Until I graduated from dental school, I was fully immersed in general dentistry. I had not yet settled on any specialty to which I had developed a commitment. I did have an initial, extraordinary passion for Orthodontics since I have always particularly enjoyed reading about the rapidly evolving technologies and their applications in this area of dentistry. My special love for children has also driven my thinking. My full embrace of Pediatric Dentistry began when I accepted a full-time position as a General Dentist in a clinic that served only children eleven years ago.
I moved to the USA in December of 2000, shortly after graduating from dental school in Medellin, Colombia. I was hoping to be selected for a residency program in Orthodontics. I managed to become a Dental Assistant within a brief period, and I was excited to be working in my field and learning much about how dentistry is practiced in the USA. I volunteered to visit elementary schools with other dental assistants to teach students about oral health care and good hygiene. I was thrilled to see smiles on the students’ little faces upon receiving their new toothbrushes.
After a few years of service as a Dental Assistant and studying around the clock, I became licensed to practice Dental Hygiene in the State of Florida and did so for the next three years, which were among the happiest and most fulfilling years of my life. I was immediately enthralled with the contact with the patients, which is what I had been craving. After passing the NBDE with excellence, I was accepted into the Program for International Dentists at the University of XXXX, earning my doctoral degree in Dentistry in December 2008.
I started working at XXXX General Dentistry for Kids in March 2009. This was the first day of the rest of my life. The most salient factor in my decision to accept and continue in this position for 11 years has been my dedication to children's oral health, mainly because 95% of our patients are Medicaid-insured. Over the last decade, I have become increasingly engaged with the children of families with scarce resources. Nothing else is as important as advancing my career in this area. The children I care for are from some of the humblest families in our community with great need of support and attention, typically from prominent families in communities of recent immigrants. Every day I wake up and start thinking of what I will say to these children to win their confidence and fully address their oral health issues. I thank God that my first language is Spanish.
I will never forget the day I placed NuSmile crowns on the four anterior teeth of a 3-year-old a decade ago. That afternoon, upon picking up my daughter, she told me about a boy in her class showing off his brand-new front teeth. As I dropped her off the following day, I heard a little voice trying to catch my attention. As I turned my head, I saw my patient from the day before smiling at me and waving his hand, his joy, the profound sense of pride in my daughter’s eyes, and my sense of contribution to the community.
In 2017, we moved to Tampa, Florida; a month later, I started working at a Pediatric office, and over the last two years, working alongside colleagues who have the degree that I also want has resulted in this petition asking to be selected for a residency program in Pediatric Dentistry.
In June 2019, I finally decided to start my practice, accepting only patients under eighteen. I have managed to become independent and master the business side of a dental clinic. I have eleven years of experience as a general dentist caring for children's oral health, primarily for little Latinos. I hope to have now the opportunity to advance to the forefront of my field of dentistry as a resident in your program. In this way, I will have the state-of-the-art training that I need so that my clinic can make its maximum contribution to our community, society, and profession.
I look forward to long hours on my feet caring for children, especially those who are very shy, at best, in English.
Thank you for considering my application.
Residency Pediatric Dentistry Personal Statement