Like most young people in their teen years, I had the vague intention to do something useful in life but had no particular interest in the field of medicine. This changed when I underwent a long course of dental treatment to correct a malformation. Spending lots of time in a dental chair and a dental waiting room was the first introduction to the profession and really fired my interest. Seeing skilful and caring dentists turn grimaces of pain-filled faces into smiles of relief and improving the appearance and confidence of patients persuaded me to seek a career in the profession. I have never regretted my decision. My work as a dentist among deprived communities in rural India gave me numerous opportunities to swiftly and dramatically improve people’s lives and I feel privileged to have been able to do so.
My mother was a highly dedicated and successful teacher. She had high expectations of me and my siblings that we sought very hard to meet. I was a successful student throughout my school life with consistently excellent results. This academic dedication resulted in me gaining admission to the prestigious Government Dental College and Hospital, Ahmedabad, the entry for which is highly competitive. The College provided a very challenging and comprehensive dental education with early and frequent exposure to patients, I graduated in 2008.
I have treated tens of thousands of patients in my training, internship and career to date and so have experience of a very wide variety of conditions and patients of all ages and types. I have developed a very high level of diagnostic skill which, in at least one case, saved my patient’s life.
A particularly satisfying part of my career involved provision of free dentures in remote areas while working for the ‘XXXX Foundation’, a non-profit organization. Some of the patients had been toothless for many years, seeing the delight of patients whose appearance was transformed and whose dietary choices were considerably extended, was an unforgettable experience. I also treated trauma patients and handled emergencies. Because of considerable and positive patient feedback, I was promoted to head of department and gained experience in working in specialty and general clinics which broadened my skills and experience.
I was raised to regard community service as an obligation rather than a choice and have been involved in various voluntary endeavours since my undergraduate days. Most of these activities have been related to the provision of free treatment and dental education to the underprivileged but has also included the provision of ‘fun activities’ to children whose parents are unable to afford ‘treats’.
Since arriving in the US in May 2015, I have volunteered at various dental camps and shadowed highly skilled dentists. I have also worked as a Dental Assistant and Treatment Coordinator. These experiences have provided me with a good understanding of the US dental environment and the techniques, equipment and administration in use here. I now hope to qualify to practice in the US and to apply my considerable and broad experience in this country and to continue to provide my time, knowledge and skills for the benefit of the underprivileged both here and in my home country.
I hope that it may be possible to assist in research within the program. My specific interests are in the areas of temporomandibular disorders and trigeminal neuralgia treatment. These interests arise because of my experience of treating sufferers in India and the particular and painful symptoms that are involved and the inaccurate diagnoses and unsatisfactory treatments that are often provided. I also have a special interest in forensic dentistry. The college I attended had a Forensic Dentistry department where I was introduced to this specialty which fired a great interest in it. The specialty is little known in South Asia and is rarely applied in criminal investigation. I would be very interested in learning more about the techniques and applications as used here in the US.
I have happily worked with, treated and socialized with people of many ethnic and social backgrounds. I enjoy sharing knowledge of my own culture and learning about others. I get on easily with others and have a well-developed sense of humour. I speak Gujurati, Hindi and English fluently and have been learning French recreationally in which I have attained intermediate fluency and am currently working to extend my knowledge of this beautiful and expressive language.
I am confident that I have the potential to become a first class dentist in the US. I am sure that I possess the characteristics, experience, education and training to enable me to ‘add value’ to the program. I can assure the reader that, if selected, I shall apply myself with great enthusiasm and diligence in order to excel rather than to merely succeed.