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Orthodontics Residency, Masters, American

My initial interest in dentistry was stirred when I became aware of the work of ‘Operation Smile,’ a team of oral surgeons who provide free cleft lip and palate surgeries for children worldwide—seeing the ‘before’ and ‘after’ images aroused an interest in Orthodontics at the very start of my ‘professional journey’ which has never left me. I became a dentist to make a positive difference in patients’ lives, and I already feel that I have succeeded to some degree. Seeing grimaces of pain turn to smiles of relief, while extracting teeth, in underserved communities in the Philippines, provided great satisfaction and indeed confirmed me in my choice of career.

I now seek to acquire the specialist skills and knowledge of Orthodontics to maximize my usefulness. I want to be a specialist who can undertake the treatments that provide the dramatic changes in appearance and confidence in patients that I have witnessed before and during my training. I am also excited at the prospect of working in a field in which new techniques and materials are being so rapidly developed, and I hope to play a part in further advances in the area. I have sought as much exposure to the specialty as possible during my training. My goal is to be a member of a cleft and craniofacial team working in a private practice and perhaps part-time in a children’s hospital.

I have been involved in various outreach programs and free clinics as a student dentist. I have worked with the homeless and refugees in the US and with those unable to afford dental treatment abroad. I have provided essential medicines, delivered oral hygiene education, and assisted with surgery. I see the continuation of voluntary work as an obligation rather than a choice, having been so personally fortunate in life. I would love the opportunity to give some of my time and skills to a project such as ‘Operation Smile’ in the future. Still, I will certainly continue to undertake voluntary work, whatever my professional future is to be.

I am aware that particular skills and characteristics are called for in this specialty, such as critical thinking, planning skills and an awareness of the need for cross-disciplinary cooperation as well as an ability to communicate technical and complex matters in simple language to patients and their families and to listen with care and genuine empathy to their concerns.  I am also conscious that patients will naturally seek a specialist with whom they can place exceptional levels of confidence and trust in situations where long and complex treatments may arise. I am confident that I have such skills and characteristics and the potential to develop them further to become a first-class specialist.

My degree results will assure a high level of academic ability and potential based on a solid work ethic and a high degree of determination to achieve challenging goals. Being selected to act as ‘peer tutor’ to first-year students during the last year of my training is an example of the confidence shown in me by my teachers and in my technical knowledge and ability to communicate it effectively. I also volunteered to tutor a visiting Korean researcher in English. I have greatly enjoyed these teaching experiences and hope that, once I have sufficient experience, I shall find an opportunity to share Orthodontic skills and knowledge with future students who are as enthusiastic about learning as I am now.

I get on quickly with others and particularly enjoy the company of children and adolescents. I have happily studied, worked, and socialized with people of many social and cultural backgrounds. I am fascinated with new cultures and places and am well-traveled, having visited nine countries in Europe, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australasia. I hope to be able to revisit some of these countries and to visit others. I cannot claim any excellent language skills, but I do speak some French and hope to have time to improve this in the future.

I seek to be a ‘well-rounded’ person and recognize that it is essential for those in a pressured and demanding working environment to be able to ‘switch’ effectively from work to recreation modes. I have several hobbies and pastimes. I enjoy the outdoor life – I like to hike, backpack, snowboard, and water ski and am looking forward to trying new outdoor activities, for example, kayaking. I play soccer, and I paint and sculpt, admittedly with more enthusiasm than success. I also recently took up playing the ukulele, which is not only great fun but will provide the helpful side-effect of enhancing and maintaining a high degree of manual dexterity.

I can assure the reader that I shall apply myself with exceptional diligence, determination, and commitment to the program, if selected. I am confident that I have the foundational skills and characteristics, together with a genuine and long held passion for the specialty, which will enable me to excel in the program and to become a significant asset to the specialty in my future career.

Thank you for considering my application.

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