Immediately after I qualified in 2014, I joined the army as a military dentist but was not aware, at that time, what a wise professional decision that this was. I was provided with very early responsibility for the dental health of a large population of patients and so gained very comprehensive general dental experience over a short period of time. I also found that the core military values aligned very closely to my own with an emphasis on personal integrity and ethical behaviour. The army has also provided me with much excellent post-graduate specialist training, with a significant amount of this being devoted to endodontics. I am now a Senior Captain Dental Officer and have been assigned as a Clinical Mentor to recent graduates from Dental School. I regard this appointment as a recognition of my professional ability, communication skills and potential and I take great pleasure in helping the junior Captains to develop their knowledge, and diagnostic and clinical skills.
Because of a growing interest in endodontics and increasing experience and skills in this area of work, with the permission of the dental detachment commander, I began to manage an increased number of patients with endodontic lesions in the clinic, as there is no endodontic specialist within the CAF. I have witnessed many restorable teeth with endodontic lesions being extracted for implants and seen many of those implants fail and recognised the need for expert treatments which I now seek to become equipped to provide.
During my undergraduate studies I undertook only 6 RCT’s which was the minimum to qualify and then had no particular interest in endodontics. However as endodontic treatments became a significant feature of my military dental work, including over 200 RCT’s, the more I wanted to learn about endodontics which so often provides immediate and dramatic pain relief and the saving of teeth, and so affords particular professional satisfaction. This interest crystallised into a definite decision to specialise in this area during a two-week course run by three impressive AEGD’s during which I learned a great deal about the different aspects of endodontics, re-treatments and surgery.
I am drawn by the prospect of specialising in a field in which there are such frequent advances in techniques and materials and hope to play a part in those developments by assisting in research. I am particularly interested in regenerative endodontics and in undertaking evidence-based treatments. I have no research experience and am aware that even an excellent practitioner is not necessarily a good researcher. However, I do believe that I possess characteristics and potential that will enable me to usefully assist in research projects. I have demonstrated an ability to think creatively and originally when forming treatment plans, since my military training has emphasised a measured, disciplined and carefully planned approach to my work (and indeed to my life generally). I possess determination and intellectual curiosity and am happy to work collaboratively to achieve common goals.
My ultimate goals are to provide high-quality endodontic treatments working in an underserved community preferably in a multi-disciplinary clinic handling particularly complex cases/endodontic failures. I would also donate some of my time and skills to those unable to pay to avoid extractions. Because I have been an effective teacher and have enjoyed this aspect of work so much, I would seek also to pass on my skills to other dentists and students. I am aware that providing medical services calls for a high degree of cultural awareness and sensitivity. I have studied, worked and socialised with people of many cultural and social backgrounds and enjoy learning about new cultures and sharing knowledge of my own rich heritage. I seek to be a ‘well-rounded’ person and pursue several hobbies including marathon running and playing guitar. I find that the digital sensitivity that I have acquired over the years as a string musician is of great assistance in my work. I am the representative for my military unit in the United Way Fundraising charity which seeks to assist with disadvantaged people within the local community. My own parents have had financial struggles over the years and I feel an affinity with those suffering in a similar way. Thus, I find my voluntary endeavours highly satisfying.
I believe that my professional background and personal characteristics will enable me to add considerable value to the program and can assure the reader that I shall apply myself with exceptional diligence and enthusiasm for my own benefit and that of my fellow students. My aim is to excel rather than merely succeed.
To summarize: I have acquired significant general and endodontics experience and training since graduation; I have achieved the status of mentor to other dentists in a short period of time, demonstrating the trust of my superiors in my professional ability and personality; and I have had the advantage of significant and expert post-graduate training provided by the CAF. However, my most important recommendation is a genuine passion for the specialty and my determination to become an acknowledged expert practitioner and teacher of the specialty.
Thank you for considering my application.