If you’re wondering whether or not this program is for you — or what you’re going to learn — or even if studying orofacial pain and oral medicine will pay off …
We’ve assembled this gallery of videos from our students. Watch and listen as they tell you, in their own words, why they chose to study at the Ostrow School of Dentistry at USC, what the experience is like, and what tips and techniques you should use to succeed.
1. How does taking a “hybrid” course help you study while maintaining your practice?
Watch as our students describe how our hybrid online/offline course design model has allowed them to balance their professional careers with learning new skills. (click to expand)
The internet program requires a hour, but not as much as a conventional program. You don’t have to leave your office, you don’t have to dedicate time to come to the university, and lose hours driving. The ones who work full time we do understand that. — Victor Camones
This program enabled me to take the course at the hours that were applicable to me, and I didn’t have to stop working. You have the privacy in your own home [ to set your own hours] — Guillermo Ramos
What this program offered me was – that I could be in the comfort of my practice, go ahead and keep on practicing, without compromising that part but still, I get to learn what I desired and love to learn. So that is the big advantage here. — Nibu Varguise
I am a busy dentist, I have a large group practice and at this stage in my career, it’s not something I could give up for a full-time program. It appealed to me that I could do it online, and do it at my own pace. — Robert Cadalso
One of the main things that attracted me to the program was that it was online, with some hands-on training. Once you get established with a practice, the thought of giving that up and going back to a 5 or 6 day a week in an onsite residency program was not horribly attractive to me. — Caron Holmes
2. What are some of the techniques you’ve used to make the most of this hybrid course?
Our students say that on the one hand, the flexibility of our hybrid program is fantastic — but that on the other hand, you will need to self-organize and make sure that you carve out enough time from your schedule to do all your classwork. (click to expand)
“My weekly schedule is to have at least one case to present to the group. Dr. Clark is there to guide us, give his comments, and he facilitates the learning process. It’s not that easy, it’s not like a video activity. It is really hard work, because you have to prepare every time. It makes me read a lot and that helps. — Marlon Moldez
What really helped me was to set aside a specific date and time every Tuesday, I would dedicate two hours between Time X and Time Y. And that made it more manageable for me. — Robert Cadalso
You’re never going to get ahead, but if you fall behind, the resources are there, as long as you make the time to catch up with it. There were some weeks where I was working 5 days a week, vs. 3 days a week, I knew that I could kinda push some of that work to the next week when I have more time. But you could get lost quickly if you didn’t make the time or scheduling to accomplish it. — Cairon Holmes
3. What attracted you to study Orofacial Pain at USC?
Our students have reasons both personal and professional, to study Orofacial Pain and Oral Medicine with us. Also, they have some very complimentary things to say about the quality of our program – and who are we to disagree? (click to expand)
USC as a reputation has a reputation for producing good clinicians. Dr. Clark is known all over the world. It’s good to have learned from him. — Marlon Moldez
There’s a lot of mis-knowledge out there, and the longer I was in practice, the more I got interested in what the answers were. — Caron Holmes
4. What is the class experience like?
We understand that many people wonder if learning dentistry over the internet is as rigorous and demanding as attending a standard brick-and-mortar university. Our students say that it isn’t. It’s actually more demanding. And rewarding. And because your professors and classmates will be with you in your house, in your office, wherever you study – it actually even feels more intimate. (click to expand)
With the technologies, it’s like you are in a class and talking in person. You don’t feel the barrier, you don’t feel like you are far away from your professor. You feel like you are talking with him you are at your comfort level, and at the same time, very engaged. — Marlon Moldez
It was more than I anticipated. But then again, if it’s something superficial, then it’s not that much work. — Guillermo Ramos
Every bit as challenging as a brick and mortar school you would walk into. It is more you have to be more self-responsible. It demands more time management. At the end of the day, it’s rewarding, how much I’ve learned. — Robert Cadalso
âMy college experience, my dental experience, were large classrooms. You were kind of a number. To ask a question and get your professor to hear you was pretty non-existent. Even though this is an online program [â¦] you get direct feedback.â â Cairon Holmes
