Pinkesh Shah our Student Ambassador of the Month for November is a fourth-year dental student attending Marquette University School of Dentistry. If you’re a student interested in the prevention chronic musculoskeletal pain while conducting dental procedures, be sure to read his blog titled An Ergonomically Friendly Dentist. In this THE NEXTDDS interview, he discusses the challenging as well as the rewarding aspects of dentistry and also why he chose this profession.
THE NEXTDDS: Let’s start at the beginning--why did you choose dentistry as a career?
PS: From a very young age, I knew I wanted to pursue a career that would provide meaningful aide to individuals. I became very familiar and in love with the opportunities healthcare provided. Dentistry stood out to me the most because it provides the opportunity for me to get to know the patient on a greater level and practice preventative care.
THE NEXTDDS: That a commendable reason. Is it at all generational?
PS: Actually, I will be the first in my family to be a dentist.
THE NEXTDDS: How exciting! Briefly take a look to your earlier years in dental school. Were you excited or nervous when working on your first patient?
PS: As an upcoming 4th-year dental student, I am seeing a couple of patients every day. I’ll admit, although it was exciting to finally be working on actual patients, it was nerve-wracking.
THE NEXTDDS: We can imagine. Now, what aspect of dental school is the most challenging for you?
PS: I find frustrating how underemphasized dental care can be at times among my patients. Trying to educate them to seek continued preventative care or follow through with referrals is definitely something I struggle with.
THE NEXTDDS: It definitely is challenging, yet rewarding once accomplished. What roles do social media and educational resources play in dental education? How frequently do you access them for school-related activities?
PS: THE NEXTDDS helps supplement the education I received in dental school. It provides students with a vast network of learning opportunities to broaden the scope of what they know.
THE NEXTDDS: Well we’re glad to be of assistance to your studies. Next question: What do you envision your next five years of dentistry to look like?
PS: I hope to pursue oral and maxillofacial residency, and thereafter join a group or multi-specialty practice.
THE NEXTDDS: Sounds like a plan! Are there any clinical topics you find most intriguing?
PS: I am always fascinated by the ability of the human body to heal itself. It’s amazing how we can do full craniofacial reconstructions and restore a person’s life to what it used to be.
THE NEXTDDS: What clinical topics would be most beneficial to illustrate in online articles/images/videos?
PS: I don’t think the stress should be placed on presenting particular clinical topics, but more or less on presenting a wide variety of each. As an educational resource, it is important to have variety in what we provide so that students can get the most out of their experiences with THE NEXTDDS.
THE NEXTDDS: Interesting outlook. You’ve been a Student Ambassador for THE NEXTDDS for a little while now. How has this experience helped you in networking with your peers?
PS: I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know so many representatives across the nation, and it has allowed me to communicate with them regarding experiences at their respective schools.
THE NEXTDDS: Do you have any chief concerns about being a dental student?
PS: To name a couple, student debt and licensure examinations.
THE NEXTDDS: Student debt is definitely the most common answer. Finally, what do you enjoy most about being a dental student, or dental school in general?
PS: It is great finally getting to learn what I will be doing for the rest of my life.
THE NEXTDDS: We’re sure it is. Pinkesh, thank you for your participation in this interview--we appreciate your opinions and insight. We look forward to collaborating you throughout your 4th year and beyond!