Kara’s dentistry adventures

Here I am at the Buffalo Sabers game repping HPU!

Here I am at the Buffalo Sabers game repping HPU!

Hey guys! I hope you all had a nice Columbus Day weekend. The students here at High Point are lucky to get an entire week off. Some of my friends stayed here to work market, some went to visit friends, others went home – which is what I did. Leaving on Friday night after my classes finished, I arrived in my hometown of Buffalo, NY around midnight. I had a lot planned for the week. While I spent time with my parents at the race track, Bills and Sabres games and Shea’s theatre to see Ghost, I also spent some time shadowing a few dentists.


Dr. Carlo has generously allowed me to shadow at his practice various times. I really have seen a variety of procedures, from root canals to different steps in the denture process, crowns, fillings, etc. He even sometimes has little fact sheets with information an aspiring dentist might not know yet. For instance, one day he gave me a sheet about how to describe teeth and their locations and all the names of surfaces. Another time, he wrote up a sheet about types of specialties one can get into after dentistry.


Susan Ksiazek

My mentor: Dr. Susan Ksiazek!

Thanks to my long-time mentor Sue Ksiazek who I am lucky to have known since 2009 (we both attended Nardin Academy!) set me up in the dental department at Erie County Medical Center, our local hospital. On Friday, I spent half a day in their department. Unfortunately, most of the clientele did not have dental insurance or the money to save their teeth, so most of the patients in Urgent Care have to have the problem tooth pulled. An interesting fact I learned is that it’s harder to pull teeth on African American men since they have more dense bones, making it harder for the roots of their teeth to become loose. Dr. Ebrahimi, the resident I shadowed, spent about 20 minutes trying to remove the tooth of one African American man!


Another interesting case I saw was a woman who needed a tooth pulled. When he finished and we left the room, he told me that that patient most likely was a meth-user. I would show you a picture of what a person who uses meth looks like, but it’s pretty disturbing so you can look for yourself here. It was actually really cool for me to see because we were talking about meth in my botany class: Sudafed, which comes from a certain plant we learned about, can be changed chemically into an enantiomer, or “mirror image” of itself, which happens to be meth – enantiomers, as we learned in chemistry, do not have the same chemical properties despite a similar composition. Therefore, when one buys Sudafed at the pharmacy, they scan your driver’s license because you are only allowed to buy so much a month (in case you decide to make meth…).

My friends at the dental lab.

My friends at the dental lab.

I also was able to stop in at the dental lab I worked at this summer, Evolution Dental Science. It was nice to see all the technology they were developing this summer fully functioning, as well as all the people I worked with!

As exciting as this break was, I am VERY happy to be back to school. I was reminded that in order to get into dental school, I need to keep my grades up! Back to work up in the (newly named) R. G. Wanek Learning Commons!


Hope everyone is having a great fall – please contact me with any questions and make sure to add me on Facebook  to check in on my other adventures at HPU!


Kara Benkovich