One of the recent stops on Jared Fisher’s Listening Tour was the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) School of Dental Medicine. There, he interviewed two dental students, Aaron B. and Bryce Kinard, about the pros and cons of studying dentistry in Nevada and the changes they’d like to see made to Nevada’s higher education system.
Below is a transcript of a portion of the interview:
At UNLV’s Dental School, Students Get a More Hands-On Experience
Jared Fisher: How would you compare UNLV’s dental school with other dental schools? Why did you choose UNLV?
Aaron B: I have two brothers who went here. I had a brother graduate in 2011 and another who graduated in 2013. After they graduated from UNLV, they went somewhere else to specialize and they told me that when they compared the two, the knowledge they got at UNLV was so much better. They felt really confident in their skills—more confident than their peers.
Bryce Kinard: They don’t have an Endo specialty school here. And because they don’t offer Endo or Oral Surgery here, we get to do those procedures ourselves. By the time we finish at UNLV, we feel comfortable because we’ve done it all before.
Jared Fisher: It’s almost like having an internship built in.
Aaron B: Right. You get way more experience here.
Bryce Kinard: I’ve talked to students from across the country. We’re one of the few schools who get into the clinic right away. Other schools have to wait until their third year. We’re getting to work on live patients in the beginning of the second year.
Jared Fisher: Wow—You feel confident working on live patients after just a year of school? That’s impressive.
Aaron B: We do over 300 fillings per semester on the dummies before we work on people. We spend a lot of time in the lab.
Room for Improvement: The Need for More Business Classes
Jared Fisher: I’d imagine that many dentists go on to open their own practice. Does your program offer courses on how to run a business?
Aaron B: We get one class.
Jared Fisher: Would you benefit from having more business classes?
Aaron B: I think students could benefit from business classes because they could help them find a niche. That’s important in Las Vegas because there are a lot of dental practices here.
Bryce Kinard: There are continuing education classes on running your business that you can take after you graduate. I wonder if the reason they don’t include that in the program is because they assume not all of us are going to run our own business.
Jared Fisher: Why would they assume that?
Bryce Kinard: The market is too saturated to start your own practice in Las Vegas.
Aaron B: It’s also about cost—You get out of school and you have 250,000 dollars in debt and you don’t have the money to start a practice. It’s easier to go work for someone else.
Jared Fisher: Is that what you plan to do when you’re finished at UNLV?
Aaron B: Personally, I don’t love the idea of working for corporate. I think I’d like the freedom of running my own practice.
5 Facts about the Dental Industry and Dental Hygiene in Nevada:
- Nevada ranked 41 in the country for percentage of adults with no dental visits in the previous 12 months. Source.
- 57 percent of Nevada residents with no dental visits in the past year cite “cost” as the reason they do not visit the dentist more frequently. Source.
- 30% of low-income residents in Nevada cite “trouble finding a dentist” as the reason they do not visit the dentist. 16 percent of middle income and 22 percent of higher income Nevadans site “fear” as the reason they do not visit the dentist more. Source.
- There are 54 dentists for every 100,000 people in Nevada. The national average is 64. Source.
- Many Nevadans do not have health insurance. Nevada has one of the lowest rates of insured adults aged 18-64 in the country. Nevada ranks 49. Source.
About Fisher for Nevada: FisherforNevada.com is the official campaign website of Jared Fisher, candidate for Nevada governor in 2018. Jared Fisher is running on a platform that includes a focus clean energy, quality education and a diversified economy. His mission? To build a Healthy Nevada.