There are currently 9 dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA) that you can pursue after dental school. One of those specialties, prosthodontics, pertains to the diagnosis, treatment, and maintenance of the oral health of a patient associated with missing teeth. They’re the dental specialists that make dentures, bridges and crowns. Forbes even listed prosthodontics as one of America’s most competitive jobs.
At the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH), I interviewed Clark Chen, a 2012 dental school graduate, about his journey. Thank you!
How did you know that prosthodontics was for you?
I had developed an earlier interest in prosthodontics because of my background in bioengineering in undergrad. The two disciplines have many overlapping principles, so I have always viewed treatment planning as just one big engineering problem. My desire to pursue a prosthodontics residency came sometime in the middle of my third year as I was exposed to more complex cases. These cases lead me to on going conversations with the prosthodontic faculty, which made me realize how much more there was to learn about treatment planning and prosthodontics principles.
What extra measures did you do in dental school to make you an ideal candidate?
I would start off by saying that a solid personal statement and letters of recommendation from prosthodontic faculty should be a given. As for extra measures, I would recommend going out a visiting residency programs. I had the opportunity to visit a handful of program to observe what an average day is like and to get to know the residents and faculty. These visits not only helped me figure out what I was looking for in a program but it also gave me the motivation to follow through with the application. I also attended the America College of Prosthodontics annual session. The conference is a great way to network and to learn more about the profession.
Where is your residency and what tips do you have for hopeful applicants?
I am doing my residency at UCSF and started in July of 2012. The best advice I would give to hopeful applicants would be to seek out a faculty member has extensive prosthodontic knowledge and is also willing to mentor you. The most valuable lessons will come from these one on one moments.
~Erin Aying, Arizona ’14