UCSF200UCSF is once again offering their free online course about Caries Management by Risk Assessment (CAMBRA) to those interested in dental hygiene and a more modern approach of preventative dentistry. Dr. Featherstone, the Dean of UCSF School of Dentistry, teaches the concepts of CAMBRA which he developed over the past few decades over a 6 week online course through the popular website Coursera.org.

This course will provide the scientific basis for caries (dental decay) risk assessment and practice interventions. You will immediately be able to apply “caries management by risk assessment” into your clinical setting or into your personal health care.

This will be the second time the course is offered and best of all it is FREE for the standard version! There are several optional pay grades such as the verified certificate through Signature Track and/or 12 continuing education credits for the state of California.

I enrolled in the first session of this course back in October 2013 and overall it was very informative and a fun change of pace from your typical college curriculum. Dr. Featherstone does his best to keep you entertained by talking about his adventures around the world between each segment. I opted into the verified certificate  and verification page (Signature Track) so that it can be added to my online profiles such as LinkedIn. You can view my verification page here if interested in learning more about this option offers. A verified certificate (optional) currently costs $69 dollars. I am hosting a giveaway for one free Signature Track course. The giveaway details are at the end of this post!

The course will begin on March 31st and run through May 9th. The course requires 4-6 hours per week in order to watch the lectures, read the material, complete the online multiple choice quizzes, and answer the prompts. I think it is a great opportunity for pre-dental students and an excellent achievement to place on your application for dental school. The course covers the following topics:

Week 1:

  • Understand what dental caries is
  • Understand the concept of the caries balance
  • Know the three principal pathological factors of caries formation
  • Understand that multiple bacterial species are responsible for dental caries
  • Understand the role of frequent ingestion of fermentable carbohydrates in dental caries
  • Recognize hyposalivation, how this occurs, and its importance in caries progression

Week 2:

  • Refine the concept of the caries balance
  • Know and understand the multiple caries protective components in saliva
  • Understand demineralization and the role of fluoride
  • Understand remineralization and the role of fluoride

Week 3:

  • Understand remineralization and the role of fluoride
  • Understand how fluoride interacts with cariogenic bacteria
  • Know the three main mechanisms of action of fluoride
  • Know about fluoride toothpastes and fluoride mouthrinses

Week 4:

  • Know about fluoride products for the dental office and for home use by prescription
  • Know why high concentration fluoride products are used for high caries risk individuals
  • Know the antibacterial products currently available for caries control
  • Understand the root caries process including similarities and differences with coronal caries

Week 5: 

  • Understand the distinction among disease indicators, pathological (biological risk) factors, and protective factors
  • Know that the CAMBRA risk assessment method is validated in clinical use in thousands of patients for 6 years through adult
  • Know the bacterial assessment methods
  • Understand the sequence for the entire CAMBRA method

Week 6:

  • Know how to assess caries risk for an individual as low, moderate, high, or extreme
  • Know the currently recommended chemical therapy for patients at low, moderate, high, or extreme risk
  • To study numerous examples of risk assessment and therapy and how to build this into the treatment plan
  • Understand the differences between risk assessment for young children, older children, and adults

Learn more about the course and register at https://www.coursera.org/course/cariesmanagement

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I am raffling off a Signature Track Course ($69 dollar value) to somebody on this website who fills out the Ask Elias form and attaches their confirmation page for the CAMBRA course. From all the entries, a random drawing will decide the winner! The form will only accept the following file types .doc|.docx|.pub|.pdf|.png|.jpg|.jpeg (limited for website security). If you are having difficulty with the attachment, submit the form without the file so I can contact you.

The raffle ends January 31st, 2014 and the winner will be announced shortly after!

Complete AADSAS Application Picture Guide

December 23rd, 2013 | Posted by Elias Almaz in AADSAS Application | Advice | Background Information | Dental School | Tips - (Comments Off on Complete AADSAS Application Picture Guide)

aadsas_logoA concern for many people anxious to apply for dental school is the AADSAS application. For most, it is the first time they are using the application and the lack of guidance makes it difficult to prepare for in advance. Right before the application opens, confusion and misinformation can be seen throughout club conversations and online communities such as studentdoctor.net due to the ambiguity by the ADEA. Because of this, I have been collecting each component of the AADSAS application as part of a project to create the most comprehensive picture guide of the AADSAS Application. I hope others will find this tool useful to becoming familiar with the application before the application opens and for others to see how future components of the application will appear during the cycle.

