My initial exposure to dentistry was when I met a family member for the very first time. His discussion of the running of his practice, finances and materials, did at first, sound quite stressful. However, the constant mentioning of the satisfaction he felt as well as the subsequent work experience I took in his practice, allowed me to witness the close and rewarding relationship between dentists and their patients. The constant hustle and bustle of a practice seemed really intriguing to me as well as the expanding sector with a plethora of opportunities and specialisations.
My engrossment in dentistry was shaped further, when I was asked to leave the consultation room and upon returning, the dentist said, “Good that you left, this one was nervous.”I could not understand why the dentist’s chair could be such an anxious situation for some.If you brush your teeth twice a day and floss, what is there to be afraid of? I discussed my confusion with the dentist, whereupon he told me about dental phobias and some support networks available.I wanted to know why people have dental phobias and what can be done to treat them, which lead me to create my EPQ project about it. This project has developed me personally and has given me an insight into the professionalism I will need in the future.Through my charity work and subject knowledge gained from studying positive psychology,I have learnt that techniques such as mindfulness can really help patients.Combined with my patience and empathy, I believe that I possess the characteristics a dentist should have to alleviate the fears of phobic patients.
In order to grasp a better understanding of the clinical skills needed for dentistry and subsequently fuelling my interest for the subject, I actively sought more work experience, participated in workshops and attended voluntary lectures. One of the highlights was being taught how to suture at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and then having the opportunity to witness the skill being applied by a private dentist placing implants. He explained to me that titanium in implants fuse to bone and that its mechanism is a mystery in the dental world. He then furthered my interest in orthodontics by explaining the differences between invisalign and conventional orthodontic appliances, and introduced me to an orthodontic technician who taught me how to bend an Adams crib for removable appliance. Working with a conservative specialist, I was amazed by the different methods of preserving a tooth, from inlays and onlays to bridges and fillings. Bristols’ Sutton Trust Summer School allowed me to demonstrate my skills and confidence gained in A-Level science practicals through participation in biochemistry and pharmacology lab sessions. I was also guided through a patients hospital journey and learnt the importance of each component in NHS team upon patient arrival and post care.
I hold special value for my local radio show I have been hosting weekly for past three years. It has given me confidence to be a well spoken individual. The show has not only taught me how to present, but challenged me to organise and liaise with a diverse variety of people; therefore my interpersonal skills would assist me in such tasks vital to dentistry. In the‘What I learnt this week’ segment of the show, I enjoy discussing new dental advances sourced from the BDA and dentalhealth.org.I take a hands-on approach to any opportunity I am given whether that be helping to organise STEM opportunities at school, leading assemblies as part of my role in the Junior Leadership Team or privately tutoring students.
The motivation and eagerness I possess enables me to accept challenges to strengthen my abilities.I would be a successful dental student as I am hardworking, meticulous and resilient. My enthusiastic nature coupled with compassion and confidence would make me a good and reflective practitioner of dentistry.