Growing up in a low-middle-income family in Egypt, a developing country where dental health care is mostly only available for the rich, I know exactly the difference a dentist can make. This difference is ultimately the driving force behind my desire to pursue a career in dentistry. The first time I ever experienced this difference was when I took my very first trip to a dentist, several weeks after arriving in the United States. I have had several cavities, but only one bothered me much, as it was at the front of my mouth. It made me very insecure and left me in pain every time I wanted to smile; in fact, I would often hide my smile so no one would see the cavity. I regained my self-confidence after the tooth was treated, and that was the first time I realized the difference a dentist can make. It was also the first time I considered becoming a dentist.
Not too long after, my mom got a serious infection in her previously done root canal and her face became very swollen. She needed to get that root canal removed and redone. However, her dentist couldn't work on it immediately since an insurance approval had to be confirmed first. The situation kept getting worse; she was in a lot of pain, and medication didn't help much. After a few phone calls, I was able to schedule her for an appointment at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, where they started the procedure the same day. As soon as my mom stepped through the doors, I felt very relieved and had faith she was in good hands. During the time of her appointment, I could only imagine myself in the dentist's shoes, helping to relieve the pain of a patient as well as her very worried son. As I was sitting down watching the massive details it took to perform this work of art closely, I was very intrigued. This fascination, along with the massive respect I built as my mom felt better, elevated my desire to pursue the art of dentistry.
My desire for dentistry turned into passion later when I participated in the Summer Health Profession and Education program (SHPEP) the summer of my sophomore year. In this program, I was exposed to the different health professions, including Pharmacy, Dentistry, and Medicine. I gained knowledge of the field of dentistry and found my true passion for it as I got to work with my own hands doing simple procedures like taking a tooth impression. I got the opportunity to watch intense procedures like wisdom tooth extraction and implants done by professional surgeons, which added to my excitement about becoming a dentist. The experience was full when I got to make connections with 3rd and 4th year students who were absolutely welcoming. They further encouraged me and gave me insights into the field and how to be successful in it.
My passion for dentistry then turned into a goal when I started shadowing a dentist at a local clinic as well as a hospital's endodontic clinic. Shadowing on a weekly basis has made dentistry a part of my life, and my passion for it has grown so that I have set it as my ultimate goal in life. Shadowing also opened my eyes to the many characteristics that a dentist must possess, one of which is good communications skills in order to comfort and gain the patient's trust. Of the many patients that I saw receive treatment, each had their own unique story. What they all shared in common, however, was their happiness after getting their smiles back, as well their definite respect for the dentist who treated them. This deeply convicted me to take on my mission of becoming a dentist and serving patients with disadvantaged oral health, as I found the end result very rewarding. My unique position as someone who has experienced how a lack of dental care can impact the population further drives me to work with those who might not otherwise receive the care they need.
As an individual with a strong work ethic, a desire for learning, a passion for improving the lives of patients, good hand-eye coordination and excellent communication skills, I am confident I have the qualities to be a successful dentist in the future. I know that I could bring a new perspective to dentistry as someone who has experience with another country's healthcare system and believe that I can make great contributions to the field through efficient and compassionate care.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Rutgers University-Newark - Bachelor in Arts, Biology, General
Graduate Degree: Rutgers dental medicine - Doctor of Medical Dentistry, Predentistry