Hayley M.

November 20th – January 6th (26.86 hours) –  In the internship program, I was able to see my sister get her braces on. My little sister ended up getting clear braces which is very similar to the normal braces except for the staining that can happen. I was able to watch them clean her teeth and apply each bracket. Dr. Leber joked with my family about sending me home with all the tools so I could do the braces myself. I learned that Dr. Leber and his employees consider me a decent intern and always find ways to teach me in every situation. It was an experience that brought Leber’s staff, my sister, and I closer to each other.

There are many times that Dr. Leber or the other technicians will ask me for a tool or bracket that they need. When I started, I was given a tour and a manual that highlighted where everything was and specifics of the tools/job. When asked, (especially when I was starting) I would get confused very easily with where to find things. I often have asked help from other staff to specify where the tools were. The staff always make sure that I am always learning the most. The staff often take this time to offer me tips on how to remember certain things they are telling/teaching me.

It’s very helpful to be redirected when you don’t know where something is. Ronnie had told me to remember the tools by different parts of the tool. For example, an explorer is easy to explore the mouth with since it has a thinner piece that can fit in many areas. I am still working on remembering the names of all the materials considering the amount of tools there are. My goal for the end of this semester was to be able to know the tools and the way to write a patient’s appointment for the Doctor to understand which the staff has been helping me so much with. This information will be useful when I begin my schooling for dental and to help out around the office.

I learned the term “bird beak” during my tour with Ronnie after she gave me the Intern manual. Bird beak is the name of a tool that can bend and form the braces wire. She explained that many of the tools had alternate names than the actual medical name. Bird beak pliers look like a small bird’s beak and are sometimes referred to as 139 pliers.

January 7th – January 14th (0 hours) –  In the internship program, I’ve been able to experience is the discussions that Dr.Leber often has with me during our time between patients. During a break in patients, we began talking about his experience and progression into his current career. He talked about how he has been in Orthodontics for seventeen years, several of which were with his father, an Orthodontist as well. He talked about how you must stay perseverance through college because of how many years it is. Understanding the life I am expected to have in the future is helping me prepare for my college years. As I gain more knowledge about my future career and college life, I am beginning to prepare myself with the advise of my mentor or his employees.

I developed the skill of being able to put in a wire and secure it with bands. I developed this skill over the course of the internship. I began with a model that Dr.Leber had me work on several times to learn the basic of the process. I learned to use the explorer in this process. He later moved on to allowing me to work on a patient which helped me understand the techniques that are used during this procedure. I have been able to improve this skill and am getting better after each patient.

Every patient with braces will need wires and bands to move the teeth. Having this skill will later help me ease into working with teeth and in the mouth. I am learning to become comfortable around patients and with using tools in their mouths which will benefit me when I begin my work in college and later in my career. I will be able to do a routine checkup on a patient with the knowledge of this skill. This skill is also the beginning step for most of the procedures. I will be able to work on patients, even if it is just a start.

I’ve learned the word TMA wire from the employees at my internship. The TMA wire is the most common wire to use with braces. It is average weight for the teeth and is .19 x .25. Most technicians ask me when they need something not in their table, many times it is a TMA wire.

January 15th – January 28th (8.01 hours) –  I’ve had to opportunity to see a new process on a patient’s teeth. I’ve been many people with expanders but this was the first time I have seen somebody with an expander get braces. The expander is meant to widen the roof of a patient’s mouth. I was very excited to see a new process considering Orthodontics is very repetitive. I was told in the beginning of my internship by Dr. Leber that some people find his career to be too boring, however, there are many different procedures every day. Orthodontics is not a job that everyone would be satisfied with because of the pace but I believe that I would do well in this field. I am starting to understand, not just the basic of orthodontics, but the actual career aspect of the job.

I learned the term “expander” during my second internship day. I learned this term when Vee was applying the expander in the roof of a young patient’s mouth. I asked about the tool being used and Leber was able to explain the procedure along with the reason for the process in most patients.

January 29th – February 11th () –

February 12th – February 25th () –

February 26th – March 11th () –

March 12th – March 25th () –

March 26th – April 8th () –

April 9th – April 22nd () –

July 20th – August 13th (39.67 hours) – During this experience at Leber, I’ve had the opportunity to actually work on a short task that has left a huge impact on me. I have been able to put bands on and take bands off of a model several times. This was a huge step for me because I was actually able to get a feel for what the technicians do every single day. Taking bands off and putting them on is what keeps the wires in place. If these wires were to somehow pop out of their original placement, patients’ teeth wouldn’t be getting the treatment their orthodontist planned. Being able to use the tools and learn a major step for braces made me feel more confident in myself and the work that is asked of me everyday.

From Mrs. Wahl, I hope to learn about a broad side of business that only somebody with experience can get. Graduating at 16 leaves me with little experience in the work force. I’m hoping to learn about the expectations, responsibilities, and behavior required in the workforce. I also want to learn how to better myself to be a better worker. From Dr. Leber, I hope to learn about the business, schooling, and job of orthodontics. I’ve learned so much about the environment and expectations of the job but I’m hoping to learn more about what the schooling and business looks like from his perspective.