5. Are you already seeing value from your studies?
Many of our students report that colleagues in their area are already referring patients suffering from orofacial pain to them. Their newfound expertise is already expanding their practices! (click to expand)
âBefore, when I was doing my routine practice, I wouldn’t be able to recognize some problems with my patients. Now after the year doing the program, I can see these problems easily, so I can say I can focus on this, before starting to do my treatment.â â Victor Camones
âI sent out a letter to all the general dentists, telling them that I’m here, and I’m comfortable taking on your troubles â¦ any TMD patient is âtrouble.â Normal dentists don’t want to handle them, because they are a pain. Because they are in pain.â – Nibu Varguise
âI am more confident that I can see oral medicine patients as well as orofacial patients, without having a panic attack when you see these cases in your office.â
â Marlon Moldez
âI am able to help patients with neuropathic pain. Dentists around where I practice will refer to me now, not only TMJ, but neuropathic pain.â â Marlon Moldez
âFrom 2 or 3 months into the program, I started seeing patients. And I was able to give them some amount of relief. Not as much relief as I would give them where I am right now â I’m far more advanced than what it was at the beginning of the program.â – Nibu Varguise
âIt kinda opened my eyes, into my own patient population as to maybe some of the disease that was out there that I didn’t see before. So it has made me a better practitioner, more well-rounded.â â Caron Holmes
6. Describe your personal motivation to learn more about this topic
Our students come to us with stories of frustrating encounters with patients who had conditions that they were unable to treat – or, in some cases, with stories of how conditions impacted their own lives. But one thing is consistent. Learning how to diagnose and treat orofacial pain gives them a feeling of tremendous satisfaction; that they are finally able to help patients who are deeply in need. (click to expand)
âThe interest came from two aspects of my life â one of them was I was diagnosed with sleep apnea myself. Unfortunately I was diagnosed when I wound up in the center divider of the 241 tollroad because I had fallen asleep at the wheel. So I’m lucky to be here, first of all.â – Robert Cadalso
âThe satisfaction I get out of this is really tremendous â when you see people being helped and they tell you âthank you doctor for helping me. — Marlon Moldez
âWe sent this patient to every service in the hospital except OB-GYN. Nobody knew what was going on â¦ It sticks in my mind because it was a friend, a personal friend â¦ I lost that patient because she didn’t get any relief, for whatever reason. Probably thought I was a quack. It bothers me. Still.â – Jack Daugherty
7. Describe how your fellow students contribute to your learning
It’s no secret that some of the best learning takes place in peer-to-peer conversations and collaborations. This is especially true when you attract the kind of high-end practitioners that we have in our program. Our students report that they have found that their classmates are some of the best resources in the program – that each person brings with them some kind of experience or specialized knowledge that really augments the entire learning process. (click to expand)
âThe world as it exists today, I think we are more connected than we were before the advent of computers and Facebook and all these other modalities that we have. If anything, we have expanded our circle of connectivity, with colleagues across the country, whereas if we didn’t have this program, all I could do is reach out to someone across town, maybe.â â Robert Cadalso
âThe students are actually well-experienced clinicians, surgeons, prosthodontists, orthodontists, general dentists, all combined to see the case together and discuss over the internet. It’s really very useful for my practice.â – Marlon Moldez
âThe friendships that I’ve formed â in some cases, really close friendships â¦ these are dedicated professionals. All of us have niches in our private practices that we like to spend more time on â¦ there’s a whole range of areas where people are more proficient. It’s interesting to listen to them, to pick up some of the pearls they have in areas where you might not be as proficient at. It’s quite educational. Over and above what weâre getting [in the classroom].â â Jack Daugherty
8. What is your advice to someone about to start this course?
If you’ve decided to enroll at USC to study orofacial pain, our students have some encouraging words of wisdom for you. (click to expand)
âYouâre never too old to learn. One of the good things about this program is that not only do we have diversity in different cultures â¦ but also we had a fair amount of diversity in age. So it was nice for me to sit down with people who were â believe it or not, older than me in the program â as well as those younger, that I could mentor. [The learning in this program] is a collaborative effort.â
âI would encourage people to come in very open-minded â¦ itâs OK to try new things.â â Caron Holmes
9. What would you tell someone who is “on the fence” about enrolling?
Our students have advice that kind of sounds like a famous slogan from a certain shoe company… (click to expand)
âMy advice is just go and research this program, learn about this program and learn about orofacial pain. Because I think this is the new topic in dentistry â¦ every dentist needs to know about orofacial pain. Just go ahead and do it, because you will learn a lot.â – Amir Balouch
âJust do it. You may think you know a lot, but itâs been a great program. Just do it.â – Caron Holmes