Dentistry Personal Statement
Submitted by Alisha
After my sister was specifically advised to have her teeth brushed to control the risk of heart disease that emerged from her mitochondrial disorder, it became apparent that oral hygiene was pertinent in the maintenance of her health. This highlighted a more serious side to dentistry where its application had implications on the longevity of life, rather than just quality, emphasising it as a profession that is undeserving of the superficial image it sometimes attracts.
To supplement my growing interest, I undertook a six week MOOC course called 'Discover Dentistry', which explored the extensive use of additive manufacturing in facial reconstruction and how worms were thought to cause decay. I was intrigued by how the scarcity of scientific explanations led to barber-surgeons erratically extracting teeth. Pierre Fauchard denounced such barbaric malpractice and focused on enhancing the training of dentists with anatomical concepts. His revolutionary work fortified my enthusiasm for dentistry and my curiosity in its future implementation.
Whilst shadowing dentists for three weeks, l appreciated how staff strived to uphold the trust instilled in them by patients; the reliance of dentists on administrative staff and nurses was especially noticeable. The artistry and detail that formulated the personalised care of each patient's mouth was captivating - watching an eroded tooth be rebuilt was especially interesting. It illustrated that dentistry requires excellent manual dexterity, which I have developed during GCSE Textiles by sewing a range of products, as well as by applying henna - an intricate skill which allows exploration of artistic flair.
Participating in a communications workshop at Leeds University allowed me to identify that oral health is often misunderstood and poorly addressed due to language barriers. However, dealing with customers of diverse backgrounds at Cancer Research exemplified the significance of my ability to speak Urdu and how it could be applied to reassure anxious patients and allow them to be in control of their health. Supporting adults with learning disabilities at the Learning Zone has developed my understanding of the importance of confidentiality and sensitivity towards a person's situation. Although I felt intimidated at first, by being patient and empathetically conversing with the students, I am able to make a positive contribution to their independence. In terms of academia, solving differentiation-based application questions is an element of maths I really enjoy as I am challenged to integrate methodical formulae to abstract situations - it has nurtured my problem-solving skills, which are vital in resolving complex cases in dentistry. I am researching and writing an EPQ dissertation with a focus on the impact of oral hygiene and longevity of life. The link between the topic and my future career aspiration makes it intrinsically interesting. I also enjoy being able to develop independent research skills that would clearly be useful in dentistry, as it is a discipline that consists of research paired with first-line healthcare.
Recreationally, progressing as an avid participant of badminton and netball will not only allow me to subjugate the stress that accompanies the intense nature of dentistry, but it has also enabled me to refine my coordination and teamwork skills. As a prefect, I acted upon the views of the school community, thereby exhibiting a sense of responsibility and leadership. Moreover, completing NCS greatly increased my confidence as the experience tested my limits and pushed me out of my comfort zone. Having witnessed the vulnerability of patients, both personally and professionally, and being inspired by the work ethic of Fauchard, I am determined to supersede the conventional perception of a dentist. I intend on delivering innovative healthcare for the benefit of social welfare and being involved in pioneering research that could shape the future of the dental field.