Indian Application, Prosthodontics Experience

One of my most definitive moments as a dentist and a human being took place the day that a frail old man walked through the door of our dental clinic in India, covering his cheek with a piece of dirty cloth, the excruciating agony written all over his face. First, I saw the horrified look on the faces of my fellow interns. Then, I saw the gaping hole in his cheek, passing through the mandible into the oral cavity exposing the postero-lateral part of the toungue.  The right side of his mandible was infested with maggots and he was suffering from osteoradionecrosis. I stepped foward and calmly reassured the man that his problem will be taken care of and set to work patiently and calmly removing the maggots one after the other. At the end of his treatment, the patient grasped my hand with tears welling up in his eyes and he thanked me. At that moment, I knew who I was and I was so very thankful that I had become a dentist.

I thought that the dentist was someone who primarily made my grandmother’s dentures until I became a patient myself as a little girl growing up. I took special note early on of the sophisticated intricacy of the dentistry and the way it is held in an almost mystical esteem by patients and their families. Along with doctors, dentists are especially revered in my native India which was one of the reasons that I made this career choice. As an adolescent, I began reading everything that I could find about dentistry because it was my first choice, my career dream throughout that dynamic and delicate period. In the year or so prior to beginning my own university career, in particular, I went to the dental college and just hung out there, speaking with anyone and everyone who would take the time to talk to me, including a few professors.

From the beginning, I was mesmerized by all the different facets of dental care. And I also became engaged with dentistry early on in the context of public health campaigns, taking special note of the efforts that I observed by dental professionals as I was growing up to provide basic information about the importance of hygiene. My country, India, is famous for its masses of poor. And those of us who have become professionals in the service of our community feel a special responsibility in my country to provide outreach to those who are in most desperate need of our efforts. I hope to return to India at some point in my career to organize dental camps in areas where little to no dental care is available for low income patients.

I was admitted to dental school on the basis of academic merit. That day, holding the letter of acceptance in my hand, was the happiest day of my life. My mother was very proud of me and very supportive as well. As a single parent who always worked extremely hard to help me advance in my education, it was a triumph for her as well. I did find my first year of dental school to be especially challenging. I was particularly, pleased, therefore, to see my grades steadily improving throughout the course of the program. The solid 'A' grade that I received on my pre-clinical Prosthodontics exam was especially gratifying since the the examiner was impressed with my work and told me that I would make a great professional. I was known for my exceptional skill at cavity preparations, which I see as an art form and something that I have worked hard to constantly improve. By my third year of dental school, I was performing at the top of my class, something which was recognized by the dean of the program.

I attribute my success in dental school to my ability to manage stress and to multitask. Highly refined time management skills, in particular, were of instrumental importance in my ability to be highly successful in my internship as a general dentist in a multidisciplinary clinic where I spent 2 years immidiately after graduating. I am very grateful to this day for the vast amount of hands-on experience that I accrued in this position with such a broad diversity of cases, since our patient pool was huge.

My clinical posting in Prosthodontics was something that I found especially rewarding. One patient, in particular, stands out in my mind. He had an upper single complete denture and a lower partial denture. I worked very hard to get the occlusion off. I also performed numerous difficult and most challenging root canals which further enhanced my confidence in the excellence of my work. At this time, I began to realize that I had a special passion for Endodontics as well. Throughout dental school and later throughout my internship, I participated in many dental camps conducted in schools and remote parts of the country. In fact, my volunteer service is perhaps the single most important part of my identity as a dentist. As part of a community health program, I led an orthodontics project  with a team of four other interns, completing our project on time according to our schedule. My attendance at the annual Indian Dental Conference was also an invaluable learning experience; seminars, symposiums and presentations were given by dental professionals from all over India. I also attended the International Trade Fair at the conference, helping to expose me to state-of-the-art dental technology and equipment. Being multi-lingual has helped me to communicate well with a wide range of patients and better understand their needs.

I relax through music and won first prize for the Ikebana competition while in dental school. I enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes and I stay fit through tennis. My husband is very supportive of my quest to return to dental school here in America. I thank you for considering my application.

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