Dentistry Personal Statement

Dentistry involves much more than making a commitment to carry out academic study. It is a vocation that demands, in addition to an aptitude for study, the determination to rise to challenges, and a continual willingness to learn. Whilst I have been set on a career as a dentist since a young age, the experiences of the last few years have revealed to me that I possess the necessary qualities for a career in dentistry. The key criterion that I set myself when deciding on a career to pursue was that it must be based around helping people. For me, the satisfaction of assisting others, especially when they are in some form of need, motivates me more than anything else. At the same time, I also want to be able to combine this desire with my interest in the sciences, as well as carry out work that demands a high level of technical skill. I have always relished challenges that require manual dexterity. I have attained grade six in both piano and violin, and in the last few years have also taken up ceramics and jewellery-making.

From this starting point, I have undertaken various work placements in the dental sector, all of which have helped me gain an insight into the demands of the profession, and, just as importantly, bolstered my commitment to becoming a dentist. In the UK, I have carried out week-long work placements at four different dental practices. I observed a wide variety of routine dental procedures. Through this observation I learnt that a successful dental practice is built to a large extent on the interpersonal skills of the care team, both in terms of their abilities to treat patients with empathy and in terms of them needing to work well with one another to deliver care.

In 2009 I carried out a one-month work placement in the dental department of a hospital in Accra, Ghana. I was given a much more hands-on role than I experienced in my UK-based work placements. Through this I gained a deeper knowledge of a range of procedures, such as abscess treatment, root canal therapy and extractions. Just as importantly, being directly involved with the procedures and therefore helping patients gave me an enormous sense of satisfaction. The relative lack of resources at the dental hospital and the difficulties it caused patients also made me sharply aware of the importance that good dental care plays in people’s wellbeing.

The experience I have gained in dentistry has complimented my more general interests in helping people and being involved in healthcare. Since the age of fourteen I have been studying first aid; in addition to holding Red Cross qualifications, I also provide voluntary first aid assistance at events such as the Great North Run. The fulfilment I gain from working as a first-aider has reinforced my desire to work in a field where I can help people.

In recent years I have been involved in several activities that have developed my personal skills and tested my strength of character. For example, through running an after-school chess club and providing tutoring, I have had the chance to improve my communication and leadership skills. I successfully completed all three levels of Duke of Edinburgh award. On one expedition, our group’s initiative, team-working and endurance skills were put to the test when one of our party sustained an injury and we had to be rescued by helicopter.

However, perhaps the greatest test of character that I have experienced has been the challenge of not meeting the high academic standards that I expected of myself in my final year of secondary school.  Over the last year I intensively studied chemistry, biology and maths, obtaining A grades in all three subjects. Rather than abandoning my goal of becoming a dentist for the short-term ease of not retaking A-Levels, I opted for the more difficult path. I did this because of the motivation to become a dentist that my work and voluntary experiences have given me, and because of my basic wish to follow a career in which I can help people.