Beyond the Drill of Airotar: Dr. Anukrati Srivastava Talks about Exploring Clinical Practice & more

From Root Canals to Research: Dr. Anukrati Srivastava's Path from BDS to MDS
Dr. Anukrati Srivastava, MDS, Government Dental College And Hospital - [GDCH], Jaipur, Rajasthan, India 
Dr. Anukrati Srivastava, MDS, Government Dental College And Hospital - [GDCH], Jaipur, Rajasthan, India (2020-23)

Dr. Anukrati Srivastava is a freelance dental professional who graduated with a BDS from GDC, Jaipur in 2014, and later achieved her MDS in Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics from the same institution in 2020.

Dr. Anukrati's expertise shines through in her recent interview with Dr. Nidhi Arora. Through engaging discussions, she provides valuable insights into various aspects of dental education, specialization, and professional growth. From emphasizing the importance of pre-clinical training as the cornerstone of clinical practice to sharing her experiences with thesis research, Dr. Anukrati's interview offers a comprehensive view of the journey from student to specialist in the field of dentistry.

1. Dr. Nidhi Arora: Dr. Anukrati, walk us through your path in dentistry and shed some light on what drew you to specialize in endodontics.

Dr. Anukrati Srivastava: It started when I was doing my internship. Endodontics is a department where you learn something new during your internship, you start doing your root canal, and you start encountering people with a lot of pain, a lot of agony, lots of discomfort and a simple act of draining out the infection makes patient so much more comfortable and take out patient from agony, it made me satisfied that act of providing relief to my patient. We had a great OPD in GDC Jaipur and by the end of the day I used to just go and sleep like a baby, that satisfied me during my final year and that should be the goal to sleep satisfied and tired.

 Then later on when I started doing RCT I found out that endodontics is more than opening and removing the pulp, our seniors and teachers showed us what more it had to offer. It is a very graceful branch.

As you put effort into it, gives you back threefold. You put in new things you try new things, you try new file systems, you try new sealers, you try new irrigants, and each day it rewards you with better results.

2. Dr.Nidhi Arora: what does conservative and endo entail?

Dr. Anukrati Srivastava: Conservative includes a lot of restoration direct and indirect, direct restoration are CLASS I, CLASS II &CLASS IV whereas in indirect there are inlays and onlays, partial crowns, good class II prep, Post and core there is also aesthetic dentistry.

Endo consists of simple nonsurgical RCT, endodontic surgeries, management of complex root anatomy, vital pulp therapy, multidisciplinary approach towards pulpal diseases like Endo Perio, peri radicular diseases, and a very important aspect of endo is diagnosis.

3. Dr.Nidhi Arora: "In the first six months of the MDS program, students undergo pre-clinical training. Can you describe this phase?

Dr. Anukrati Srivastava: 1st six months are very important if you say they are stepping stones for the next three years, doing pre-clinicals is the best way to learn any new procedure.

Dr. Anukrati attending an endo workshop.
Dr. Anukrati attending an endo workshop.

4. Dr. Nidhi Arora: In what ways classroom learning method different in MDS as compared to BDS?

Dr. Anukrati Srivastava: Learning method in MDS is quite different from BDS. In BDS I was just studying to give answers to a set of questions that were asked in last year's question papers plus there was no one to question you as to where you read this or what are your references but in MDS everything as to be evidence and reference-based, keeping up with recent advancements in addition to your basics. In MDS you are constantly reading articles, plus authentic books, you read your article then refer to your book.

5. Dr. Nidhi Arora: Tell us something about the thesis during MDS what all goes behind that thesis?

 Dr. Anukrati Srivastava: The thesis can be divided into either invitro or invivo. Invivo studies have more value and are picked up easily for publications. Mine was invitro. The materials you are using for your thesis should be as advance as they could be, sample size should be manageable, the topic of research should be relevant to present time.

6. Dr. Nidhi Arora: What are the key components involved in developing and presenting research papers during your postgraduate studies?

