I was determined to make a difference rather than merely make a living. In dentistry, I have found an excellent way of fulfilling that ambition. My practical training in India was undertaken in rural villages, prisons, and other institutions. I found great satisfaction in turning grimaces of pain into smiles of relief and gratitude. I am also very excited to be part of a profession in which techniques and materials are advancing so rapidly for the benefit of patients. I have never regretted my decision to enter dentistry and now seek the skills and knowledge to enable me to practice here in the USA.
I graduated, in 2010, from the prestigious Oxford Dental College, Bangalore, India, which has first-class facilities and provides excellent, comprehensive dental training. It has been awarded the highest possible government accreditation for dental training, and entry is highly competitive. Our training included treating rurally based patients at ‘Dental Camps’ working from mobile dental clinics. I was exposed to an extensive range of dental conditions during my training, treating patients of all ages and imparting dental and oral hygiene education. This exposure has taught me the importance of applying great care in the diagnosis and acquiring and developing this skill to the highest possible degree. The mobile clinic method of reaching patients who would otherwise have gone untreated appeals to me a great deal and I look forward to additional service in this area.
After graduation, I worked as a dentist in two clinics in India for nearly two years. During this time, I extended my experience by undertaking procedures like root canal treatments, crown preparation; composite and amalgam restoration; complete and removable prosthesis preparation, and treatment planning. I also gained experience in clinic financial management and overseeing laboratory work.
Since coming to the U.S. in 2012, I have qualified and worked as a Dental Assistant. This has provided me with an understanding of the U.S. dental ‘environment’ and allowed me to observe the techniques used by excellent and dedicated dentists. This has also provided me with insight concerning the perspective of the dental assistant and the importance of their role. I have worked as a Dental Assistant for a dentist who uses a mobile clinic to treat the residents of nursing homes in Texas and have thoroughly enjoyed this experience. Taking the clinic to the patient seems to be an excellent way of providing treatment to underserved rural communities, and it is my intention, once qualified to work in the U.S., to operate such a clinic here. I also hope to be able to assist Indian dentists in setting up mobile clinics for rural and isolated communities back home. I intend to spend some time each year providing free work in India throughout my career.
I have also been able to ‘shadow’ an expert dentist in the U.S. who has generously given significant time to my extended informal training in the U.S. I have also attended dental conferences and extensive reading of professional journals to keep abreast of current developments in such a fast-changing professional environment.
Before coming to this country, my impression was that the kind of problems I had seen in India would have been relatively rare. I was surprised to discover that neglect of dental health and consequent issues are widespread. I would be interested in assisting in research to identify the most effective ways of educating people in adopting and maintaining a good hygiene regime. I have become aware that there are cultural differences in attitudes and that immigrant populations here tend to have the same attitude toward dental health as prevailing in their countries of origin. So perhaps the ‘targeting’ of educational resources to those populations where the most pronounced problems are imparting may be worth consideration.
I know that technical competence alone is not sufficient; it is vital to possess the characteristics that create confidence and trust in patients, especially where complex treatments are necessary. I have happily interacted professionally and socially with people of many ethnic and social backgrounds. I enjoy sharing knowledge of my own culture and learning about others. I get on quickly with colleagues and patients. I am fluent in English, Hindi, Malayalam, and Kannada and have limited fluency in Telugu and Tamil. I took an active role in extra-curricular activities in Dental School and was elected Secretary of the Sports Society, and held various other offices related to culture and sport.
To summarize, I believe that my excellent training and significant experience, together with a naturally outgoing and empathetic personality and, not least, my genuine passion for dentistry, will enable me to contribute to the program and become a highly effective and expert professional.
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