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How practicing dentistry in Singapore changed my perspective on dentistry

At age thirteen. I left Taiwan and my family to pursue my personal and professional goals through education in America. I received my DMD from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 2013.

After graduation, I decided to put my Asian language abilities and American degree to use abroad in Singapore. I chose Singapore because there are four official languages: English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil, two of which I am fluent in. My US credentials were fully recognized by the Singapore Dental Council. After receiving a job offer from the Ministry of Health Holdings, I obtained my license as a general dentist within a few weeks. Having a special interest in community and pediatric dentistry, I requested to work at the Health Promotion Board (HPB), a local service organization that focuses on health promotion, disease prevention, and patient education. Keep reading to learn more about Peggy’s adventure abroad…

Nashville experience benefits future dentist

Before dental school, I pursued a degree in Commercial Music from Belmont University. At eighteen, I was ecstatic to be moving to Nashville, Tennessee, the country music capital. My dream of becoming a professional singer was closer than ever before. I hit the ground running in Nashville. I accepted an internship at a record label, auditioned for American Idol, and started writing my own music. However, I quickly discovered I was just as content to perform at church, as I was in front of huge audience. I made the hard decision to give up my childhood dream of being a professional singer. It is a decision I have never regretted and I am grateful for the lessons I learned in Nashville that apply to my dental school experience.

Calculating the costs and benefits of a residency

474213179(1)For many students, the choice between doing a residency and going straight into private practice is a tough one. In today’s world of growing student debt, it’s important to be aware of the costs and benefits of each.

Here’s a simple model. The American Dental Education Association says 2013 dental school graduates had an average debt of $241,000. If you graduate with the average debt and do a one-year residency, your debt will generate around $15,000 in interest during your first year out. (This assumes 6.8% interest rates.)

Why are we drawn to what’s “weird”?

One of my favorite in-school rotations at UTSD is our Urgent Care rotation. We’re assigned to this multiple times a month but when your patient no-shows, it’s typically your 1st resort to ensure you spend your clinic time wisely. There’s always room for more students in urgent care. Dr. C.D. Johnson runs our urgent care clinic. Unlike the typical stories you hear of dentists working 4 days a week, with fridays for golf or waterskiing, Dr. Johnson ran a clinic working 7 days a week. A good amount of his time was spent seeing walk-in urgent care patients. Needless to say, Dr. Johnson has seen it all.