes, watch all the videos in , log on to Ripe Global, see the preps on the forum and whatnot on the Facebook groups, but then find that dedicated couple of hours of space in the mannequin head room as a student and just prep prep, prep, prep prep, and get that muscle memory going. Don’t worry, I mean, yet, obviously do the theory. But try and get some sort of hand skills going to get used to prepping and prepping. And then on the day when you’re performing, it’s going to help you a lot and having that confidence that ‘Okay, I’ve just prep 17 of these yesterday.’ [Lincoln]
Yeah, like. So I think a very important thing is to literally sit down. So when I say that I’m still afraid. The things that I’m afraid of are different, but don’t think that I have less, I feel afraid less often like building a company with investors is scary. Trying to develop a new way of education is scary. All these things are scary trying to move at the same time as all that building my office from a one dentist office to a three dentist office whilst I was doing the other thing that is scary, like literally, you know, at times terrified to the point where I can hardly copem, okay? So it’s not like the fear goes away unless you no longer progress. So if you are progressing, you will be afraid that is just a fact of life. But a good exercise to do is to sit down and go what am I afraid of? Don’t skirt around the side of the issue and go Well, no, I’m not afraid of anything. But then you actually are. Like literally sit down and go, ‘I’m afraid to do injections. Well, I’m get stressed about crown preps or whatever, root canals, okay? I mean, it took me 15 years before root canals felt easy. So you write down those things that you’re afraid of and then conquer them. That is the only way otherwise, it’s like the boogeyman under your bed. Okay, you’re lying there in bed and you go, maybe there’s a boogeyman under my bed. Now, you can do one of two things at this point, you can hop out of bed and look under the bed and you will conquer the boogeyman because you’ll see he’s not there, kay? Or you get too afraid to look, because he might bite me when I look under there. And so you lie there all night awake. And while you’re lying there, the boogeyman gets bigger and scarier and has bigger teeth and longer claws and by the time you wake up in the morning, okay, he is like the most scary thing ever. And so, and then daylight comes and he goes away. And so your fears about dentistry are the same, if you avoid them because you’re afraid they get bigger. So don’t avoid them, right? Like the problem is that sometimes we don’t realize we’re afraid and we’re subconsciously avoiding them. So like conquer those fears. Write them down, because I can absolutely guarantee you. Your confidence is only ever found on the other side of that fear. You never get confident first, and then the fear goes away. You only get confident once you do the thing that you’re afraid of. That is a universal human trait that you are only confident like, how am I not scared to public speak? Was I born this way? No, I was terrified. My knees used to shake. And now I’ve done it. And now I’m not scared. So the confidence was on the other side of the fear. I had to do the thing until the fear went away. [Jaz]
On my public admission here, students, anyone listening, dentists, I am afraid still of Cobalt Chrome dentures, I just have done so few of them in my career, my demographics. So that’s my fear. I’m putting it out there. I’ve made it public. And guess what, I’ve got a fit next week. And I’m looking forward to it. So that’s I’m gonna get around it. And I had like a one hour mentoring session with one of my prosthodontic colleagues guiding me through it. Even though I’ve been qualified some years now. I still had that fear of something that you know, you think a denture is a denture but depends on how much exposure you got. I lost my fear of extractions a good while ago, since I got improved at sectioning and elevating, that was a big game changer. Loads of great tips that Linc shared on just general improving your extraction technique as well. So do check those out. Next theme is failure, how to be comfortable in your own skin with failure. And I’ll give you an example, which is not quite a failure on my part. Literally two weeks ago, I saw a gentleman root canal of his upper right canine everything was done. Yeah, it was necrotic, little bit infected. Everything was procedurally fantastic, use all the best stuff, rubberdam, hypochlorite. And then, a few days later, he’s in absolute agony. He has been taken to hospital, he’s had blood tests and whatnot. They can’t find any sepsis. But they find his inflammatory markers really high. He is just an agony. The hospital staff don’t know what to do. His because you’ve got some learning disabilities as moms on my case, his mom’s on the hospital’s case. And I was worried, I was generally worried for him because he was suffering so much that he was in a maxillofacial department hospital. But for me, even though the procedure was in success, it kinda was a failure, that he had so much post operative discomfort. And to this day, I get sleepless nights sometimes, and that kind of stuff, something like that one of your patients suffering because something you did, even though I would have done it the same way 100 times, there was nothing I could change about that. It’s just Sod’s law I think I generally think that after, I’ve speak on some endodontics, as well for, for clarification, it still bugs me to this day. And I guess when I was, you know, 5, 10 years ago, even the simple thing like a composite, crown coming loose that I done or something like that, it’d be like, Oh, my God, I’m getting major anxiety here. So when you experience some sort of failure, how can you cope with that? Because when you’re younger, and you don’t, you’ve had very few failures, because done very little dentistry, they really hit you much harder. [Lincoln]
