Natasha Chishti talks about third year

A day in the life

Natasha Chishti talks about third year

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Most of the third-year coursework involves problem-solving—taking what you’ve already learned and applying it in clinics with your patients.

Working toward a dream

“Third year is the best!” says Natasha Chishti, originally from Fredericton, New Brunswick (NB). “By third year, you’re more focused, and you see more patients. You can imagine yourself becoming a dentist, but it’s far enough away that you’re not stressed about it, like in fourth year.”

And in third year, she’s allowed to perform more complex procedures. “Last year,” Natasha explains, “we could only do cleanings and basic fillings. But now we’re starting oral surgery. One afternoon per week, we do a rotation in an oral surgery clinic."

"We have our own patients," she continues, "and we’re supervised by an oral surgeon, presenting our case and proposing a treatment. Usually we can just go ahead with the procedure, and the oral surgeon checks the end result.”

One of Natasha’s most difficult clinical experiences happened when a woman came in with severe abscesses in her teeth. “The infection could have spread to her brain,” Natasha says. But the patient was very resistant to any treatments Natasha suggested.

Natasha accepts this as part of the learning process. “Two instructors—two different specialists—talked with the patient to explain the gravity of the situation,” she says. “It was gratifying to learn from how they dealt with it.”

She remembers plenty of good experiences, too: “I redid a woman’s front teeth with composite resin fillings. When I was finished, she looked in the mirror and was so happy, she gave me a big hug and said she’d never looked more beautiful,” Natasha smiles.

And Natasha has good memories of living in Halifax, too. “Every night of the week, there’s something to do!”

But she plans to head back to Fredericton when she completes her DDS degree. “First, I’d like to be an associate in an existing practice,” she says, “to learn the business skills and share costs. But someday, I’d like to have my own clinic, or be a partner. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of.”