Dr. Anukrati Srivastava: When presenting research papers and presentations:

a) put less text and more visuals

b) presentation is not to tell how well you know a topic it is more about how well you can explain it for e.g. if I want to talk about working length determination, I must have read a lot about this topic, but my job is to simply it and make other people understand about it in less time.

7. Dr. Nidhi Arora: When preparing for the NEET MDS exam, candidates often encounter a vast syllabus encompassing both clinical and non-clinical subjects. In your experience, which subjects or portions of the syllabus would you recommend candidates prioritize during their preparation?

Dr. Anukrati Srivastava: The exam has 240 questions asked from 19 subjects, and each subject has equal weightage. For example, the big subjects like general medicine and general surgery together have 30 questions out of 240 which is a big number, now a lot of students won’t focus on medical subjects but when you look into 30 questions each carrying 4 marks now, they will make a big difference.

 My strategies were, I used to start with physio, then path followed by medicine and pharma. Then general ant and general surgery could go hand in hand. So, if you take these subjects one after another or side by side, you start connecting the links plus the questions start repeating which helps in revision and starts making sense.

Then comes your clinical subjects, I would suggest keeping an eye on the latest technologies, especially in prosthodontics, oral surgery and implantology.

Your basics should be clear the diagnosis, clinical feature and treatment plan.

 8. Dr. Nidhi Arora: As a high scorer in NEET MDS, did you prioritize certain subjects or topics over others during your preparation, or did you aim for a more balanced approach across all subjects? Can you share your rationale behind your study strategy?

Dr. Anukrati Srivastava: My strategy was to go deep in subjects I used to find tough, so I used to spend extra time on subjects like pharma, general medicine, and prosthodontics these subjects require multiple revisions.

9. Dr.Nidhi Arora: As someone who scored exceptionally well in NEET MDS (97 AIR), what advice do you have for students aiming for similar success in their exams?

Dr. Anukrati Srivastava: Here are a few points I would like you guys to have at your disposal-

a) The sooner you start the better. You either start in your 3rd year or internship, 4th year is a bit hectic that’s why do not start in your final year. The third year is a good time to start because you have a lot of time and an internship is also the best time.

b)  Keep a very clear goal in your mind this exam can’t be excelled with half heart. Try to give it as much time as you can, it is not something you can do on weekends and excel in it. Somebody asked me how much time I used to give, I used to invest as much time as I could throughout the year during my internship, if I used to get 5 hours, I used to study for 5 hours, if 3 hours then 3.

c) After you put all your efforts into it, you will fall in love with dentistry. Because reading for NEET MDS brings reasoning into why you are doing, what you are doing. Before this you were just practicing, a case was assigned, and the patient comes you do IPC or DPC you don’t know why you are doing it, what are indications, what are contraindications, what is the rationale.

d) If you don’t have any guidance, I would suggest you join a coaching, I would suggest an offline class but if you don’t have one then go for online coaching but do join one where you can have one-on-one interaction with the teacher. It should not be just the videos where one is teaching; it should be something where you can discuss your problems, your MCQs your queries.

e) Ask as many questions as you can. To your teacher, senior, or even me if you want.

For one who asks questions is a fool for once, but a person who doesn't question is a fool for life.

f) Don’t get stuck with too old questions, don’t go hours searching for Ans on amalgam nobody is asking questions on amalgam these days. So don’t invest so much time in the last 20 years questions things are evolving, and questions are evolving yes you can go for last 10 year but not beyond that.

g) Keep notes of your subject and keep a lot of spaces between those to add questions that are not in your notes, you can add reasoning for those questions there.

Whatever you do the entire year comes down to preparation in the last days.

Keep in mind you have to learn your subjects the entire year so you can revise them all in the last 20 days.

h) Do a lot of questions. I see most people making a mistake by crabbing questions don’t do that questions are there to make sure that no topic is left untouched.