The reason that failures hurts so much when you’re a new grad is because you always think it’s your fault. And you think it’s your fault, because you’re no good. Now, I’m going to confess that I probably get the same number of failures in a month now, as I did when I was a new graduate, miss a few reasons for that. One is that the cases I do are much more difficult. I push the limits of dentistry probably a bit more because the cases are difficult. And also because the volume of cases I do is much greater. And the number of cases I have that are 20 years old is also much crisis. So just like pure statistics is going to bite me so but I get stressed now because I know I’ve done a good job and that sometimes just things happen. [Jaz]
It’s a bit like that root canal I told you about, you know, if that happened to me, when I was just a dental student, or one or two years qualified, I would have completely been like, ‘Oh my god, what have I done that was all me.’ Apologizing profusely to the patient. I was still apologetic. ‘I’m sorry, this happened to you.’ But in my own skin, I was comfortable. That ‘Hey, you know, this wasn’t my fault. It’s one of those things.’ So you know, I definitely agree with that. [Lincoln]
Look, there’s a lot of people also, like the last thing they do to you, just before you graduate is tell you that you’re going to get sued. Like usually like the people come from the Protection Society or whatever. And they go, right. Now, let me tell you about a person. He did a perfect filling, but they got sued and went to jail. Like this is like the last bit of advice you ever get as you graduate in almost every country. And it’s like, it’s so unnecessary, because the first thing is that almost no one gets sued in their first few years. Like me, it probably happened somewhere in the world. But the indemnity, there’s a reason why you get charged less for professional indemnity in your first two years than in your later years, because your first two years are the lowest risk for any sort of claim or complaint or anything like this of any of the years of your life because you’re not going to do anything complicated that’s going to be a massive problem. Like I mean, the chance of you putting a implant and then having it fall into their sinus and then you have to do surgery to get it out of the sinus in your first two years is vanishingly small, like because you’re probably not going to do implants in your first two years. And the first, the chance of you doing like some massive smile makeover and then they go to another dentist who throws you under a bus is also quite small because you’re generally not going to be trained to do this. So the fear of being reported for a crime against dental humanity is quite low in your first two years, so it’s probably more than unhelpful to have those lectures just before you graduate. Second thing I would say is that things just go wrong. Like, go home and try and bake 100 cakes in a row, and have all 100 workout, it’s impossible. Like, it’s just the law, it’s just the bell curve. The bell curve doesn’t allow everything to be perfect all the time. If you select 100 Random humans off the street, what’s the chance that several of them are going to have some sort of quite complicated disease? Very high. So it’s just statistics. Yes, your do a crown and it’ll fall off. I mean, I did a crown three months ago, and the patient had sensitivity, I had to cut the crown off and put a temporary on and then like, it wasn’t my fault, it was just the tooth. So that’s why failures will hit you really hard in your early career because you actually doubt that you’re any good and you doubt that you’re, you always think it’s your fault. [Jaz]
That’s the crux of it. I totally agree. [Lincoln]
And sometimes it is your fault. But like, you will continue to make the mistakes through life, I still make mistakes, it’s just that like, it’s not the same mistakes, it’s just different ones, you know, like I have a patient at the moment where I probably should have pulled their teeth out and done implants. But I decided after doing a course on saving teeth that I should save the teeth, and now it’s just so hard. I’ve done so much work to save these teeth. I’d be finished, if I’d done implants, I’d be finished six months ago, [Jaz]
I can actually think of a very similar case right now. Anyway, Linc you’ve covered these main themes, I’ve got limited time with you today, we’re gonna bring you back on to discuss all the difficult stressful things that we do in dentistry, subgingival dentistry, difficult isolation, how to see difficult patients, we’re going to cover that theme as well. But if you can just give us one more lesson you want to give to a dental student that’s going to help them to want, to make perhaps make a realization make a discovery that’s going to help them throughout their career. [Lincoln]
Okay, the number one thing I would say to dental students, and this is not a negative thing. So don’t think of it like that. Dentistry is much more difficult than you think. And the reason this is important to understand as a dental student is because when you’re a dental student or a new grad, you think that dentistry is difficult because you’re not good. Because you’re not good enough, you’re not trained, your skills are not good enough, you don’t know enough. And if only you knew all these things, dentistry would become less difficult. And I can tell you that after doing many, many courses, and hundreds and or even 1000s of repetitions, that I’ve come to the realization that dentistry is a surgical specialty, as difficult as ophthalmology, but unlike an ophthalmologist, we are not trained to competence when we’re released. So if we’re an ophthalmologist, we will be trained for about another six years after we have graduated as a dentist before we’re allowed to enter private practice. So dentistry is a surgical specialty. And but unlike every other surgical specialty, we are released, basically with the most basic training we’re not. Yeah, so it’s very difficult. And so when you go out and you’re going by ‘Oh boy, this is hard.’ It’s not because there’s anything wrong with you, you’ve just chosen a really difficult thing to do for your career, and it will get easier, it actually won’t get easier, it will get routine. Routine is the word you use for when something starts to feel easier, even though it’s technically very difficult. So that, you know, the rough timeline for myself. It was two years after I graduated before I could use a dental mirror without my hands still going the wrong way. It was probably five years before, I didn’t feel an urge to see what patients were in the book tomorrow so I can mentally prepare myself for them. 10 years before I could roll into work, knowing that I could just cope with whatever the day threw at me. And at 15 years, I woke up one day and I said, I think I’m actually good at this now. But that’s how hard it is. It took me 15 years before I felt good at it. So you know it is a very difficult technical profession because it is a surgical specialization, which is not recognized as one by most of the population. [Jaz]
