A dentist who finished dental school and gained experience in my native Albania, I have now been living and working extremely hard in the USA for the last two years, in order to most fully advance my career and prepare myself for lifetime, maximum professional contribution in Orthodontics. I have been working full time as a dental assistant for a year- and-a-half and have finished parts 1 and 2 of the NBDEs. I hope to be accepted to a residency program in Orthodontics here in America.
Immediately upon finishing dental school in Albania, I completed a one-year series of theoretical/practical seminars and clinics organized by the university. The program encompassed both theoretical and hands on training, including orthodontics treatment and bracket placement. I was able to meet distinguished Orthodontists from across Europe, learning a multitude of special techniques and creative approaches to the orthodontic profession. Here in the USA, I have had the opportunity to shadow and assist several different orthodontists, learning cutting-edge techniques and practice from all of them. I had the very special opportunity in New York, for example, to spend 7 months assisting Dr. XXXX, treating patients in Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics. 75 years old and still going very strong in Orthodontics, I very much admire Dr. XXXX’s holistic approach and his dedication to Orthodontics, which he taught at XXXX for a quarter of a century.
Next, I moved to Boston where I continue to enjoy the opportunity to serve in the Orthodontics practice of Drs. XXXX and XXXX, both excellent doctors. Dr. XXXX, who specializes in lingual braces, went to dental school in India yet was selected for and completed her Orthodontics residency at Harvard - she shared many of her exciting stories with me. Dr. XXXX, 78, taught Orthodontics at XXXX for 35 years. A master of wires banding, Dr. XXXX creates individual arch wires for each individual patient. Working alongside Dr. XXXX, I have come to more fully appreciate the importance of providing highly personalized Orthodontic and Dentofacial Orthopedics treatment. I have been learning a great deal most recently, about special appliances, training and jaw exercises for patients with TMJ clicking, locking, clenching or bruxism, etc.
Not only have I worked as a general dentist for several years already, but I've also assisted professors with research projects, especially during my time at the University of Tirana. Since then, I've coordinated and participated in continuing education courses not only in orthodontics, but also prosthodontics, pediatric dentistry, and oral surgery. In addition, I've planned events that demonstrate oral care techniques and practices which serve to raise awareness of oral health's impact on one's overall quality of life. I have worked as a dental assistant in New York and Boston and in both general dentistry and orthodontics. My experience working in an orthodontic practice has helped to fully confirm my realization that orthodontics is my true passion and my life calling. My work has allowed me to better appreciate the vast gambit of aspects or facets of the practice of Orthodontics. The better I understand the complexity, the more determined I become to specialize in Orthodontics. I have seen patients from the very start through to the conclusion of their treatment. This holistic perspective has allowed me to see the beneficial impact that proper orthodontics can have on an individual.
I have been exposed to all aspects of orthodontics and understand the importance of paying attention to every detail of the day-to-day work involved. I have learned how very important it is to form a partnership with the patient, especially since orthodontic treatment is comparatively long term. My time in orthodontics in the U.S. has been a great experience and has given me the confidence to pursue orthodontics as my vocation for the balance of my professional life in dentistry.
I spent many weekends as a volunteer dentist in Albania, providing dental services to orphans and needy families within the community, helping me to understand the complexity of the debilitating effects that poor oral health care can have on a person's personal and professional life, especially for the underserved – driven by poverty and exacerbated by the kind of widespread and sustained political unrest endured by Albania in recent years. There is little to no advanced training available in Orthodontics in Albania and I am so very thankful to be building a new life in the land of opportunity in dentistry.
At some point in my career, perhaps even decades down the road, I want to return to Albania and teach new generations of dentistry students. I want to teach Orthodontics in Albania, opening doors to smiles in a very poor country that is struggling very hard to smile, and will continue to depend on the support of the international dentistry community to make advances in the future.
I thank you for considering my application to your distinguished program.