My name is Cameron Barrett, and I am the president of the newly formed ASDA Predental Chapter at the University of South Florida. I believe it is my responsibility to bring practical, inspiring and up-to-date information related to dentistry to our members. Fall 2018 is the first semester for our predental chapter, and we have certainly hit the ground running, or should I say sprinting.

Our semester began September 1 with our Dental Assisting and Instrumentation Workshop, which was held at Greenberg Dental and Orthodontics (GDO). We covered operatory breakdown and setup, basic dental procedure instrumentation, and practiced basic dental assistant roles. This was a well-attended event and was given in collaboration with the University of Central Florida’s predental club. Any time our members have the chance to collaborate with other predental clubs is a great opportunity to network and build connections with other students. Our second hands-on workshop was an Impressions Workshop on September 22, which was again held at Greenberg Dental and Orthodontics. During the half-day workshop, students practiced mixing and taking alginate impressions on each other. In groups of four we took both full arch impressions, upper and lower, as well as quarter-arch impressions. The workshop was a great way to practice our skills and enjoy socializing with each other.

On October 10, we held our third hands-on workshop on dental photography. General dentist and Clinical Director of Greenberg Dental and Orthodontics, Dr. Steven Barrett, gave a lecture outlining the importance of photography in today’s modern dental practice. We covered topics such as different camera flashes, shade selection, lab communication, as well as the importance of before and after photographs for proper documentation. Following the lecture, members were given the opportunity to practice taking clinical photographs. We learned how to position the patient and how to adjust the camera settings to take a wide variety of patient photographs.

Since the start of the fall semester, we have held five general chapter meetings with a variety of guest speakers sharing their perspectives on dentistry. Dr. Analise Driscoll from the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry kicked off the semester at our first meeting by discussing developing a professional image. This was a thought-provoking and important message to all. Stan Stewart from Virtus Financial Planners spoke at our second meeting about dental school debt. Stewart shared his perspective on how to manage the costs associated with dental school. He gave tips on making smart decisions now, while we are undergraduates, and throughout dental school, that could help minimize our future debt burden. It was a great lecture filled with very timely and important information. At our third meeting, endodontist Dr. Ashley Millstein shared with us her passion for her chosen specialty. Dr. Millstein walked us through the root canal process from diagnosis to completion of the procedure. At our fourth general meeting, we were privileged to have pediatric dentist Dr. Farnaz Adibi share with us her experience from her specialty program, as well as the procedures she performs daily treating younger patients. It was certainly interesting to learn the differences between child and adult patient care. Our fifth and most recent chapter meeting featured guest lecturer orthodontist Dr. Edgar Toro. Dr. Toro shared his experience of being accepted into dental school as well as his orthodontic program. He gave us an overview of what orthodontists do daily and elaborated on the process of how teeth move during orthodontic treatment. This was an amazing meeting that gave us insight into the orthodontic process for creating great smiles.

The month of November promises to be a busy month for our predental chapter members as well. We will be finishing off our lecture series with a presentation on the DAT and the dental school application process. This lecture will be given by a few of our predental chapter members who have already taken their DAT and applied to dental school. Our chapter will be co-hosting a suture workshop in collaboration with the University of Central Florida’s predental club. The workshop will be taught by four periodontists, and our members will learn various suture techniques while enjoying networking with other predental students. Later in November, our predental chapter has arranged for Ignite DDS to host a workshop at the University of South Florida for the first time. We are excited to offer this to our members and have invited other local predental societies in the area to participate in the event. Ignite DDS will focus on how to make yourself an outstanding dental applicant. Emphasis will be placed on mock dental school interviews and how to write a personal statement. To finish the fall 2018 semester strong, the our predental chapter has arranged for a full-day beginners waxing course at a local dental laboratory.

Members of our predental chapter have no shortage of opportunities to get involved and become competitive dental school applicants. In addition to all of our meeting and workshops, our chapter members have the opportunity to attend local predental days, participate in community service events, and volunteer to help in dental clinics that serve patients in need. We have developed a great relationship with the Greenberg Dental and Orthodontic (GDO) offices in our area. Many of our members have found shadowing opportunities and even employment with the GDO group.

My commitment to our ASDA predental chapter has been to provide our members with a variety of experiences and perspectives in dentistry. As the predental chapter president, I have had an opportunity to develop great relationships with my classmates and have met inspiring professionals throughout the dental community. The diversity of our programs has kept participation high, as we have had lectures from both private practice and DSO dentists, general dentists and specialists, dental labs and newly graduated dentists. Building off our strong start, we will continue the momentum moving forward with more outstanding events during our 2019 spring semester. We will include topics on implants, digital dentistry, socket preservation, a smile design workshop, a women in dentistry forum, and much more. Go ASDA Predental Chapter at USF, and go Bulls!

~ Cameron Barrett, University of South Florida ’21, chapter president