Almaz Dentistry Now and Then (2 Year Anniversary)

I can’t believe it is already two years later! When I started this project, I had no idea how ambitious the idea of an all encompassing pre-dental resource was. I expected to run out of content 20-30 posts in, but two years and 44 posts later, I am not even half way through the material I plan to cover. This project has been something that has reshaped my passion for pre-dental mentoring. I plan to continue providing information to the community for years to come as I am nearing the transition into dental school. In dental school, I hope to be part of a pre-dental committee focused on helping students in high school and college achieve their dreams of becoming a dentist. Getting into dental school is a long and challenging process, but in the end it is worth it, trust me!

With that said, our community has grown tremendously over the past year. Here are some stats from the website!

  • Visits: 10,320
  • Unique Visitors: 8,884
  • Pageviews: 25,751
  • Reach: 111 Countries (See below)


I am absolutely amazed at the response and love receiving messages from all of you. Please continue to send me messages through Ask Elias.

Tips Website

SmileTrain Virtual Surgery Simulator

SmileTrain recently partnered with BioDigital Human to create a free of charge Virtual Surgery Simulator for dental/medical professionals. For those that do not know already, SmileTrain is an organization focused on finding children in developing countries who are suffering from either cleft lip or cleft palate disorders. Living with one of these disorders can be very difficult as many of these kids have trouble eating, sleeping, and living without public ridicule and isolation. SmileTrain along with their partners worldwide have worked to make cleft lip and left palate disorders a thing of the past so that these children can grow up and be part of society. To date, SmileTrain has provided 975 THOUSAND smiles and have managed to achieve these life changing surgeries for a mere $250 dollars. If you would like to learn more about the organization and how to donate, visit their website.

The primary goal of the SmileTrain Virtual Surgery Simulator is to provide professionals word wide with a tool for proper cleft lip and cleft palate surgery. In the developing world, cleft surgeons often do not have access to the latest techniques and updated protocols for cleft surgery. Lacking access to such knowledge and materials can be a barrier to continuing education and quality improvement. A free online resource easily accessible to anyone with a computer allows for an effective distribution of knowledge.

Cleft Surgery Simulation

This tool is also a great resource for pre-dental students who are interested in complicated cases such as cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries. You can follow along with the interactive animated 3D procedures as a surgeon narrates each step. It is an eye opening experience to see the technicality of the procedure and the importance of doing it properly to minimize facial deformity and maximize functionality. This free resource also includes highly detailed 3D models for facial anatomy as well as live surgery footage as you follow along.

BioDigital Human creates EXTREMELY comprehensive 3D anatomy models covering every human system and hundreds of conditions from abdominal pain and acne to Wilms’ Tumor and Wrist Injuries and Disorders. I cannot emphasize how detailed their models are, you will just have to check them out for yourself. For example, in the screenshot below, I enabled the entire nervous system along with the addition of the maxillary bone with teeth and mandible with teeth. BioDigital Human’s anatomy models are an excellent supplement for an anatomy class during your pre-dental career. This resource is free for educational use.

Nervous System with Selective Skeletal System

You will have to register to use either online tool, but it is well worth it! Please take the time to check this out!


Try out the SmileTrain Virtual Surgery Simulator Now!

AADSAS Application Advice Dental Assistant Dental School Portfolio Tips Website

UCSF Caries Management by Risk Assessment (CAMBRA) FREE Online Course + Signature Track Giveaway

UCSF200UCSF is once again offering their free online course about Caries Management by Risk Assessment (CAMBRA) to those interested in dental hygiene and a more modern approach of preventative dentistry. Dr. Featherstone, the Dean of UCSF School of Dentistry, teaches the concepts of CAMBRA which he developed over the past few decades over a 6 week online course through the popular website

This course will provide the scientific basis for caries (dental decay) risk assessment and practice interventions. You will immediately be able to apply “caries management by risk assessment” into your clinical setting or into your personal health care.

This will be the second time the course is offered and best of all it is FREE for the standard version! There are several optional pay grades such as the verified certificate through Signature Track and/or 12 continuing education credits for the state of California.

I enrolled in the first session of this course back in October 2013 and overall it was very informative and a fun change of pace from your typical college curriculum. Dr. Featherstone does his best to keep you entertained by talking about his adventures around the world between each segment. I opted into the verified certificate  and verification page (Signature Track) so that it can be added to my online profiles such as LinkedIn. You can view my verification page here if interested in learning more about this option offers. A verified certificate (optional) currently costs $69 dollars. I am hosting a giveaway for one free Signature Track course. The giveaway details are at the end of this post!

