What made you choose dentistry? (Giveaway!)

crocdent_large2011Do you remember what inspired you to pursue dentistry?

Many of us in dental school get asked this question often. Among my other favorite Milton Bradley games such as “Hungry Hungry Hippos” and “Go To The Head of the Class,” was “Crocodile Dentist.” Playing as a child I thought one day I would become a real dentist! Well, twenty years later and in the thick of my journey through dental school, I still own my old version of Crocodile Dentist.

To some, the Crocodile Dentist may seem like just a game. However, this game may be teaching kids an even more important lesson. Crocodiles are like cousins to alligators, both belonging to the Crocodylia order. Alligators have recently been a topic of study, specifically their teeth. The teeth of alligators, much like those of a shark, are constantly lost and replaced. It is not uncommon for alligators to go through 2,000-3,000 teeth in their lifetime! Dr. Cheng-Ming Chuong, a pathology professor at the University of Southern California School of Medicine is exploring how alligators can serve as a model for understanding tooth development and regeneration. In that sense, it makes sense why the children’s game is about a crocodile. He will never run out of teeth! To learn more about what Dr. Chuong has discovered about alligator teeth, check out this article from The Keck School of Medicine at USC.

Watch this video of the 1992 version of the Milton Bradley game, Crocodile Dentist

When and how did you become interested in dentistry? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win one of two free Crocodile Dentist games! Also, subscribe to the blog for an *extra* entry! Contest closes at 9am (CST) on Jan. 30. This contest is now closed, but we still appreciate your comments!

~Neek LaMantia, San Francisco ’16, electronic editor

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About Neek LaMantia

Neek is a dental student at the University of California, San Francisco and ASDA's electronic editor. She works with bloggers to schedule content on Mouthing Off each week and also runs a personal blog called Say Yes to DDS.

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Comments (16)

  1. Crystal

    well, I’m not going to be a Dentist, but I’m going to school for Expanded-Functions Dental Assisting and I just love it! plain & simple. originally, I did want to be a Dental Hygienist, but I didn’t have the time to go to school for it, because I have a daughter, so I just decided on Expanded-Functions Dental Assisting & I think I’m gonna like it a lot more anyway, because of all of the extra stuff I’ll get to do. I also love going to the dentist & I just love being there, so that’s what I decided on, and when I went to the Bradford School for a tour of the labs, it made me so happy being there, and that’s when I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

  2. Zelina Moncivais

    The fact that I can treat a family and watch them grow up and those children can bring their children to me! I can’t wait for this to happen!

  3. Melissa Mazlin

    I wanted to be a dentist because I like creating smiles. Dentistry allows this through its literal application, and also with the personal fun experience that I have with my patients.

  4. Rakesh

    Well first my family friend was a dentist and she had pac-man in her office and I loved playing. So eventually I associated playing the game with dentistry. Fast forward to my teenage years and watching VH1 over a summer, and there was a dentist putting diamonds on rappers’ teeth and I thought that looked like fun. Then I looked into dentistry through google searching and talking with dentists. I learned all the positive effects a professional can have on so many lives. After shadowing a few dentists and specialists, I learned that dentistry was the choice for me.

  5. Yeri

    I became interested in dentistry after shadowing a dental student during a program called SMDEP in my second year of undergrad. Watching how meticulously the student doctor spent time to adjust the occlusion for the patient’s newly placed composite made me realized the artistry and attention to detail that goes in dentistry and treating patients. From that point on, I delved more into shadowing in other clinical settings and was hooked!

  6. Robert

    I became interested in becoming a dentist after I went on a trip with International Service Learning to Panema City, Panema that had a focus on dentistry. We set up up clinics in small villages that did not have dentists and cleaned patients teeth for free.

  7. Paula

    I actually wanted to be a mechanical engineer and even completed the first two years of undergrad in that major. But when I did my internship, I was so miserable. While I loved building things, I hated that I had almost no customer interaction. Ask anyone, I’m a chatter box! So I switched my major, shadowed a ton of healthcare professionals, and fell in love with dentistry! It was very similar to the aspects of mechanical engineering I loved (fine motor skills, restoration and creative thinking) while allowing me to develop deep personal connections with patients. So here I am!

  8. Ed Thomas

    I became interested in Dentistry during the winter break of my sophomore year in undergrad. After not being sure what I really wanted to do, I decided to shadow a local dentist. The day I came in, the dentist was delivering a set of dentures. As the patient was waiting I noticed he didn’t smile, was quiet, and had a sullen expression on his face. The moment his new dentures arrived the patient’s demeanor completely changed. All of a sudden he exuded confidence, was smiling, and started chatting away about how he could finally eat again and smile in public like before. He was so thrilled that he bought the entire staff, including me, lunch for that afternoon. That’s when I decided I wanted to pursue a career in dentistry.

  9. Scott

    Since my dad was a dentist, growing up, I always thought his office was really boring. Sometime around my junior year in high school I recognized the advantages of a career in dentistry. Later, during my sophomore year of undergrad, I flew to El Salvador for a mission trip to assist GP’s, endodontists, and oral surgeons. It was then I solidified my desire to be a dentist because I saw that it fit my personality and skill set while also enabling me to have a service-oriented profession.

  10. Sarah M

    I am not into dental profession but I am glad to meet someone who is doing great in dental profession. She assured me and made me feel comfortable during my dental procedure. I hope that more dentists will be like her so that more patients will benefit from these experiences.

  11. Liz

    One of my college roommate’s father was a dentist. I would go home with her on the weekends and he inspired me to look at dentistry. At the time I was disenchanted with my intention to pursue a PhD in biology and do research. I shadowed a dentist and knew that’s what I wanted to do!

  12. Leigh Reynolds

    I knew I wanted to be a dentist at a Take Your Daughter to Work Day when my mom allowed us to pretend in an unused operatory, and I decided that this was a profession I could do and love!

  13. Robin

    When I was 8 I went to my dentist to have some cavities filled and when he administered the numbing agent, novacaine, I had an allergic reaction to it. Since then I’ve been very diligent in my dental hygiene and since then I knew I wanted to be a dentist!

  14. Cori

    I had always been interested in dentistry, but I didn’t have the drive to apply to dental school until four in the morning the day I volunteered for the first New Mexico Mission of Mercy. I had never seen a line as long as I did that day. Thousands of people came from all over the state to receive dental treatment, because they could not afford or did not have access to a dentist. Some had camped out for days to have a toothache relieved or to simply receive a cleaning. My goal is to return to New Mexico after graduation so I can help serve my community.

  15. Adrien Lewis

    I became interested in dentistry when I was a child. I can’t tell you how excited I would get when my mom told me it was Teeth Cleaning Day! My dentist was such a positive role model in my life, that I always aspired to be as smart and kind as he was. When I would get my teeth cleaned I would squirm and turn around in my chair asking the hygienist and dentist what they were doing and what tools they were using. Each time I went in for a visit, I would get to take a polaroid picture with a stuffed animal of my choice and then my picture was pinned on his wall of happy patients! My dentist made pediatric visits so fun and interactive, that I didn’t doubt for one day throughout my schooling that there was anything else I would want to be in the world than a dentist. I am excited that I am finally pursuing my dream!


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