Thursday, August 20, 2015

PIDC Penang

It's been a long while since my last post on PIDC! I've been back in Penang for over a year now, and am currently halfway through Year 4. Finally decided to update you guys on my experience in PIDC Penang as a student (for prospective students and returning students) and also how the PIDC clinic operates (for those looking for treatment). Unfortunately, I don't have much photos taken for this post. ^^"

If you haven't already, check out my PIDC Salem (India) posts for more on the India side of it.

View of PIDC, Butterworth (multi-story building) from my condo, with Penang Island visible behind. C:

Disclaimer: This post is abit wordy and might not make enough sense to you. Everything written are all personal opinions, so do take them with a pinch of salt! Also, unfortunately, I don't have much photos taken for this post. ^^" Plus, photos are not allowed in the clinics.


PIDC Penang has 6 batches of students, about an average of 220 students at any one time (the other 160 are in India). We occupy floors 18-21 of NB Tower, which is just walking distance from Penang Sentral - the bus station, KTM station, and ferry terminal.

Classes are 8am-5pm (depends on your batch schedule), with minimal theory hours and mostly clinical postings. There are 8 different departments, with lecturers from India. Only our current Dean is a Malaysian. Our lockers are 2 times smaller than the ones in India. We have a library with computers, printing/photocopying service, and minimal textbooks and journals for loan. We have an eportal for PIDC Penang, for downloading lecture notes, getting subject information and other stuff.

We have a laboratory for making appliances such as dentures and orthodontic appliances. There are equipments bunsen burners, trimmers, acryliser, boiling water, vibrator etc., much better than back in India. Also, materials are all supplied (acrylic powder and liquid, wax, acrylic teeth, dental stone, dental plaster...) so you only need your tools! But for typhodont teeth, you're on your own.

In the clinics/laboratory, personal protective equipments (masks, gloves, aprons) are provided, so you don't have to bring the ones from India back here. Most equipments have to prepared by you and sterilised (with help from the nurses) on your own. It's your responsibility to prepare them. Only certain equipments (extraction forceps) and handpieces are provided by the clinic.

On the 3rd floor, is more rooms, staff rooms, student lounge, and also the cafeteria. There are snacks, breakfast and lunch prepared here. Also, 2 vending machines are available.

There are no dormitories. Accommodation is on your own. There are condos (Sea View and Ocean View on Jalan Harbour Place) nearby, where most of the students stay. You may choose to rent a landed unit as well, but safety is a concern (I had seniors who almost had a break-in).

Examination System

We go by year (kinda like public school), not a semester system. We have 3-5 subjects a year, which ends with a Final Examination. There are two Unit Tests and two Models throughout the year (and other assignments, practical work, tests and assessments), which marks are allocated to our Internal Assessment.

Things are more strict back in Penang. If you do not secure:
- 80% Attendance
- At least 35/70 Internal Assessment marks
- At least 40/80 Theory exam
- At least 25/50 Practical exam
You will be barred from appearing at the Final Examination/fail the subject. As usual, failing more half the amount of subjects you're taking means you will be retained, and dropped into your junior batch.

Theory Classes

The following are the subjects taken from year 3-5.

Year 3
Oral Pathology
General Medicine *
General Surgery *
(* practical sessions done in Penang General Hospital)

Year 4
Oral Medicine and Radiology
Community Dentistry

Year 5
Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
General Dentistry *
(* only clinicals)

Every subject has 1 hour theory class a week. But we have 5 hours a year for subjects we will be taking in the following years. (e.g. Year 3 students have 5 hours for all eight Year 4 and Year 5 subjects, Year 4 students have 5 hours of three Year 5 subjects to complete)

Oral Pathology doesn't have clinical postings, but instead has 3 hours practical session a week.
General Medicine and General Surgery are done in Penang GH on the island, where we have a school bus ferrying students there for each session on Thursday and/or Friday.

All lecture notes are uploaded to our eportal. And there are Problem Based Learning (PBL) sessions, about 2-4 sessions a year, that has a video assignment as well.

