Becoming a dentist – a teenager’s perspective
I am a 16-year old student taking science A-levels. Until not long ago I was considering studying dentistry at University and now I know that I DO want to become a dentist. I would like to share with you my recent experiences and thinking that have motivated me even more.
Over the last few decades the value of good dentistry has grown. People have learnt to appreciate that dental hygiene is becoming increasingly important as we not only are living a lot longer but now we all want to keep our own teeth. I cannot even imagine that I could ever wear dentures.
I personally have always been drawn in by a warm, natural smile not just where someone turns up the corners of their lips but a smile that shows off their teeth. Consciously or unconsciously we all judge those around us by the appearance of their teeth; not just how attractive they look but also how healthy they are. We all know that a warm, open simple smile that needs to show teeth is perhaps a human being’s most powerful and emotionally charged gesture.
So I started becoming interested in dentistry as a profession. I wanted to be involved in this important aspect of health care, but also be able to give people beautiful smiles that would make them happy and confident. That is why I want to become a Dentist.
I realised that studying and practicing dentistry would be a very major commitment, so I decided to get some work experience in the little free time I had from school. Disappointingly, I found that many dentists did not seem to have the time or interest in accepting me as an observer.
I really wanted to find somewhere that I would be encouraged and motivated. Therefore, I set out to gain work experience at a top quality practice that was passionate and would help me to understand the reality of being a dentist and break down for me the fundamental qualities needed to become successful in this extremely competitive and dynamic field.
I wanted the ‘right’ kind of practice. I found one and these have been my experiences.
CAP City Dental and the principal, Dr George Druttman, has done for me exactly that and I have been fortunate to be accepted to observe him and his team at work. By attending every week since October 2014, I have learnt about a great variety of procedures, how to treat patients and staff, how to solve problems and how to produce results. Dr Druttman demonstrates a standard of dentistry we should be expecting from our dentists. He incorporates modern technology and the greatest effort in trying to provide as pleasant, relaxing, pain and stress free environment for his patients as possible.
I was really amazed to see the effect his use of ‘relaxing gas’, music in noise cancelling headphones and the warm caring support staff have in handling patients. One of the first patients I observed was a very anxious man, around 35-40 years old. He had said he couldn’t remember the last time he visited the dentist and was extremely nervous. He was given nitrous oxide and noise cancelling headphones, so the patient was comfortable before the treatment began. His gums were really dirty, painful and bleeding . After an hour of gum treatment he came back to normal and when he realised he had a clean mouth and the treatment had been completed without pain, he was so grateful.
I saw another patient that Dr. Druttman had been treating for a number of years. Previously, through lack of dental education and good care the patient’s teeth had become really neglected and he had lost a few front teeth. After a lot of consultation, he trusted Dr Druttman to reconstruct his teeth and smile. He didn’t have an ‘ideal’ income for this but he found ways around it and now has a really healthy mouth and an amazing smile.
I have also seen patients who have experienced some really poor NHS dentistry. It was sad to see, yet encouraging to understand how their problems were able to be solved with the right knowledge, care and attention.
I was amazed to see how clean the teeth were of all of the patients in this practice; I have learnt that being a dentist entails a lot of hard work, patience, dedication to your patients, managing a business and at times it can be very stressful.
Getting to know all the modern technology, the expensive gadgets, instruments and materials makes the modern dental surgery look and feel like a mini hospital. Seeing a successful, highly professional dentist with such high technical and ethical standards at work has really encouraged me to focus on what I want and what I want to become and achieve.
When patients look in the mirror and I see how happy and self-confident they are with their beautiful, healthy smiles. When patients that come in who are afraid and scared and leave relaxed and no longer anxious – those are the things that really turn me onto becoming a top quality dentist.