Summer in New York!

Dentistry Student Angela Yu’s International Practical Experience in New York University

NYU has one of the largest dental schools in US, also one of the three universities that have been opened for over 170 years. Unlike most of the universities that constructed its campus in one place, NYU’s buildings are scattering all around New York City. “The whole New York is our campus” as they proudly said.

The summer practicum is a program for international dental students to help them understand the dental education system in US. As I heard before, dentistry in US is a post bachelor degree, means that only people have a bachelor degree can apply for dental school. The program requires 4 years, the first two years will be more focusing on theories and the last 2 years will be more on practices. The end of the program your title will be given as Doctor of dental surgery (DDS), the same as Doctor of dental medicine (DMD).

On the first day in NYU, Dr Maureen McAndrew talked about the education system in their school. A special learning system got all of us fascinated. In order to integrate knowledge form first year to forth year. They hold a meeting for them to discuss a complex clinical case in each semester. To elaborate, after knowing the patient background and chief complain, each year would present their own understanding of the patient based on what they’ve learnt. For example, first and second present the anatomy of teeth or pathology of a certain disease, whiles the third and fourth year can focus on the treatment plan and techniques. This vertical integration allows the freshman know more about what they should become and remind the seniors what shouldn’t forget.

Our summer practicum group were composed by people from Portugal, Malaysia, Saudi Arabic, Cambodia and Taiwan. Some of them want to go to US for further education and others would like to explore more in dentistry. For 2 weeks, we observed in various clinics and had lectures. The subjects included oral surgery, orthodontics, comprehensive, prosthodontics, periodontics, implant, special care and esthetics. The following is my observation in different clinic.

Oral surgery

In oral surgery clinic, all the boxes are equipped with N3 and O2 for patients who need sedation and Digital X-ray. The clinic was full with patients, students and professors, they were running around everywhere and the atmosphere was quite intense. The first case I observed was a patient with post extraction alveolitis. The dentist thought we are NYU dental school students, began to ask questions, such as what is the pathology? What is the treatment? Luckily we were able to answer him. The next case was with two international dentists that were there for the international oral surgery program. The patient needed to remove her mandibular torus in order to place a complete denture, so a lower arch alveoloplasty was done. It was fascinating to see a alveoloplasty in real life, and the dentist were so helpful, they explained all the tips of doing surgery and patiently answered my questions. The faculty came to check after incision, removed the torus and sutured.


Compared to oral surgery, the clinic of orthodontics was less intense and peaceful. We observed beside Dr. Alejandro Lopez and Dr. Chris Teo, who shared their experience and passion with us. Since I hadn’t started my orthodontic lesson yet, most of the appliances and concepts were new to me. Luckily, they were all very open up to our questions and welling to answer all of them. To my surprise, in NYU, D3 students are allow to do invisalign braces on patients. Invisalign is done by fabricating sets of aligners for patient and changing them by two week of increment, gradually it will help lead the teeth to the final position. On our last day in orthodontics clinic, we met Dr Lai, who is one of the faculty of orthodontic department. whiles reviewing his students works, he asked us some anatomical questions to help us link what we’ve learn to the basic concept of orthodontics.

We’ve joined the students of international orthodontics for a lecture, as the professor is Dr. Edmund Khoo. During the lesson they presented clinical cases and their treatment plans for the patient. All of the students were very keen on asking questions and having a discussion. At the end of the lecture Dr Khoo gave us a presentation of micro penetration of bone to accelerate the speed of teeth moving. This research helps those patients who already pass the golden age for orthro treatment and decrease the time to complete the treatment.


We followed two doctors from the prost-grade pros program, by chatting with them, I was surprise to find out that when making a denture they need to pour the plaster immediately after an alginate impression and need to do most of the steps themselves including wax up.

“If you can make it in New York, you can make it in anywhere”, the diversity and competition of the city makes only the elite remain here. Within those two weeks learnt a lot far beyond my expectations. I am very grateful to Dr Chirag Chandrakant Sheth Shah, who wrote the recommendation letter for this precious opportunity. Also my parents, who supported and encouraged me to explore more. Last but not least, I need to thank to my friend who share this information with me, or else I wouldn’t have known about the program.


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