Like most young people in their teens, I had the vague intention to do something useful in life but had no particular interest in dentistry. 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 my first introduction to the profession and fired my interest. Seeing skillful and caring dentists turn grimaces on pain-filled faces into smiles of relief and improve patients' appearance and confidence 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 my siblings and me 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 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 and have experience with various conditions and patients of all ages and types. I have developed a very high diagnostic skill that saved my patient's life in at least one case.
A particularly satisfying part of my career involved the 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 working in specialty and general clinics, which broadened my skills and knowledge.
Since my undergraduate days, I was raised to regard community service as an obligation rather than a choice and have been involved in various voluntary endeavors. Most of these activities have been related to free treatment and dental education for the underserved. Still, they have included ‘fun activities for children whose parents cannot 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. I now hope to qualify to practice in the US, apply my considerable and broad experience in this country, and continue to provide my time, knowledge, and skills to benefit the underprivileged in my home country.
I hope it may be possible to assist in research within the program. My specific interests are in temporomandibular disorders and trigeminal neuralgia treatment. These interests arise because of my experience treating sufferers in India, the particular and painful symptoms involved, and the inaccurate diagnoses and unsatisfactory therapies often provided. I also have a specific interest in forensic dentistry. The college I attended had a Forensic Dentistry department where I was introduced to this specialty, which inspired great interest in it. The thing is little known in South Asia and rarely applies to a criminal investigation. I would be very interested in learning more about the techniques and applications 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 along well with others and have a well-developed sense of humor. I speak Gujarati, Hindi, and English fluently. I have been learning French recreationally, where I have attained intermediate fluency, and I am 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, value, and training to enable me to add value to the program. If selected, I can assure the reader that I shall apply myself with great enthusiasm and diligence to excel rather than merely succeed.