Dr. Anukrati conducted Q&A session before NEET MDS on her Instagram page.
Dr. Anukrati conducted Q&A session before NEET MDS on her Instagram page.

10. Dr. Nidhi Arora: How do you tailor your content and guidance to support dental students throughout their academic journey?

Dr. Anukrati Srivastava: I) For dental students I do a lot of Q&A about common questions even simple questions like scaling, class I, class II, about materials so that it gives them an open channel without being judged.

II) Then I talk about a lot of mistakes to avoid during studying and giving these exams.

III) I discuss about approach towards MCQs and now since counseling is going to start, I will make content on how to choose your department, and college.

IV) For UG students I try to inspire them and make them love dentistry and with that, I try to convince them to make the most of those 4 years. I try to tell them in which year they should be their focus for example during my 3rd year I joined a clinic during evening hours, and it gave me perspective about a lot of things that I had no idea about initially like how the private setup is different from government setup and how you approach a patient.

11. Dr. Nidhi Arora: In addition to academic success, what other aspects of dental education do you emphasize in your content for undergraduate students?

Dr. Anukrati Srivastava: My Instagram page was not meant to share my academic success because it was long in my past. Our dental education in our curriculum is very different from clinical dentistry and I realized when I joined my masters, that not everybody can do a masters course in a particular department, but you still have to learn about conservative dentistry, and they deserve to know.

So, I decided to open this account to educate people about that, and I focused on expanding once outlook toward dentistry. I want people to educate themselves about newer techniques and discard old habits, introducing the latest instruments in their practice and I want to be that medium.

Then I share new books, the classic books, the classic articles which clears your basic knowledge. Then I like to share how to communicate with patients because this is another concept that I learned after I finished my masters course, you know how to empathize with a patient.

Then another important thing is building a community of different specialties and doing free discussions for example I recently did a post on mucosal fenestration and one of the periodontists told me that this could have been done even more minimally, that discussion was very eye-opening.

 Then recently I did a poll and asked people has dentistry had given you what they expected, surprisingly more than 50% of people said NO and that was a bit heartbreaking and via my channel, I am trying to make people fall in love with dentistry.

12. Dr. Nidhi Arora: Can you discuss the importance of networking and how to do it?

Dr. Anukrati Srivastava: Let’s talk about this in reverse since most students don’t know how clinical dentistry works and what is the end goal.

So, the end goal for most dentists is to have their own multispecialty clinic with a good team, a new inflow of patients, and with latest technology. Now how you do it, either you hire a consultant, or you learn these additional skills via hands-on workshops. To implement this, you need to know and connect to people, institutes, and what they are offering abroad, and for this, you need to network.

Now networking plays an important role you will need to know about consultants in your city, and hands-on workshops conducted in and around your city. Then new inflow of patients and how to get new patients can be done when you show your presence both online and offline, you have to put yourself out there to show the world what you have to offer them.

Dr. Anukrati making an  effort to build her network.
Dr. Anukrati making an effort to build her network.

13. Dr. Nidhi Arora: Looking back on your own experience as a dental student, what do you wish you had known or done differently? Any, mistakes that you made during the UG and PG program that you wish your audience would not make?

Dr. Anukrati Srivastava: I think one of the mistakes I made was not networking enough with my seniors and professors, when you connect with people there is a lot you can learn from your colleague, during after-hours or after your postings.

During PG I think I should have invested more time in learning newer techniques via workshops, and courses so that I could have implemented them under the supervision of my seniors and professors plus with a huge patient flow.

Dr. Anukrati in her clinical practice.
Dr. Anukrati in her clinical practice.

14. Dr. Nidhi Arora: Looking ahead, what initiatives or projects do you have planned for further dental in your academic and professional pursuits?

Dr. Anukrati Srivastava: In the future, I am looking forward to getting some board certification, credentials, and maybe a fellowship I have to expand my knowledge and settle my own private practice.

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