As a professional, I’ve learned that I need to invest in more clothes that are neutral and professional. I also have learned that I often get things mixed up and realized that I need to take a step back to regroup before emailing. I’ve already had to reschedule days with my internship because of schedule conflicts I should’ve been aware when scheduling.
As a student, I’ve learned that learning and remembering are two different concepts. I tend to learn and understand but cannot remember specific names. I’ve also learned that with notes, I often repeat myself. ”

August 14th – August 27th (7.67 hours) – During these past two weeks, my mentor, Dr. Leber, allowed me to work on two different patients. For the first patient, I placed his wire and upper chain bands. For the second patient, I did upper and lower bands. After doing this, I feel much better prepared for my future work because I did enjoy putting wires and bands in. Doing this also made me feel more confident in myself because if patients, technicians, and my mentor trust me enough to work on a patient, I should be proud. Knowing that I get to work on patients when I come in makes me more excited to go to my internship.

August 28th – September 10th (15.16 hours) – Due to this last log days being my last few days interning this semester, I’ve been getting closer with the staff. I’ve had more meaningful conversations in the past two weeks than I’ve had the entire time interning. Technicians have been discussing the time spent in college and interning to get to their positions which has made me look deeper into my college time. Dr. Leber has also expressed several times that the 10 years spent in college can drag and be very difficult. With college around the corner, it’s comforting to know I have other options if I plan to change my major. I also have good relationships with the staff which can widened my network.

At my internship, I’m expected to be an observer. Usually, I just stand quietly and observe the treatment. I feel comfortable enough to ask questions because usually they’ll ask me questions. (“What is the name of the wire I’m using…”) I smile when I first walk up to a patient and they make eye contact. I’m not allowed to have my phone out unless there are no patients. I’m expected to talk to patients if they talk to me about my internship or schooling.

It can be hard for me if nobody is talking to me to not talk. I’m a very outgoing person and when people talk about topics I’m interested in, I usually want to chime in but I can’t do that at my internship. It can also be hard to concentrate for long periods of time on the procedures since they are often very similar. It’s easy for me to be professional because I’ve been in professional environments many times in my life. There’s always challenges to stay completely professional for 4 hours straight, especially when there are patients asking questions or when people that know me talk to me. I’ve been working on smiling and looking more awake since usually I’m tired after school. I’m also working on asking if any of the hygienist need help to be more active during interning.

I came across this term when a patient was receiving this treatment in order to glue down a permanent wire on the back of his teeth. Dr. Leber tends to ask me what I’ve learned and if I have any questions whenever he has a chance. He asked me after I observed this treatment and I asked about what the string was and what it was supposed to do. He explained that it was a “zoom string” which is an elastic thread that, when tied across several teeth, can close a bite very quickly.

September 11th – September 24th (0 hours) – I’ve recently had the site visit which taught me a lot more about my internship site. Thinking back on the experience, I realized what pieces of Orthodontics are the most important pieces and how interesting that can be to someone who hasn’t seen braces before. Being able to show off the internship site like it was my own practice gave me a confidence boost because I could genuinely see myself in Dr. Leber’s shoes, explaining the same thing to a new employee. Setting goals for myself has also made me more motivated to go to my internship site. I’m very motivated by goals in general and with the goals we set will help me immensely in my future studies. The goals we set are also goals I’ve personally wanted to reach for quite a while.

I’ve learned about a few names of the tools used. During the beginning of my internship, Ronnie gave me a short lesson that they usually give the new employees before letting them work on patients. I read through the manual which offered some knowledge about the tools but when Vee showed me a box of all the tools and described each use, it stuck in my head more. The explorer is the tool that is used to put on and take off bands.

September 25th – October 8th (0 hours) – I’ve recently had the opportunity to see a different type of patient. Instead of having natural malocclusion, the patient was being treated for issues their previous orthdontist caused. The patient had a crooked overbite and needed minor imperfections fixed. It was incredible to see the difference between her before pictures and her finished smile. It was also a huge eye opener that orthdontics is not an easy job and mistakes can create huge issues for patients. Seeing the work Leber did to fix the patient’s teeth made me more inspired to begin a career of fixing and perfecting teeth. I use in-person conversation very often at my internship site. Since the office is such a small place, in-person conversation is much easier than emailing a person only 30 feet from me.

Communication is a huge part of orthodontics since there are many times where hygienists forget to grab tools or brackets before sitting down. Communicating with people at my internship site also broadens my network because I’m creating relationships with my “co-workers.” When hygienists are doing something I’ve never seen before or I have questions, I ask them about it to better my learning experience. In-person conversation does and will continue to influence my knowledge of orthodontics.

