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International Dentist Admission, Indian Applicant

I was raised in a ‘medical family.’ My mother is a gynecologist, my father works for a pharmaceutical company, and my uncle is a dentist. When it came to making a career choice, I was torn between medicine and dentistry. My uncle offered me the opportunity to ‘shadow’ him for a time to help me to come to a decision. I found his work to be much more interesting than I had anticipated, and I was drawn by the fact that there were so many aspects to the work; relief of pain, prevention, diagnosis, and esthetic. I was also surprised to discover just how important dental and oral health is in maintaining general health. A winning smile is a priceless asset in any culture but especially so in my own. I was ‘won over’ and have never regretted my decision.

 I attended one of the most prestigious dental colleges in my home area of Karnataka, the JMDS. I was awarded the highest score in my class in my first year and continued to perform well, being in the top 3% of the course. However, in my final year, the second semester, I had to retake two subjects, which badly affected my overall GPA. I admit that I had become a little complacent, having excelled to that point in my studies. I had devoted more time than was wise to the various student societies that I had joined. This has taught me a lesson that I have learned well and now fully appreciate the importance of prioritizing studies before any other activities, no matter how commendable, sound, or enjoyable.

 While at dental college, I undertook voluntary work as an observer and Dental Assistant at a busy dental clinic. I took the opportunity to study the case histories that I helped to maintain, which had a very positive result when, during my posting in Oral Medicine and Radiology, I was able to diagnose an erosive Lichen Planus in a patient, later confirmed histopathologically. My professor was delighted, and so was I!

 I completed a one-year internship during which I performed various dental procedures. I also had the privilege of undertaking voluntary work with orphan children. I provided routine and pedodontic treatments to the children and educated them in oral hygiene. Being exposed to the plight of these children affected me deeply, and I feel a responsibility to do what I can to help them financially and hope, in the future, to provide free clinics for them.

 My first post-degree job was as a full-time dentist in a Dental Hospital. I was very fortunate to be mentored by an inspiring, dedicated, and highly skilled dentist, Dr. XXXX, who taught me a great deal. In addition to much routine work, I treated many patients requiring RTCs and gained an appreciation of the uniqueness of each case because of the complexity of root canals. I also had the opportunity to assist Dr. XXXX with some complex issues, including an advanced case of oral cancer. I feel incredibly fortunate to have gained such comprehensive experience in a relatively short time, which has been very advantageous to me. During this time, I was also an active volunteer with SCOPE (The Society for Cancer in Oral Cavity Prevention through Education).  I participated in camps, screened people, and provided education on the relationship between tobacco use and oral cancer. My involvement resulted in a particular interest in oral cancer, and I hope to undertake research in this area in the future.

 After marriage, I moved to the US and hoped to practice as a dentist here. To learn about the dental environment in this country, I have taken several steps. I obtained a CDA certification from DANB; I attended an XXXX Dental Meeting, during which I participated in several courses, including hands-on training. I also shadowed a dentist, Dr. XXXX; I have observed her dealing with everything from routine cases to highly complex ones and have learned from her diagnostic and analysis approach to issues. I have taken digital x-rays and learned front desk and back-office duties. In addition, I volunteered for a health fair conducted at Sai Baba Temple in North Atlanta. I believe that I now have a good understanding of dentistry as practiced in the US and am very well prepared to pursue studies to enable me to practice in here.

 I know the importance of cultural sensitivity and awareness, especially in health care provision. I have happily interacted with people from various cultural and social backgrounds since I arrived in the US. I enjoy introducing people to my own culture and learning from others about theirs.

 I know that the program will attract many well-qualified applicants. However, I genuinely feel that I am an excellent candidate. I have five years wide-ranging experience that I can share with my class; my academic honors will provide assurance that I am an intelligent and diligent student; my extensive volunteer activity will demonstrate that whilst I want to ‘make a living’, I am also determined to ‘make a difference’ in the world; I also offer the most important thing that any prospective student can bring to the program which is a genuine and heartfelt passion for dentistry and oral health.

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