News

The Smith Family University Experience Day


26 July 2011

On June 30th, members of the Faculty of Dentistry participated in The Smith Family University Experience Day at the University of Sydney. Hoping to get a bunch of year 10 students to become as enthusiastic about dentistry as ourselves, Dr Groenlund, Dr Arora, and four members of BDent1 set out to give them a taste of what studying dentistry is all about.

Participating students were each given a bowl of plaster, some water and a dental mould. Under the tutelage of the faculty members, up to 30 students at a time mixed and poured up casts of their dental mould. Given that the students had to hand-vibrate the plaster solution, the faculty members were all highly impressed with the accuracy and lack of defects in the casts. The students were similarly thrilled by their achievement, and left for home with smiles on their faces and (almost) perfect casts in their hands.

Cast Making by Year 10 and Faculty of Dentistry
Cast Making by Year 10 and Faculty of Dentistry

Whilst waiting for the plaster casts to set, Dr Groenlund arranged for groups of students to look at and handle various dental prosthesis and oral hygiene instruction devices. Meanwhile, the BDent 1 aspiring dentists were thronged by students curious about the reality of the job, the gruelling admissions process, and the rigours of the dentistry course itself. This was interspersed with well- informed questions concerning the science behind how their plaster casts were setting. Thankfully, excellent teaching from our Faculty meant that we were able to answer these questions without too much trouble.

Dr Groenlund teaching doing Dental Prosthetics Show and Tell
Dr Groenlund teaching doing Dental Prosthetics Show and Tell

At the beginning of the day's second session, the four BDent 1 students gave a ten minute interactive presentation. Inspired by an oral hygiene kit that was handed out to all participating students - and using a soft-drink bottle left over from lunch as a handy prop - the group discussed appropriate dietary choices, tooth decay and tooth erosion. With the help of a willing volunteer, the correct brushing technique was demonstrated, emphasised and reinforced.

1 on stage giving Oral Hygiene 1001
1 on stage giving Oral Hygiene 1001

The four BDent 1 volunteers wish to thank Dr Arora and Dr Groenlund for advising and supervising on the day, Michael Jean-Louis for all the thought and hard work that went into preparing and trouble-shooting the plaster casts activity, as well as Lindy Sank for providing brochures on teeth erosion.

Special thanks to Dr Groenlund for an amazing opportunity to contribute to the profession, as well as to teach and be a positive influence for these children. Last but not least, I wish to thank our BDent 1 colleagues, Nini Li and Bryant Ting for assisting with the students and the presentation.

Written by: Kenelm Kwong and Owen Hughes (BDent 1 2011)

Photography by: Kenelm Kwong (with permission by Dr Groenlund, and supervising teachers)