What An International Dentist Can Expect On The Day Of The Bench Test

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Due to this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many dental schools have extended their application deadlines for foreign-trained dentists and testing centers are postponing the exam window as well. Many dental schools are adopting novel techniques of testing and interviewing which include conducting everything online. In this article, however, let’s go through the typical bench exam and the day of the bench test.

What To Expect On The Day Of The Bench Test

After receiving invitations, many candidates are clueless about what is expected of them from the bench test, and what a typical bench exam day looks like. In this article, I aim to give you an insight into the bench test for foreign-trained dentists applying to international dentist programs in the United States.

What Is A Bench Test?

The dictionary meaning of a bench test is ‘the critical evaluation of a new or repaired component, device, apparatus, etc, prior to installation to ensure that it is in perfect condition’. The bench test in dentistry for a foreign-trained dentist would mean performing your clinical dentistry skills on a typodont before you actually start practicing them on patients. Basically, the bench test is all about demonstrating ideal preparations on a typodont.

Even though international dentists come from all different kinds of backgrounds, the world of ideal typodont preparations where every tenth of a millimeter matter, is new to most.

Bench exam international dentists

How Does The Bench Exam’s Room Look Like?

The room where the bench test is conducted would include mannequins with a typodont set attached either by magnets or screws. Some dental schools conduct the test on typodont sets attached to just a rod, but this isn’t common. Usually, a box of dental instruments called a cassette and a bur box is placed at your exam station.

Some dental schools require you to bring your own instruments and dental materials but most provide them. Some tests allow you to bring your own materials if you wish. Most of the time expendable items like wooden wedges, cotton rolls, and articulating paper are provided.

Which Type Of Typhodont Set Is Used For The Bench Test?

It’s important to know which typodont is used at the test you will be taking. Most dental schools in the U.S. use either a typodont set from Kilgore International or Columbia. Some schools use Acadental, but this is not common.

You might be wondering how a typodont set makes a difference? The answer to this is:

Typodonts from different companies come with different characteristics. The teeth are made of different materials, which means they respond differently to burs by cutting at different speeds and leaving outlines at different smoothnesses. The anatomy is slightly different too, as is the contact location and tightness with adjacent teeth. All this makes it important to practice on the typodont you’ll be tested on before your test.

A candidate who has been practicing on the same typodont set as asked in the bench test would know about the minute details to take care of. Also, her hands would have been accustomed to that model giving her an edge over the others. It is always best to inquire from prior students or the school itself about the typodont set they would be using to test the candidates.

What Is The Dress Code For The Bench Test?

Usually, the dress code is scrubs or business casual.

If you are using dental loupes, you may bring them to the bench test. Also, candidates are responsible for using their own protective eyeglasses. Disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) is usually provided by the dental schools.

Last Words …

The environment of the Bench Exam can be a bit daunting but remember to focus only on your work. It’s better to start preparing early so that you can stay calm and focused on other things at the time you get the interview call, instead of getting frantic at the last minute.

I’m yet to meet someone who regretted practicing too much, but have met countless candidates that regret starting too late. Your competitors are working on it as well, and how you compare to them matters a lot.

You can easily create a starter bench test kit and start practicing at home.

I hope this article gave you an overview of what the bench test is like. If you want to get prepared for the bench test, check out our bench test preparation course, which is 100% online.

Do let us know if you have any questions about the day of the bench test in the comments below!

Good luck!

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