It is pretty unusual in my country, Myanmar, formally known as Burma, to go to the dentist for checkups or preventive care. With very few exceptions, people only see a dentist when they have discomfort or a cosmetic issue. I was a rare exception since my parents regularly took me to the dentist. The most vibrant part of my memory is the toys I received in exchange for behaving well at the dentist. I look back on these early experiences as formative since I am now a dentist. I often enjoy those early memories of my introduction to my field. My long-term objective is to complete an advanced standing doctoral program for international dentists in the USA and then continue to advance professionally through specialized advanced training as an orthodontist. Eventually, I hope to open my dental clinic specializing in orthodontic treatment and, at the same time, do what I can to advance the cause of dentistry back in Myanmar.
I feel strongly that a dentist needs to be more than an expert in treating oral disease; compassion, understanding, and an open mind are also required. On my first day of dental school, the dean directed his welcome speech to the new students and emphasized the importance of treating patients holistically, which forms a central and integral part of my professional ethic as an oral health professional. I enjoy very much not only the technical, hands-on aspects of dentistry but also the patients' experience.
Since I wanted to obtain as much experience as possible in my fourth year in dental school, I was given the additional privilege of assisting at the dental clinic of the retired dean of our department. I admired how he and his associates treated the patients with great empathy, providing them with excellent care for which they were very grateful. Following my graduation in 2011, I worked at three private clinics (Capital Dental Clinic, Milkyway Dental Clinic, and Top One Dental Clinic) as a part-time general dentist. I also volunteered to serve extra hours at community clinics (Pearl Monastery) and assist non-government organizations (Myanmar Dental Association, National Health Network). I provided atraumatic restorations (ART) and simple and surgical extractions. I also performed minor surgery such as removing mucocele and apicoectomy, root canal therapy, removable and fixed prostheses, removable and fixed orthodontic appliances, temporary dressings, composites, and amalgam restorations. While doing general dental practice in private clinics and participating in community oral health events, I developed an increasing passion for learning sophisticated techniques and helping with advanced treatments, general dental practice in private clinics, and participating in community oral health events, After graduation, I pursued a post-graduate dental diploma to further enhance my skills (2012- 2013).
Unfortunately, Dentistry in Myanmar, especially dental education, is not as advanced as in the West or some other neighboring countries. Therefore, I tried to look for opportunities to study in developed countries. A chance came in 2015 to participate in the International Summer Program at Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Japan. I was selected for a poster presentation about the consequences of endodontically treated teeth. In 2016, another excellent opportunity came when I was offered a professional position in the Federated States of Micronesia and a full scholarship to study for a Ph.D. Program in the Endodontic Department at Tokyo Medical and Dental University. I decided to go to Micronesia – a US territory - since studying dentistry in the United States was my ultimate goal.
In Micronesia, I treated patients for extractions, fillings, gold crown prostheses, removable dental prostheses, and minor surgery such as immediate reduction and intermaxillary fixation for mandibular fracture and surgical removal of impacted teeth, enucleation, operculectomy, apicoectomy, gingivoplasty, and gingivectomy. Moreover, I trained staff on taking x-rays and participated in the school dental care program. While working at the Pohnpei State Hospital in Micronesia, I had an opportunity to learn from a dentist colleague from the USA, who was in the Canvasback missions and making a critically important difference in the patients' lives. I learned from him about Pohnpei Snap bridges, which fabricated resin-fixed bridges for replacing decayed teeth, which were much more cost-effective and time-efficient than traditional porcelain bridges.
I sat for and passed the National Board Exams in 2018 and 2019, clearing both parts on the first attempt. My professional dream is to provide excellent dental services and enhanced patient oral health care that significantly contributes to changing patients' lives in sustainable ways for the long term. I am determined to work diligently to fulfill my dreams. Continuing my academic journey as a student in your Advanced Education Program for International Dentists would be a special honor.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
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