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Dr. Eugene Brooks - Professor and Practitioner

 

Dr. Brooks, Director of the Dental Post-Baccalaureate Program at the University of CO School of Dentistry has a mixture of instructing dental students, supervising clinic sessions and a faculty practice.  As a dental educator, part of the week (Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays) is spent lecturing and monitoring students in a clinic setting and the other part is spent in a faculty private practice  (Thursday and Fridays).

The day highlighted below covers a typical Wednesday teaching and working with students in clinic.

4:30 am:  I’m an early riser and begin the day at a local gym before arriving at the University of CO School of Dentistry by 8:00 am.

8:00 am:  Individual appointments with students advising them on patient treatment plans and clinic sessions options – often can be a student’s first procedure or a complicated procedure.

9:00 am-12:00 pm:  Supervises and monitors six dental students in clinic setting seeing patients performing a variety of procedures such as making a bridge, doing basic fillings, oral diagnoses, making a full set of dentures and other procedures.

12:00 pm:  Lunch often includes working meetings and in service training sessions.

1:00 pm:  I’m teaching an Occlusion II course with 90 minutes lecture on Wednesdays. 

2:30-5:00pm:  In the accompanying course two and a half hour lab following the lecture presentation, students are doing hands-on projects such as mounting a cast on an articulator, waxing up an occlusal splint (mouth guard) and other procedures. 

I really enjoy teaching the course seeing students learn (by practicing on student dental partners) new procedures for the first time such as how to make a splint adapting it to fit their student’s partner’s mouth.  This teaches a student firsthand what their patients go through and how it feels to wear the splint. 

My schedule includes two days seeing patients in a private practice –here is a typical Thursday below.

8:00 am:  Begin seeing my first patient for a crown and extensive bridgework.  This patient wanted to have one long appointment (two and half hours long) instead of multiple appointments.

10:30 am:  Next I complete six fillings on my next patient.

11:30 am:  For the next half an hour before lunch, I work on insurance forms, treatment plans and other follow up paper work.

12:00 pm:  Often there are in-service lunch and learn presentations and invited speakers on the latest innovations in new techniques (such as implant procedures) and equipment. 

1:00 pm:  See first patient following lunch doing multiple extractions.

2:30 pm:  Made an occusal guard (night guard) for patient.

3:30 pm:  Completed bridgework and replacing temporary bridge with a permanent one (the prescription for the bridge had been taken at an earlier appointment).

4:30 pm:  I complete the necessary paperwork for insurance and other information s before leaving for home.

5:00 pm:  I usually arrive home by five and spend some time reading professional journals and fun reading.  I’m usually involved in community meetings at least once a week in the evening such as the Colorado Dental Association, working on various committees.

In answer to the question what is the most gratifying part of being a dental educator, Dr. Brooks responded:  Working with students on the clinic floor and getting to witness their growth from the time they see their first patient to how they have matured as a 4th year student-this is very, very gratifying.

 

In answer to the question how did you choose dentistry and academic dentistry in particular?
Dr. Brooks responded:  I was in practice for 26 years and I taught part time one day a week (on my day off) at the local dental school.  I felt I could make more of a contribution and give something back by working full time in an academic environment. 

I got interested in dentistry through a school dentist who took an interest in me and invited me to observe him as well as other role models who were very encouraging.

What advice do you have for a student who is unsure about whether or not dentistry is a good choice? Be committed to doing well in dental school.  Much time is needed to absorb the volume of material and do well.

To find out more information about academic dentistry, go to the ADEA Academic Dental Careers Network to view a DVD on academic careers, F.A.Q. answers and other information.