Brandon Griffin talks about second year

A day in the life

Brandon Griffin talks about second year

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I love the clinic! That’s why I wanted to become a dentist—to interact with people and work with my hands.

Preparing for a life in dentistry

Even before starting the Doctor in Dental Surgery (DDS) program, Brandon Griffin knew Dal’s Faculty of Dentistry was special. “This was one of the only dental schools that communicated with me throughout the application process. The admissions staff are excellent—they’ll tell you what they’re looking for in an applicant and help you any way they can.”

Brandon, with his wife and three boys, moved all the way from Utah to Halifax to attend the Doctor in Dental Surgery program. “It’s been really good. Halifax is a small, family-oriented city.”

He doesn’t seem to mind making the commitment to live 3,000 miles from home. “I’m so glad I’m here!” he says. “It’s an honour and a privilege to be at Dal.”

Brandon’s schedule is split between classrooms and the clinic. “At Dal, you’re integrated into the clinic early—you see patients in your second year,” Brandon says. He notes that in other dentistry programs, students don't get to see patients until they're in third year. Because of this, Brandon says, "Dalhousie really prepares you for the workforce and a life in dentistry.”

Treating his first clinic patient was “thrilling,” he says. “As I finished with the patient, I thought, ‘This is why I came to Dal.’ It was very satisfying to use my skills to care for somebody and be appreciated for it.”

But he also gets hands-on experience in courses like Prosthodontics. “Yesterday, I made a provisional—a temporary crown,” Brandon explains. “We prepare the tooth, then make the provisional out of polymethyl methacrylate, which is in place while the permanent crown is made in the lab.”

Provisionals are challenging for many DDS students. “At first, it took about three hours! But speed is extremely important,” Brandon says. “In the clinic, the patient is waiting right there in the chair. That’s why the Faculty started the Prosthodontic Olympics—to increase the quality and speed of our skills.”

He’s definitely speedier—Brandon placed first, finishing in just over two minutes for the alginate impression event. But he’s humble about winning: “I don’t know if I deserved it as much as some of the other folks.”

All of his classmates are “highly motivated,” he says. “It’s an exciting environment to be in—learning with people who really care about what they’re doing and want to make a difference in others’ lives. It’s an exhaustingly fun place to be.”