A Day in the Life of a 4th Year Dental Student: Zahraa Maiter

A Day in the Life of a 4th Year Dental Student by Zahraa Maiter

Fourth year is an exciting year for a lot of different reasons - as dental students, we get a lot more clinical exposure than previous years (which feels like an even bigger step up from third year after the effects of Covid-19), there are new modules introduced such as Paediatrics and Orthodontics, and there is more responsibility and independence expected from the students. I would argue that whilst there is no average day as a dental student, there is an average week- at my university every week I can expect to attend clinics at our main campus along with clinics for Oral Surgery/Paediatrics in south London. We also have a weekly online lecture day, where there is no in-person teaching.

Since Tuesday is my busiest day of the week, and often my most enjoyable, I’ll describe my average Tuesday at our main campus’ integrated clinical care clinics.

7:00-7:30am: I’ll wake up (it’s usually a struggle for me as I’m a night owl), have a light breakfast and finish packing my bag from the night before- making sure I have my clinical diary, notebook and tunic all ready to go. I then take either the underground or bus to campus, and on my way there I use the time to catch up on messages.

9:30am: Seeing as our patients are booked in for 10:00am, we are expected to arrive earlier to look through the patient notes, discuss the case with our tutor and set up the bay. I spend the day working alongside my clinical partner, and I’m very lucky that this year my partner is someone who I have been friends with since first year and is very helpful.

10:00am: The first patient arrives (hopefully) and myself or my clinical partner will treat them, whilst the other assists as a nurse. In the afternoon, the roles then switch and whoever was nursing will become the dentist and vice versa. As we are fourth years, we are able to see patients for periodontics, restorative dentistry and prosthodontics on this clinic.

12:30pm: On our lunch break most of the students hang out in the hospital’s student common room. I often find myself spending too much money at lunchtime because there’s so many great food options at London Bridge, including Borough Market! If my patient is in the afternoon, I will also use this time to have a think about their case and plan the appointment.

1:30pm: As patients for the afternoon are booked in for 2:00pm, we arrive back to the clinical floor after an hour lunch break and go through the same process as the morning again. Our clinical tutors are on hand to help us and give advice regarding patient care. Importantly, they check every clinical step within the appointment and sign off our notes once the appointment is done.

5:00pm: The time I leave clinics is very much dependent on the length of the afternoon appointment. After clinics, I’ll either head home or grab a drink with friends from one of the many cafes in the area. Around exam time, I often head straight to the library after clinics to do some revision.

Every dental student has a different routine but I hope you found this brief breakdown of my day insightful! The ‘day in the life’ video I created is from one of my Fridays, so will not follow the same structure as above, but might give some insight into how varied studying dentistry can be.


Thank you for your contribution Zahraa Maiter - The Next Step Team