On my return visit to Vietnam in the year 2011, I set out one day in my crowded calendar to visit a children’s orphanage center, which was recommended to be a friend. In my previous trip, I felt like I had achieved a lot but this time round I felt the need to positively influence the community. It is for this reason that I purposed to visit the children’s home and spend a day with the children at the center. One specific young girl struck my eye. As quiet and shy as she was, she stole the soft spot in my heart. The girl never smiled in front of people but I noticed her smile whenever she was alone and engrossed in her activities. I found out the reason for her not smiling came from the intimidation of a group of children in the home who had made it their duty to terrorize the small girl.
She had a disfigured dental formula and as such had becoming the laughing stock of her peers whenever she attempted to smile or even speak. They had gone to the extent of nick- naming her “Xun” a local word for toothless. Whenever she tried to say something, she had to put her hand over her mouth to cover her teeth. This act of always having to cover her mouth with her hand constantly reminded me of my childhood. I was a victim of such circumstances and the sight of the troubled little child aroused bitter memories in me. It was at this point, in my stream of thoughts that I pondered doing dentistry. Dentistry would mean I would be able to brighten the futures of children such as Xun and me, so that we would enjoy our childhoods just like every child needs to.
I immediately began by shadowing a dentist to gain experience and see what it took to be in such a profession. One great discovery in the period of working closely to a dentist was the realization that their work not only entails improving the dentins of individuals but also boosting their sense of self worth. A dentist’s goals not only entail improvement of physical well being but also of the emotional (Sutton 97). Despite the challenges this career came with, I was willing to start my studies in dentistry. I was looking forward to leaving a mark in a child’s life and improving the self -esteem of my future clients.
In my weeks of observing and gaining experience from skilled dentists, such as Dr. Morris who operated from Florida, I realized the profession additionally required strong attending skills. Such skills included active listening, empathy skills and time-management. Patience is also a key pre-requisite for dentistry; as different clients come with their different fears and expectations and each has to be treated uniquely (Sutton 99). A good dentist also calms his patients through employing humor occasionally or involving them in conversation at a personal level. Successful dentistry I also learnt requires enthusiasm whether things go according to plan or not. After all, the patients would not know of any mishaps unless the dentists informs them verbally or none verbally.
My humbling experience in Vietnam, my shadowing with Dr. Morris and my background in scientific research have encouraged me to pursue dentistry as a career. Learning from the different experiences, dentistry is a fulfilling career that aims at improving all aspects of an individual’s well-being. Dentistry is the career path I have chosen to give back to the community and gain fulfillment in working to ensure the happiness of others.
Sutton, Amy L. Dental Care and Oral Health Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information About Dental Care and Oral Health Throughout the Lifespan, Including Facts About Cavities, Bad Breath, Cold and Canker Sores, Dry Mouth, Toothaches, Gum Disease, Malocclusion, Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disorders, Oral Cancers, and Dental Emergencies : Along with Information About Mouth Hygiene, Crowns, Bridges, Implants, and Fillings, Surgical, Orthodontic, and Cosmetic Dental Procedures, Pain Management, Health Conditions That Impact Oral Care, a Glossary of Related Terms, and a Directory of Additional Resources. Detroit, Mich: Omnigraphics, 2008. Print.