A Day in Dentistry and Physical Therapy

Today I got the chance to shadow Dr. Deb, the pediatric physical therapist on the medical team. We saw a handful of patients throughout the morning, but the most intriguing was a young girl with cerebral palsy. She was 14 years old and her capacity was limited. Dr. Deb was an amazing teacher and showed me the correct way to give her treatment. This treatment stretching her arms and legs according to her muscle’s needs. I was able to help with this therapy first hand by performing the stretches on her. We gave her a splint to take home, which she will wear a few hours each day to maintain her leg mobility. I learned about the importance of routine therapy and factors that contribute to quality of life when a person has this condition. 

Dr. Deb was an excellent mentor throughout my morning in the physical therapy room. She explained everything in great detail and allowed me to assist her during the various exercises. Having good mentors is important. I have found that shadowing a doctor is most beneficial for me when they describe everything they are doing and teach you about the condition during the appointment. Dr. Deb did exactly that and was an amazing teacher for me.

The next part of my day was spent in Dr. Christians office. I was nervous about being in the dental office, but was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned. I assisted him with four patients: two extractions, one filling, and one cleaning. Dentistry is an artistic medicine, which requires great amount precision. I was amazed as I watched Dr. Christian make a filling look like a real tooth. I had not considered the artistic components of dentistry before, but I now have an enriched understanding of what his practice entails. 

My favorite patients we saw in the dental office was a pair of siblings who I had seen in the pediatric office the day before. The younger sibling was five years old and elated to sit in the dental chair. She maintained an excellent attitude and joyful spirit throughout the appointment and made my day incredibly bright. Her older brother, age seven, received a tooth extraction. Seeing this joyful young boy scared and in pain was challenging. It reminded to always have great empathy for the patient and to consider how they are feeling. I enjoyed my time in Dr. Christian’s office very much and I learned a lot about the field of dentistry. 

The physical therapy and dental office were some of favorite rotations during the week. I had two excellent mentors in these rotations and I was able to have a very valuable, hands-on learning experience under the supervision of these two doctors. 

Lily Saddoris


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