Clinical Postings

I think this makes life in Penang much more interesting in India. As Year 3-5 students, we get to come into contact and treat real patients! It's almost as if we're working at the PIDC Clinics (except that we don't earn anything and we're paying tuition fees. DX)

Students from each batch are separated into 8 groups according to role number. For 2-3 weeks, we are posted at a department with students from other batches. For Year 5, the batch is separated into 4 groups and are posted at the four Year 5 subjects. We are supervised by the lecturers of those departments, and are required to do a certain treatment, or do pre-clinical practices and other practical works, all having a quota to complete. Other than theory hours, (and practicals for Year 3), we spend the rest of our school hours in the clinics.

Gonna give a little overview of each department and what is expected of you. (trust me, you're expected to know ALOT of stuff, and all lecturers will expect you to know what you're supposed to be doing and the general jist of the subject)

For those interested to visit PIDC Clinic for treatment, please read here as well!

Oral Medicine and Radiology

New patients and returning patients with new complaints will come here first, straight from the registration. Consider this the "General Diagnosis". You will have to ask patients questions and record their case history. Find out what's bugging them, how's the pain, what symptoms they're having. Then do a thorough examination of their extraoral and intraoral status, recording decayed/missing/filled teeth, and other findings. If radiograph is required, we'll have to take them too. After that, diagnose the patient, and send them off to the next department for treatment.


For the realignment of teeth. Usually, the lecturer is the one treating the patients, while we bend wires, make appliances and do other pre-clinical works.

Wire Bending

Orthodontics Appliance (untrimmed)

Impression taking and cast

Community Dentistry

No "clinics" involved. Mostly assignments, how to record indices, doing a presentation for an Oral Health Talk, and joining dental camps for community service.

A health talk done by the Community Dentistry department for senior citizens


For making dentures. We do pretty much the same thing that was done back in India. Making pre-clinical complete denture, special tray and crown preparation exercises. Year 5 students have to take patients, and make custom dentures and crowns.

Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics

a.k.a the Penang version of Operative Dentistry. Involves all restoration/filling of tooth and root canal treatment. Mostly only Year 5 receives all the cases.

Cavity preparation and access opening for Root Canal Treatment (pre-clinicals)

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Tooth extraction and minor oral surgeries such as cyst removals. Mostly Year 5 students do the extractions, while the others observe or assist. There are 2 assignments to be done as well (which involves alot of copy-writing by hand).

Hello dere


Scaling, polishing, curettage and root planing. Mostly scalings. We start with hand scalings first before moving on to ultrasonic scaling.

Pedodontics/Pediatric Dentistry

Involves all and any treatment for a pediatric patient. Meaning, we deal with kids. We do scalings, restorations, extractions, pit and fissure sealants, fluoride application etc. Certain treatment such as pulp therapy is usually done by the lecturer.

General Dentistry

Year 5 clinicals that involves any and all treatment, having to follow up with their patients. Also has pre-clinical exercises of pulpotomy and pulpectomy.

Co-curricular and other Activities

Just like in India, we're lacking in this department. We still don't have a big enough community to have clubs and societies. There are only 2 clubs in PIDC - the Toastmasters and the SCOP (Student Council of PIDC). Other than that, we have sports activities weekly. There's volleyball, futsal, frisbee, basketball, badminton etc. The leader for these "sports clubs" will call for games, and anyone is free to join (even lecturers!). Money is allocated to these clubs, so for courts that need to be booked (futsal, volleyball, badminton), it is subsidised/payed for by the university. There are competitions yearly for the ball games as well.

Other than that, we still have our month-long PIDC Cup! But with much more activities and many added indoor games. It is no longer an interbatch competition. Everyone draw lots and are sorted into 4 teams who battle each other for champion!

PIDC Cup starting off with a Jogathon!

My team last year. Spiderman!

Face Painting (more like a full-blown cosplay competition with costumes, props and skits!)
The finale of the PIDC Cup, which is the most anticipated event

Of course, there's PIDC Night too. Our annual "prom night".

A night to feel glam :P

Other notable events are the Dental Intervarsity Games. This is a sports competition where all dental faculties in Malaysia are allowed to participate. The last games in March, PIDC came in 2nd! :D In 2016, PIDC will be hosting the intervarsity games.

The PIDC team!

I hope this post has given you an overview of what PIDC Penang is like! Personally, I feel more at home (literally) and excited back in Penang. The reality of being a dentist is starting to sink in. Everything we learn and do is starting to show importance to the career we're pursuing.

If you have anything you'd like to know about Penang International Dental College, please feel free to comment on my blog or this post! I will reply you as soon as possible, and give you as much help as I can. :D

Quote of the Day: "Only by allowing strangers in, we can find new ways to BE ourselves." - Joshua, The World Ends With You.


