Licensure Do’s and Dont’s

Recently, I attempted the CRDTS Licensure exam to become a licensed dentist. It was very eventful, to say the least. I super ecstatic to say that I passed the manikin and periodontal portion with no problems, but sadly I have to retake the patient portion.

People pass the entire portion of the test all the time, but the statistics for first time passers is not high (I can’t remember the exact statistic, but I remember my mouth dropped and my stomach turned when a CRDTS board member let me know).

Here are a few helpful tips before you attempt the test;

PRACTICE. Easy to say right. I ended up beginning my practice for the manikin portion of the test 2 months in advance. Most test goers say two weeks of cutting preps consistently should do the trick. However, I looked at my schedule 2 months out and realized I didn’t have that luxury because I was focused on graduating as well. I took about 2-3 times a week to cut 2-3 manikin bridge preps and 1-2 endodontic preps (these typhodont teeth were super expensive) per day. Unfortunately, practicing the patient portion wasn’t so easy. While, I did practice on the typhodont to make sure my depths and widths were correct, in my opinion no typhodont can truly predict what you’ll see in a patient. Also, there are just not enough patients to practice on st school.

READ THE MANUAL. Simple. Know the manual backwards and forward. Simple. KNOW EVERYTHING.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT. Unless you can seriously cut a perfect prep, which you can’t, don’t try. The more perfect you try to be, the more disastrous things will happen. While cutting a tooth for my bridge prep, I wanted more taper on my molar tooth. Even though I saw the taper, laid my bur against the tooth, and my explorer, I still wanted more. I ended up knocking the tooth in an odd spot and having to taper too much. Even though I still passed, this left me with a super low score on that molar.

DO MAKE SURE ALL OF YOUR PATIENTS QUALIFY. Even though mine did. I saw this a lot with other people. Plan MONTHS in advance. Go over that manual to understand what qualifies and don’t try to wing it, the examiners won’t accept it.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE BACKUP PATIENTS. People told me ahead of time to have back up patients so, I did. I’m glad I did because the patient who I was going to use backed out on me the last minute. Good thing I had someone ready to go and wasn’t scrambling…kind of.

MAKE SURE YOUR PATIENTS ARE GOOD PATIENTS. Not all qualifying patients are good patients. My initial patient would have been the perfect patient. You want a patient that doesn’t whine, doesn’t squirm, isn’t hard to anesthetize, and that opens their mouth. Mouth opening is the problem my back up patient had and it affected me. It caused me to fluster and get annoyed, which ultimately caused me to make an irrational decision.

STAY CALM. Easier said than done I know. But try. I was anxious simply because I didn’t know what to expect. Now that I know, I’m ready to retake it and pass with flying colors!
Overall the test is very straightforward. Practice, read the manual, and prepare. Although, I have to wait a little to retake it. I’m more prepared and ready to pass!

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