In the beginning, it was extremely scary to ask questions or to discuss issues with my mentor or other workers. As I’ve interned more, I’ve created better and closer relationships with everyone that works at Leber which has helped me grow to ask more questions and be more vocal (when appropriate) about issues. I’m very comfortable at this point with beginning conversations or asking questions. I used to go over the same question in my head several times before asking, if I could get the courage to ask. Now, I usually think about what I’m going to say to make sure I don’t already know the answer and then I discuss it with either a hygienist or Dr. Leber. When scheduling dates I’m going to intern, I have them prepared beforehand so it’s easy to tell Melanie.

I learned the term “hats” when watching Monica work on a patient with an overbite. The patient’s teeth were hitting the bracket when they closed their mouth which can pop brackets off, hindering the process. Monica showed me a type of thick band that can be placed on brackets (under the colored bands) to stop teeth from hitting the bracket called hats.

October 9th – October 22nd (0 hours) – Dr. Leber has a wide network of people he interacts with to conduct his business. He pulled me into his office while I was interning and was showing me an invisalign profile for a patient from a doctor in Costa Rica. He told me that the doctor was consulting with him to figure out the best treatment plan for his patient who’s teeth were modeled on the website. Dr. Leber figured out how to fix the teeth and emailed back a response within a minute or so. Seeing how Dr. Leber’s network reaches to a doctor in Costa Rica made me start thinking about how wide my network could reach. It was inspiring to see the influence that Dr. Leber’s knowledge has on not only his office but an office across the globe.

I learned the term manicure while watching Dr. Leber interact with a patient with uneven bumps at the bottom of their teeth. He asked the patient if they had discussed having a manicure on their teeth before and received approval from their parents to smooth out the bottom of their teeth. A manicure is an extra (and optional) step in Orthodontics which is meant to clean up the smile by smoothing teeth out on the bottoms and sides to look more appealing.

October 23rd – November 5th (0 hours) – Dr. Leber tends to ask me if I have any questions when I’m shadowing. During a short break between patients, he asked me this. I asked him what he thought the hardest of his job was. He told me it was that he had to be the leader and set the mood for the rest of his employees since he was the “boss.” If he came in with a bad attitude, it makes the vibe of the office to be negative. I started thinking about this and it made a lot of sense but also comes with a lot of self-awareness and responsibility. I enjoy that Dr. Leber always makes sure he always give me his honest thoughts on what I say and the questions I ask him.

I talked to Ronnie, one of the dental technicians, when she was helping me learn the different tools and I needed help. Usually the techs will ask me if they need something but can’t leave their patient because of the procedure they are performing. Monica asked me for an ender bender and I was just learning the tools so I didn’t know which tool it was. I asked Ronnie and she showed me how I could know where each tool was based on the caption and shape of the tool. She showed me the different names for each tool and this lead to her eventually showing me a handbook with all the tools names in it. In this situation, it was important for me to learn and help the people around me at the same time.

I interacted with my coworker, Ronnie, when we were talking about different movies that had just come out. She usually talks to me during our breaks or during lunchtime. She had just seen Crazy Rich Asians and was talking to me about the movie and how good it was. We just continued to talk about our weekend and what we had done over the weekend. She had gone to the movies with my family and I had been babysitting and watched The Meg. We usually talk about things like this with each other, especially when it’s something we would recommend to each other.

I learned the term elastic bands when I was watching Dr. Leber discuss a treatment plan with a patient during the beginning of my shadowing. He gave him a paper with what teeth brackets to put the elastic bands on. He also told the patient the importance of wearing the bands and the effect they could have on their teeth.

November 6th – November 19th (0 hours) – While interning, I was given to opportunity to see the risks of bad oral hygiene on braces. There was a patient that came in for a check up that had low oral hygiene grades during their appointment. The patient was not brushing their teeth enough and there was build up in several areas of the mouth. The patient was asked to brush their teeth after their bands and wire was taken out to get rid of some of the food build up. It was upsetting to see a patient hurting their chances at bettering their oral health by not brushing their teeth. After this experience, I have been so much more aware of patient’s dental hygiene and even my own.

I would say, from my mentor’s perspective, I was fairly okay with my attendance and punctuality. I set up my internship dates and times weeks before the actual dates. I came in, usually early, on time everyday. I emailed and called on days where I could not make it in or I would be late. I made sure that I scheduled the days I was interning on days where I had no other plans or events to ensure that I was able to make it on time. My internship, to me, was like a job and I acted the same I would in a job setting.

I knew I was going to be busy during the first semester so I interned early hours during the summer to ensure I would have enough time to intern during the school year. I only interned 5 hour days after school. I spread my intern days out so it wasn’t overwhelming me or crowding up a big chunk of my time that I need each week for homework and extracurriculars. I also gave myself enough time between school and my internship on the days I was interning to do homework after getting off. In semester 2, I will have to find specific days I can work since I won’t be able to work 5 hour days anymore, only 3, due to my job hours. I will end up doing a lot of my interning over Spring Break and interning a few days every month.

I learned the term debond while watching a patient during their braces removal. The hygienist check in with Dr. Leber before finishing or beginning the treatment for a patient. The hygienist that they were doing a debond which is when brackets are removed from a patient’s teeth. This process can be especially hard on certain brackets that are glued on tightly.