Lessons from dental school and early career – New Dentist Blog

Time, our most valuable commodity — along with our good health, of course.

It’s hard to believe how many years have passed since my last first day of school: the day I started my fourth year of dental school.

Dr. Patel

My D3- and D4 years seemed to never end. I can still vividly recall doing my clinic orientation in third year, listening to graduating seniors joke and laughing.

The only thought in my mind in that moment was, “That will never be me. How can I even make it through?”

With a lot help from my best friends at school, I was able to do it. Both of them went on to become incredibly successful in both their professional and personal lives. Diana Nguyen (D.D.S.) is the division chair of clinical general dental at the University of California San Francisco. Tamara Shamlian (D.D.S.) is a private practice dentist in Fresno.

The conversations that we had about the future of school are still a part of my life today.

Even though we had the support of our families, mentors, and our parents, we still had questions about where we were going.

Looking back on that time in my life now, I think of what lessons I would have liked to learn sooner – and what I might have done differently.

My first advice to students and new dentists: Take advantage of every opportunity and step out of your comfort zone. What do I mean? If you think know where you’d like to — or have to — settle down eventually and build your life, apply for your post-graduate training in an area that you might have always wanted to experience and explore. This might be your only chance to do it – and you never know what connections you might make.

The possibility of finding mentors in dentistry through new connections is another benefit. This is yet another piece I wish I had learned years ago. A mentor isn’t necessarily someone exactly like you. Mentors could not be someone you are familiar with. They might have a lifestyle that is similar to yours, or they may have goals and know how to reach them. Although I am lucky to have an amazing set of mentors who are also leaders in dentistry and their communities – I’m looking at you, Nima Aflatooni, D.D.S.; “Duke” Ho, D.D.S.; Chris Liang D.D.S.; David Manzanares, D.D.S.; and Mike Saba D.M.D. Some of the greatest and most insightful lessons I’ve learned have been from individuals on other career paths at different stages in their lives.

After graduation, the last and most important thing I would tell myself was to never stop learning and to be teachable. Learning isn’t just in the form of continuing education, but it comes from experiences and adventures, too.

Get out there and live. Life can be full of ups and downs. But if you’re true to yourself and your dreams, you’ll be able to make the most out of every moment.

Amrita R. Patel D.D.S. grew up in Chappaqua (New York). She graduated in 2011 from the New York University College of Dentistry before she completed a general residency at Nassau University Medical Center. Dr. Patel works as a general dentist in Westchester County with Rohit Z. Patel. She chaired the New York State Dental Association New Dentist Committee, is the International College of Dentists – USA Section Fellow Ambassador of Social Media, and served the new dentists on the American Dental Association Council on Dental Benefit Programs for the 2020-21 term. She was also awarded the 2021 ADA 10 Under 10 awards.

Lessons from dental school and early career – New Dentist Blog

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Can someone has teeth so perfect that they shouldn’t have braces/it will cause more harm than good if they get braces?

Unsure if I should go down the aerospace route or the dentistry route in the UK