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Endodontics Residency, Korean Musician

July 30, 2016


No one I know gets more job satisfaction than I do. I make an immediate and often dramatic difference in people’s lives and I love doing so. I delight in turning agonized groans into sighs of relief or in saving teeth and the smiles they create. All my work is useful and satisfying to a degree but I have found that the endodontic work that I have undertaken has been by far the most satisfying in my three years of dentistry. I dearly wish to specialize in this field.

When I first finished dental school, endodontics seemed intriguing, but I enjoyed being able to handle and treat all types of cases. I also wanted to start practicing as soon as possible rather than pursuing more training because money was a practical consideration. After working for years as a general dentist, I now find endodontics incredibly interesting. I find myself reading up on it, I interact with other endodontists, I love what they do and I see myself doing the same. I would gladly give up some income now if it enables me to specialize in endodontics.

My objective is to acquire the skills and knowledge to become an expert practitioner in the field of endodontics to enable me to diagnose and treat complex cases. I hope eventually to open a clinic in a semi-rural, area underserved in this specialty in partnership with my sister who is herself a qualified endodontist. I am a highly trained string musician and find that the digital sensitivity required to play skillfully, is of great assistance in my work especially in endodontic procedure, for instance in accurately establishing the shape of root canals.

Endodontics is my specialty of choice for several reasons. I am mainly attracted because each case is unique, calling for exceptional diagnostic skills and a highly creative and analytical mind to identify and apply optimum solutions. I enjoy the careful planning called for in the specialty and the high level of the control of outcomes. It is also highly satisfying to be able to save teeth rather than remove them.However the most gratifying aspect of the work is in treating patients presenting with high pain levels and being able to relieve that pain and to do so quickly.

As my interest in the field has developed and my hope to specialize has grown, I have acquired as much experience in the field as possible. I have substantial experience in root canal therapies and have had the benefit of being able to obtain the help and advice of my sister about specific endodontic cases that were within my ability to treat.

I am very excited at the prospect of specializing in a field in which there are such frequent advances in techniques and materials and hope to play a part in those developments by assisting in research.

There have been many articles published about pulpal tissue regeneration as a futuristic way of replacing a missing tooth by growing a tooth in a test tube and planting it back. Active research is still undergoing and I would be delighted if able to pursue research in this area during my training.  I already have research experience gained prior to admission to dental school.  I worked in the emergency room doing clinical research and I also worked as a site data manager for National Lung Screening Trial for several years.  I undertook some research too in Nuclear Medicine, in which the topics were observing inflammatory process in gingivae and maxillary sinus using positron emission tomography imaging and establishing a reference for baseline glucose uptake in these anatomical domains. My musical training, which began in early childhood, taught me that patience, dedication and most of all perseverance are a price worth paying for progress in any field. Acquiring these characteristics enabled me to become an excellent musician and I strongly believe that these same characteristics would also enable me to become a successful researcher.

The most inspirational figure in my life is my father who is an orthopedic surgeon in South Korea. His clinic serves a modest community and he often provides his services for working class patients who may be unable to pay for treatment.  He was an exceptional student and could have pursued many professional and academic opportunities that would have been much more lucrative or prestigious but he chose to be a community doctor serving people who need his care. He has instilled in me a strong desire to serve and heal and a respect for patients whatever their cultural or social background. My sister and I will be traveling to South Africa in July to provide dental treatment at an orphanage where the majority of children are HIV positive. I have been fortunate in life and regard it as an obligation to those whose lives have been so difficult to donate time, skills and knowledge, and intend to do so in future.

I genuinely feel that I can ‘add value’ to the program by sharing my professional experience, by bringing research experience and by applying my academic ability, work ethic and professional curiosity together with those highly positive characteristics displayed in acquiring a high degree of musical expertise. If selected, I promise very diligent and enthusiastic participation in the program.

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