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Inside a Dental Student’s Backpack

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Students today have so much equipment at their disposal. From school textbooks and notepads to clinical wear and tools, our backpacks are filled to the brim with materials just to get through the daily grind. Here are several of the essentials that every dental student needs in their backpack:

  1. Laptop – With education becoming more and more digitized—downloadable lecture PDFs, web-accessed schedule updates, online teacher evaluations, and even computerized midterms and finals (ExamSoft, anyone?)—students absolutely need their laptops on them at all times
  2.  Noise Cancelling Headphones – Tune out all that snoring from the library cubicle next to yours. Rewatching lectures takes the utmost focus and no distractions shall be allowed!
  3.  Anatomy Coloring Book and Colored Pens – Adult coloring books are all the rage nowadays, and they say it is a great stress relief. Does color-coding the medial pterygoid muscle from the lateral pterygoid muscle count?
  4.  Safety Goggles – You never know when you will need some emergency PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), particularly if you like to participate in community outreach events at local schools or health fairs. You will thank yourself later when you don’t need to run back to school to get protective eyewear.
  5.  Clear Gum Tooth Model – The typical dental student starts D1 year knowing that there are incisors and molars. But alas, there is so much more to know. Triangular fossa, distal pit, mesial buccal groove, root concavities, bifurcations and trifurcations, the Cusp of Carabelli… the list goes on. If you have your Tooth Model on hand, you will no longer think to yourself, “What does the maxillary first premolar look like again?”
  6.  Sim Lab Bench Keys – These are the keys to all of your simulation lab equipment (e.g., your restorative cassette, your loupes, your thousand-dollar drill). Forget these and you can kiss goodbye your sign-offs for the day!
  7.  Healthy Snacks – Fresh fruits, nuts, vegetable chips… Something to get you through a day of classes and studying but doesn’t mess with your Stephen’s Curve too drastically.
  8.  Water Canteen – To be filled with 0.7ppm of fluoridated water, of course!
  9.  Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Floss – Because we all brush three times a day, right? Plus, it’s always nice to have some floss handy, particularly when your classmate comes up and whispers, “You have some leftover lunch between #9 and #10.”
  10.  Invisalign Aligners – Your upperclassmen need more orthodontic cases and you want to fix that diastema. Win-win!
  11.  Comfy Sneakers – Great for that one-hour gym break between classes. Also great for when you forgot to wear close-toed shoes to clinic…again.
  12.  Hand Sanitizer – Our nitrile gloves rip sometimes. Enough said! 

See associated image here: http://i66.tinypic.com/akcplj.jpg

These are just some of the things that can be found in my backpack before I head out to class and clinic each day. Did I miss anything? What additional items are in your backpack?