Author: Miranda Patches
Miranda Patches is an undergraduate pursuing a degree in biology. She aspires to become a Physician Assistant. Miranda's goal is to connect different fields of medicine to create the best possible treatment for patients.
This is the first session I joined with Pre-Health Shadowing. I have very little knowledge of dentistry and wanted to learn more. I wanted to find out why people wish to pursue a career in this field. I learned from Dr. Chen that it is important to build relationships and trust with patients and colleagues in order to create a fulfilling career. Two important goals of a doctor in this field are helping patients feel better about themselves and improving their oral health.
In order to pursue a career in dentistry, you have to reverse engineer where you see your future self. You have to understand your “why.” That is, find what makes you passionate about the field and then make a career out of it. For example, Dr. Chen specializes in all kinds of dental procedures, such as bonding, temporary teeth sets, and oral surgery. Currently, he creates his own clinical work schedule and prefers to do surgery, especially sinus lifts for dental implants. He molded his career to fit his interests and lifestyle, which allows him to find his work enjoyable. This mindset of setting a long-term goal guides you on a path to a rewarding career. According to Dr. Chen, some advice on how to get to that point forming a long-term vision, short-term motivation, concentrated knowledge acquisition, and momentum. These principles are very helpful when one is confused about career interests. Dr. Chen also advises trusting the process and knowing that “you are where you need to be.” It’s important to not rush getting to your goals just for the sake of getting there. Pursuing a career is not a race and everybody has their own path to follow. While on your path, it’s ok to change plans. It’s important to know when to change direction and follow a new path that you’re more passionate about. In any field, Dr. Chen says it’s important to build relationships and trust. Dentistry has an important sociological aspect to it that many people don’t mention. In this field, working with people and addressing their individual needs is very important. There is no one treatment that fits all dental patients. A dentist is meant to assist the patient with what they need and to be confident that they have the skills to provide it.
After reflecting on what’ve learned in this session, I would like to connect dentistry to other fields. Dr. Chen mentioned the treatment of gingivitis in his patients and how oral health is connected to heart and brain health. Oral complications, such as painful infections, can affect the rest of the body and even lead to death if not treated! The fact that so many different fields of medicine are interconnected is fascinating to me. I would love to see how many connections exist between heart health and oral health or levels of confidence and oral health. A nice smile goes a long way! It would also be interesting to connect Dr. Chen’s philosophies to my own career aspirations. I need to reflect on my own goals and try reverse engineering where I imagine myself to make sure I’m on the right path. Dr. Chen’s advice is very applicable to any field of medicine; build relationships and trust, reverse engineer your path, don’t be afraid to say no, and trust the process. I look forward to participating in more insightful shadowing sessions from Pre-Health Shadowing.
Dr. Chen, Lewis. (2021, April 5). Dr. Lewis Chen, DDS, FICOI, FIADFE.(Session by Pre-Health Shadowing).