The course will begin on March 31st and run through May 9th. The course requires 4-6 hours per week in order to watch the lectures, read the material, complete the online multiple choice quizzes, and answer the prompts. I think it is a great opportunity for pre-dental students and an excellent achievement to place on your application for dental school. The course covers the following topics:

Week 1:

  • Understand what dental caries is
  • Understand the concept of the caries balance
  • Know the three principal pathological factors of caries formation
  • Understand that multiple bacterial species are responsible for dental caries
  • Understand the role of frequent ingestion of fermentable carbohydrates in dental caries
  • Recognize hyposalivation, how this occurs, and its importance in caries progression

Week 2:

  • Refine the concept of the caries balance
  • Know and understand the multiple caries protective components in saliva
  • Understand demineralization and the role of fluoride
  • Understand remineralization and the role of fluoride

Week 3:

  • Understand remineralization and the role of fluoride
  • Understand how fluoride interacts with cariogenic bacteria
  • Know the three main mechanisms of action of fluoride
  • Know about fluoride toothpastes and fluoride mouthrinses

Week 4:

  • Know about fluoride products for the dental office and for home use by prescription
  • Know why high concentration fluoride products are used for high caries risk individuals
  • Know the antibacterial products currently available for caries control
  • Understand the root caries process including similarities and differences with coronal caries

Week 5: 

  • Understand the distinction among disease indicators, pathological (biological risk) factors, and protective factors
  • Know that the CAMBRA risk assessment method is validated in clinical use in thousands of patients for 6 years through adult
  • Know the bacterial assessment methods
  • Understand the sequence for the entire CAMBRA method

Week 6:

  • Know how to assess caries risk for an individual as low, moderate, high, or extreme
  • Know the currently recommended chemical therapy for patients at low, moderate, high, or extreme risk
  • To study numerous examples of risk assessment and therapy and how to build this into the treatment plan
  • Understand the differences between risk assessment for young children, older children, and adults

Learn more about the course and register at


I am raffling off a Signature Track Course ($69 dollar value) to somebody on this website who fills out the Ask Elias form and attaches their confirmation page for the CAMBRA course. From all the entries, a random drawing will decide the winner! The form will only accept the following file types .doc|.docx|.pub|.pdf|.png|.jpg|.jpeg (limited for website security). If you are having difficulty with the attachment, submit the form without the file so I can contact you.

The raffle ends January 31st, 2014 and the winner will be announced shortly after!


Recent Downtime

I apologize for the recent downtime. Something went horribly wrong with my server and I lost the past two months of content. Recovery is still being attempted however unlikely. A backup of the website is currently being hosted on a new server. Sorry for any inconvenience. If you experience any issues please contact me through the Ask Elias form. Thank you!



Two articles have been restored! More are pending!

AADSAS Application Advice Background Information Dental School Tips

Complete AADSAS Application Picture Guide

aadsas_logoA concern for many people anxious to apply for dental school is the AADSAS application. For most, it is the first time they are using the application and the lack of guidance makes it difficult to prepare for in advance. Right before the application opens, confusion and misinformation can be seen throughout club conversations and online communities such as due to the ambiguity by the ADEA. Because of this, I have been collecting each component of the AADSAS application as part of a project to create the most comprehensive picture guide of the AADSAS Application. I hope others will find this tool useful to becoming familiar with the application before the application opens and for others to see how future components of the application will appear during the cycle.

The AADSAS Picture Guide v1.0 includes screenshots from the following AADSAS Application processes:

AADSAS Account Creation, AADSAS Notifications/Messages, Application Home Page, Background + Family Information, Disadvantaged Status, High School Information, College + Coursework Information, Sample Matching Forms, DAT Score Reporting, Academic Enrichment Programs, Awards/Honors/Scholarships, Dentistry Experience, Extracurricular/Volunteer/Community Service Experience, Research Experience, Work Experience, Personal Statement, Evaluators (Letters of Recommendation), Release Statements, Dental School Designations, Submission Checklist, Final Submission, Payment, GPA Calculations, Individual Dental School Application Status Updates, Individual Dental School Decisions, Official DAT Scores, Background Check, and the Fee Assistance Program.

As you can see, this has been an ongoing project for the past 6 months as I have experienced the application process. I hope others find it useful in preparing for a future cycle. Future revisions of this document will include annotations and tips as well as other components of the application such as the mysterious and poorly explained AADSAS Holistic Cover Sheet that every new applicant finds confusing. Future revisions will be found on the Pre-Dental Ultimate Resource List.

After going through this lengthy process, I cannot stress enough how much preparing for the application in advance helps for those applying early. I highly encourage keeping track of your AADSAS GPA throughout your education using the calculator I posted earlier this year. The calculator mimics the calculations done by AADSAS by using the unique AADSAS GPA rules and will report every GPA that will appear on your final application. On occasion, the calculation done by AADSAS can contain errors and keeping track of your own AADSAS GPA makes spotting these errors easy. A friend of mine recently helped to update the AADSAS GPA Calculator specifically for quarter systems and now includes a complete course subject listing  to help classify each course on your transcript into an AADSAS Category. The original calculator designed primarily for semester systems can still be downloaded here.

More than ever, I highly encourage using the fillable application created earlier this year to save time when filling out the real application. This document will help you figure out how to perfect the content of your application by holding you to the same character limits of the real application, a challenge of its own.

Happy Holidays!