The AADSAS Picture Guide v1.0 includes screenshots from the following AADSAS Application processes:

AADSAS Account Creation, AADSAS Notifications/Messages, Application Home Page, Background + Family Information, Disadvantaged Status, High School Information, College + Coursework Information, Sample Matching Forms, DAT Score Reporting, Academic Enrichment Programs, Awards/Honors/Scholarships, Dentistry Experience, Extracurricular/Volunteer/Community Service Experience, Research Experience, Work Experience, Personal Statement, Evaluators (Letters of Recommendation), Release Statements, Dental School Designations, Submission Checklist, Final Submission, Payment, GPA Calculations, Individual Dental School Application Status Updates, Individual Dental School Decisions, Official DAT Scores, Background Check, and the Fee Assistance Program.

As you can see, this has been an ongoing project for the past 6 months as I have experienced the application process. I hope others find it useful in preparing for a future cycle. Future revisions of this document will include annotations and tips as well as other components of the application such as the mysterious and poorly explained AADSAS Holistic Cover Sheet that every new applicant finds confusing. Future revisions will be found on the Pre-Dental Ultimate Resource List.

After going through this lengthy process, I cannot stress enough how much preparing for the application in advance helps for those applying early. I highly encourage keeping track of your AADSAS GPA throughout your education using the calculator I posted earlier this year. The calculator mimics the calculations done by AADSAS by using the unique AADSAS GPA rules and will report every GPA that will appear on your final application. On occasion, the calculation done by AADSAS can contain errors and keeping track of your own AADSAS GPA makes spotting these errors easy. A friend of mine recently helped to update the AADSAS GPA Calculator specifically for quarter systems and now includes a complete course subject listing  to help classify each course on your transcript into an AADSAS Category. The original calculator designed primarily for semester systems can still be downloaded here.

More than ever, I highly encourage using the fillable application created earlier this year to save time when filling out the real application. This document will help you figure out how to perfect the content of your application by holding you to the same character limits of the real application, a challenge of its own.

Happy Holidays!

First Wave of Dental School Acceptances are Out!

December 2nd, 2013 | Posted by Elias Almaz in AADSAS Application | Advice | Dental School | Tips - (Comments Off on First Wave of Dental School Acceptances are Out!)

acceptanceThe day is finally here! December 2nd is the first Monday of December which means it is the day all dental schools begin sending out acceptances to applicants who interviewed. Congratulations to all who got into dental schools. Everything you have done over the past few years has been building up to this moment!

Those that have been extended acceptances have 30 days to reply to the school and place a deposit to reserve their spot. Most December deposits are $1,000 dollars and can be placed on multiple schools if unsure about which you want to attend. This allows you an extra few months to figure out the best school for you, both financially and educationally. Usually, the first deposit will hold your spot until March or April at which a secondary deposit will be required in order to maintain your status at the school.

If you have received an acceptance from a dental school but do not intend to go there it is important to let the school know ASAP. They have hundreds if not thousands of other applicants who would love to have that seat. Feel free to call or email the admissions office to let them know that you kindly would like to withdraw your application and thank them for considering you as a student at their school. This is VERY IMPORTANT. You DO NOT want to burn any bridges with any dental schools since the majority of them have specialty programs or faculty that may be friends! You never know what can happen! 

Time to relax! You are now a dental student and on your way to becoming a dentist! (Lucky for you!)

Here are a few reminders now that you are in:

  •  Maintain your grades! Don’t let senioritis kick in fully! Yes, you don’t have to get “A”‘s anymore, but they are still recommended if you want to keep that GPA up for graduation. You won’t be kicked out of dental school for receiving “B’s”. Some dental schools will accept C’s, others may reevaluate your acceptance if you receive a B- or lower. Spare yourself the heart ache and continue to succeed as you have managed for the past 4+ years.
  • Complete the classes you told the AADSAS application you were planning on taking. Your acceptance can be revoked if you do not complete those classes as your decision factored in your upcoming workload. At some schools your future coursework may not be a factor, but try not to change your schedule too dramatically. A few classes is completely acceptable and expected.

Meet your class mates! Visit The Student Doctor Network School Specific threads to chat with other students who have been accepted and join the facebook page for your class (ie. class of 2018). Many of the facebook pages have students or admissions personnel from the school that can help you with any specific questions such as housing tips.

Kick back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the year! You earned it! If you would like, let me know where you got in using Ask Elias!

acceptance wordle

If you have yet to hear from schools don’t worry! Most schools only fill half of their class by December 2nd. Keep working hard. Send an academic update through AADSAS if you have completed any recent courses. If you have one school that you interviewed at and would go to over all the rest, call the school and ask if they accept a letter of intent. Make sure you let the dental schools know you are still interested in their school and looking forward to an update on your status.

If you are preparing to reapply for the upcoming cycle, take a look at each component of your application and figure out how you can improve it. Take the time to improve every component of your application. Take advantage of resources as the blank AADSAS application document as you work to improve your application. If you would like me to take a look at your application and help you figure out what areas need attention feel free to submit your information on the Ask Elias page!