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  2. hello, may i know PIDC is more popular for dental surgeon study or lab technician study? do we need to further our studies in india after the whole 5 years in pidc penang?

    1. Hi Anon! PIDC only provides Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) at the moment, with plans to expand into other fields. The first 2 years in India is compulsory, but there's no need for returning to India after getting your BDS. Compulsory government service will still be local in Malaysia.

  3. Hi, I applied for PIDC Penang 2017 march intake and I got a place, the reason I chose pidc well obviously is because if it's price and I have 5 friends who successfully graduated and got postings, so I know that the Malaysian Dental association recognized this program. I'm hope you could give me some ADVICE on how to survive in INDIA.India definitely wasn't my ideal choice but hey I'm gonna try to make the best of what I get :)

    1. Hello there Anon, an early welcome to PIDC I guess! Unfortunately, won't get to meet you because I'm finishing in March 2017, haha.

      You can check out a post I did long ago for abit insight to India: (the picture links are broken though. I should fix that soon)

      I guess, in general, my advice is to make friends and find hobbies to occupy your time.
      There's really minimal source of entertainment where PIDC Salem is, plus there's probably less than 200 Malaysians in the area whom you can hang out with. Without a close bunch of friends, I think it could make the experience very dull and lonely. How I occupied my time was by:
      1. Doing sports with my friend (I learned 3 new sports!)
      2. Watching anime/drama (which I downloaded beforehand into a hard disk - because internet can be unstable in India)
      3. Games (I don't DOTA. I play mainly handheld games)
      4. Hang out with friends (Since we're all living in a dorm, it can be quite fun knocking on each other's doors, cooking together, etc. :D)
      5. Dancing (I dance at the gym daily. And during my spare time, I learn new dances from YouTube)
      6. Exercise (There's a gym in the hostel so make good use of it. Or go play sports! Or jog!)
      7. Decorate your room (This is a bit weird, but I spent a lot of time personalizing and decorating my workspace in my room. I had motivational quotes, pictures, etc.)

      Not sure if this was the kind of advice you were expecting, but honestly, if it weren't for my friends, it would've been really boring in Salem. Just socialize more, I joined the Christian Fellowship, even though I'm not a Christian. If you're more of a shy person, this is the exact time to get out of your shell. You won't get the same level of "closeness" once you come to Penang, since everyone has their own agenda and is free to roam about with their cars.

    2. To add on, if you're like me, and it's your first time living away from home, you need to be prepared to learn how to do a lot of "housekeeping". Buy your own groceries, cook, laundry, deal with people, etc.

      Also, Indian locals are generally harder to deal with, because they have an entirely different mindset than us. So keep that in mind and be careful. Remember to never piss off any of your lecturers although you know you are right. You can't win the argument 99% of the time, unfortunately.... ^^"

      It's not the ideal situation or location, but do your best to enjoy yourself! Go travelling! :D

      Sorry for the very long reply, haha. I hope it helps. Feel free to ask me any questions and I'll try my best to help you. ^^

    3. Thank you so much for replying me. I really hope you know that I really appreciate you taking the time to give me this advice. Ha ha I know India isn't the most ideal for me to go but just like you I'm going to try my hardest to make the best of it. I wish you the best of luck. Thank you.

    4. You're much welcome! ^^ It won't be easy, but as you said, make the best of it! Keep your spirits up, you'll be ok. =) Thanks! And all the best to you too!

  4. Hi how's the situation in PIDC India now? All these internet problems, language barrier and attitudes of locals and lecturers etc. Is there any improvements? Is it safe for young women to study there considering there are many assaults and violents against foreigners? I'm considering Segi and PIDC for 2017 intake.

    1. Hi Anon! Sorry for the late reply. Unfortunately, I can't comment much on how it is now as I have left India 3 years ago. I would say that attitude is kinda something you'll have to learn how to deal with. Some of these carry on even to the lecturers who are living and teaching in PIDC Penang now. I think language isn't as much of an issue, you should be able to get by with English.

      Other than some cases of molestation near my hostel, there hasn't been any robberies or other types of assaults where and while I was staying there. I'm not sure how Segi is so I won't be able to help you with comparison, but their first batch should be graduating (graduated?) soon so you could consider and look into that. =)

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