In July 2007 my wife, 11 month old daughter, and I packed our Honda CR-V and headed east to begin dental school. I was a man on a mission! I had recently taken an oath of office with the Army for a Health Professions Scholarship. My plan after dental school was to do a 2-year AEGD, pay back my obligation and then either stay in the Army as an educator or get out and work in private practice. Ten years have flown by and I will be leaving the military and working in a private practice in Washington this summer. I have reached the goals I set for myself, but I also learned a very important lesson-take time to be present and find joy in the journey!
A 5 year-old girl presented to our pediatric dental clinic. Her family lives three hours away, and had rented a hotel nearby to accommodate and prepare for her restorative dental procedures under general anesthesia. Due to her young age and extensive dental needs, sedation was the only safe and effective option at this point. She had never seen a dentist before. She was terrified, and was in a great deal of pain. She was up to date with medical check-ups and healthy otherwise, but was never referred for preventive or restorative treatment until late into her caries progression.
My family name translates from Sanskrit to “teacher” – something my dad has always prided himself and has hoped to pass on. He is a Professor of pharmacology and thrives on knowledge. There’s something about passion in delivery that can make or break a student’s learning experience – and for someone like my dad, whose first language is not English, that is a daunting task and incredible feat to overcome.
As I sit here, I can’t help but notice the decreased emails, the increased silence of my phone, and my shorter “to-do” list. Life post-presidency has not been as exciting as it once was, but it has given me some time to reflect on my experiences. What a year it has been. A year filled with accomplishments, expansions, victories, innovations and, above all, personal growth. I can never be thankful enough for those who put their faith in me as president to help continue to lead the American Student Dental Association forward. This is an experience I guarantee you I will never forget. I am going to miss the countless emails, travel and conference calls, but it is nice to be able to focus back on school and make sure I actually graduate on time.
The following is brought to you as part of a series supported by Patterson Dental.
In elementary school, I started telling my mother I wanted to be a dentist when I grew up. I’m from a family of 5 active kids so I also dreamed of having kids and being an involved parent at their sporting events. Being the planner that I am, as I grew older, I couldn’t help but imagine the perfect career. I knew I wanted to have a dental practice of my own that would allow me to have my kids there and to set my own hours so I could be present in all their activities.
As I booked my travel for Annual Session 2017 it suddenly hit me! My term as Vice President was quickly coming to a close. The year has been booked with countless meetings, phone calls, and travel opportunities. The thought of it actually coming to an end never really crossed my mind. Serving as a member of the Executive Committee has added an extremely unique layer to my dental education. Prior to dental school I would have never considered myself a politically savvy person, or even someone with a strong awareness for policy. But now I had a reason. I wanted to make sure that if I desired to be a leader for students, I would be well informed with a strong voice.
Do you dream of opening your own private practice, but feel daunted by the task? You’re not alone. We’ve heard from dental students that many want to open their own practice and be their own bosses, but they are concerned about finances and a lack of management knowledge.
While dental school does an excellent job of preparing students for practicing dentistry, it doesn’t always provide the necessary skills for starting a private practice.