Florida Mission of Mercy: The importance of grassroots advocacy

As a fourth-year dental student at the University of Florida (UF), I’ve served patients across the state and found that dental caries was the most common condition I saw. This is no surprise, though, since it is the most prevalent of all oral diseases around the world, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016.

The upside of the countryside

When you’ve grown up in a town with a population totaling 9,074 people, wanting to become a dentist at the age of 12 might seem a bit far-fetched. What I didn’t realize at the time was how a rural hometown would benefit me in the process of becoming a dentist as well as when I return home to practice after graduation.

The dentists that have become my mentors are a husband and wife team, and they have known my family and me since I was in preschool. They have invested their attention in me for years and shown me the ropes of a dental practice. Since they both grew up in my little hometown, they knew exactly the position I would be in going into school. They also told me how financially beneficial it could be to come back and work in my hometown after graduation.

How close to live to your practice

The time has come. You’ve fulfilled your dreams of becoming a dentist! People will start referring to you as Dr. (insert your name), and that may take a little getting used to. But like most new accomplishments, this one comes with a set of new challenges to sort through. One thing to consider when buying or establishing a dental practice of your own is where to live in proximity to your practice. Here are a few pros and cons to consider when making the decision.

Making a difference in ADA Mission of Mercy

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 10.00.26 PMVolunteers from all across the nation gathered in San Antonio, Texas for the shared purpose of bridging the gap to oral care for patients unable to attain dental care due to financial reasons. During October 11-12, the ADA Mission of Mercy (MOM) transformed the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center into a fully functioning oral care center. On Saturday, the center was equipped with portable dental chairs and tables necessary to perform X-rays, sterilizations, exams, fillings, extractions, oral surgeries, endodontic treatment and even prosthodontic treatment. I was one of the predental students who volunteered my time to the ADA MOM with the hope of helping make a difference in the oral care of the community. Read about Ileana’s experience…