As someone who has played soccer for as long as I can remember, I like to think of the clinical environment in dentistry as much like a successful soccer team, achieving the highest level of performance through the cultivation of unity, coupled with a lot of hard work and dedication, team members working together, through seamless, often nonverbal communication to achieve a common goal. Shadowing at a dental clinic, I observed up close and for a sustained period how a team of professionals can operate on the cutting edge of dentistry through innovation that results from constant, dedicated, ongoing education. My values are reflected in the work of the outstanding dental professionals I am now fortunate to know and with whom I have learned. Everything and everyone I have gotten to know in dentistry inspires me and gives me even more confidence that I have made the right decision to give my all to dentistry, lifelong learning, research, and practice.
My experience with oral health is a constant reminder of the importance of education in preventing disease and improving quality of life. Growing up in Belarus, teaching oral care was in short supply, and access to dental care was limited at best. I had little to no understanding of good oral health practices when I was a child, and I suspect that was also true of most, if not all, of my classmates. Within two months of moving to the United States at 14, I had undergone twelve fillings and my first root canal. Already most grateful for the treatment; my dentist's compassion and dedication to his patients were most inspiring. Even though I still struggle with some of the long-term effects of my childhood oral neglect, I am confident that I still have all my teeth today because of his intervention and advice ten years ago.
My most important professional experience has been working at my current position with Apple, where I have learned much about technological advancements and innovation complexities. Many of my customers have disabilities; thus, learning about accessibility features built into their devices can be a game-changer. Similarly, I see dentistry as a quickly developing and innovative professional field with vast opportunities, especially in research. I look forward to extensive engagement with digital dentistry. I find most exciting the way it promises to assist in making the lives of millions of people healthier, particularly those who live in areas with limited dental care resources.
My shadowing experiences fully solidified my desire to become a dentist. I shadowed a periodontist and a general dentist, which helped me better appreciate the vast breadth of dentistry. As someone whose childhood was spent in an environment that did not have adequate access to dental care with no information on oral health provided to the public, I feel compelled to help underserved communities here in the US and in other countries around the world, spending an increasing amount of my time going on missions to help underserved populations and serving at free clinics here in the USA to the extent to which I have time.
I work as a freelance digital designer, requiring much attention to detail, visualization, and manual dexterity. I spend most of my time working with a digital pen and pad, drawing and editing my work, and becoming increasingly meticulous. I have completed more than 300 hours of dental shadowing with a general dentist and a periodontist. I also volunteered at a private medical clinic, assisting with patient care. Working at Apple has helped me appreciate the power of technology to help people, and I want to excel at harnessing the power of technology to the promise of dentistry.
Becoming adept at digital design has made me more excited than ever about giving my all to dentistry, where I can take advantage of my ability with my hands. My mother's family is Ashkenazi Jews, and my father's side is Belorussian. I have been in the US for a decade and am a naturalized citizen. Russian is my first language, and I am also a near-native speaker and writer of English. I plan to seek out some Russian-speaking patients to complement those I speak to in English, as I enjoy the intimacy of treating patients in the language we share as a mother tongue.