Amazing. It is not a race. Take time. So great to hear those numbers from you and your own story of that. I think everyone needs to hear that. Don’t worry if you feel like you’re really struggling because it’s super, super difficult. When we talk next time, when you come on the podcast, we talk about those really tricky daily conundrums, you know, not Instagram dentistry. What happens behind the scenes of the Instagram dentistry is what I want to talk to you about. So I look forward to bringing you on for that. Linc, as always a pleasure to have you on. I look forward to speaking to you again. Now, Linc really special thing that I know you’re doing is you’re coming to the UK, you come to London, you’re really speaking to dental students so I’m really excited for you to come and speak to dental students. I’m gonna make it very clear on my social media and the email list protrusive.co.uk/emails when I sign up about how to get involved and meet Lincoln live and we’ll put on some drinks and stuff and a few lectures, followed by a full day course as well which students will be invited to which is absolutely crazy. What are you going to talk about on that Friday evening? [Lincoln]
So the Friday night when I talked to dental students, I’m going to talk about your career. The title is from class one composite to first class career and, and the stages and some of the things you’re going to have to battle to get through and make a great career. And you can make a very good career in Dentistry, there’s no doubt about that. It is not easy. And there is, it takes courage, because it’s pretty scary. But that’s what I’m going to talk about is how do we go from our, because it’s very, you know, to some extent, it can be a bit dispiriting when you graduate, because you graduate, and you sit there and you look at the tooth, you’ve just treated and you go, that looks rubbish. And then you open Instagram, and you see, like a tooth that looked like a nuclear holocaust. Okay, you know, it looks like a nuclear wasteland. And then the dentist has sprinkled fairy dust on it. And it now has all of its fissures, and it has tertiary anatomy on the composite and all of this stuff. And you look at it and get that like I don’t even, I can’t even comprehend how that is possible. And so that can sometimes be a little bit hard, like a little bit depressing. And so, and then like, even from a financial point of view, you’re a dental student, like you’ve just graduated, you don’t have any money, you’re got a terrible job, usually, your first job is going to be your worst job. And your boss has probably signed you up on some abusive contract. That’s usually what happens to new grads, because of the only people who fall for it. You know, like everything kind of, you know, you graduated with all this optimism, you’re gonna go into this great profession, and you’re gonna be like rolling in money. And then next thing, you’ve got a terrible job, you’re doing a million checkups a day, and you get all of the cases that the boss doesn’t want to treat. And then the boss rolls in, in his like, you know, Porsche GT3, that was just got back from racing, and your car has broken down and you have a repair bill. But the reality can be pretty hard when you graduate, and so it can seem an impossible chasm to cross. So what I’m talking about is how you cross that chasm. And it’s a pretty simple process. It’s not easy, but it’s simple. And why the chasm is not as big as it looks, it looks a lot bigger than it really is. And it’s not as big as it looks. And there’s reasons why it looks so big to it. So I’ll be talking about you know, basically how we start as a baby dentist, where basically we graduate with optimism, suddenly everything’s a bit rubbish. And then how do we get to a place where life is actually pretty good in a sensible way, and the sorts of thing the challenges that we will encounter and most of those challenges up in our head, not anywhere else. [Jaz]
I love it. I love the theme and I think it’d be a great event to involving for dental students in the day after I’m a tease everyone a little bit more about that another time. But Linc, thanks so much for getting time I know you gotta go in the numb up the patient and then do the complex restorative dentistry whatever you’re doing. I look forward to seeing the case unripe. Thanks so much, Linc. [Lincoln]
No worries thank you so much. Absolute pleasure to be here. Thank you.
There we have it guys hope you found some value from that. Look if you’re dental student, let’s share the love, right? Send it to another student who hasn’t heard of Protrusive before and hasn’t found this episode. You’re going to help your colleagues and hopefully some of you can join us in London. So remember, go to protrusive.co.uk/students find the link, there’s two links there, one for you to book for the Friday night for free. And Saturday. You can also come free if you’re fourth and fifth year BDS. And I will sponsor your ticket. And you can learn from one of the best dentists in the world which Lincoln Harris so we’ll see you in London. But if you can’t make it then thanks for listening to this episode all the way to the end. I really appreciate it and if it’s the first time listening to the Protrusive Podcast, check out some other ones. I mean, some episodes may be a little bit too advanced for a student but there are some other fundamental episodes which I know you can gain so much from. So if you enjoyed it follow @protrusivedental, say hello, I like connecting with my listeners and watchers, and I hope to catch you in another episode soon. Thanks so much