When someone asks me the question “What is the path to becoming a dentist?” I am always at a loss of words of how exactly to respond. The path to dentistry is so multifaceted and contains several different routes, but I am always eager to share the path that I took. Growing up with a mom as a general dentist, I was exposed to the field from an early age. After shadowing a few offices in high school, I decided to apply for accelerated programs when applying to college. The goal of accelerated programs is to shorten the amount of time spent in undergraduate. I applied to and was accepted to the University of Pennsylvania 7-year bio-dental program which included 3 years of college and an admission into the 4-year DMD program at Penn Dental Medicine. In my application, I emphasized my ability to use my hands, my dedication to health care, and my drive to serve others. The 7-year bio dental program required that I maintain a cumulative 3.5 GPA and obtain a 19 on the DAT (Dental Admission Test). Because I didn’t feel the pressure to overextend myself in extracurricular activities, I chose to participate in clubs that I was especially interested in. For example, I was active in the Vietnamese Students Association and was a tutor for students in West Philly high schools. When the time came to prepare for the DAT, I spoke to peers who had taken the exam and DAT Bootcamp, an exam prep software was highly recommended. The program outlined a 10-week study schedule which I followed to prepare for the exam. The DAT consists of 4 sections: Survey of the Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability Test, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning Test. One of the most daunting aspects of pursuing a career in dentistry is the high cost of dental school, average around $37,000/year for public schools and $67,000/year for private schools. [...]
About Ashten NguyenMy name is Ashten Nguyen, a current second year dental student at the University of Pennsylvania, and a graduate of Penn undergrad. As an HPSP scholarship recipient, I am currently an officer in the Navy and plan on serving for the US Navy as a dentist following graduation. I was born and raised in Monterey, CA with two sisters. Growing up with a mother for a dentist, I was always interested in dentistry and had a passion for public oral health and community outreach. I was drawn to Philly Phaces because of its emphasis on bringing about awareness about craniofacial differences within the Philadelphia community.
Hello Everyone! My name is Ashten Nguyen and I will also be a blogger for Philly Phaces along with Michael and Rachel. I am currently a second-year student at Penn Dental Medicine. I am currently on military scholarship through the US Navy and am looking to pursue general dentistry in my future. Following dental school, I will be serving as a dentist on a Naval Base, treating service members who currently live on the base. I hope to pursue an AEGD (Advanced Education in General Dentistry) through the Navy as well. One of the things that drew me towards general dentistry was the flexibility within this field and the potential to collaborate with other specialists in order to provide the best care to patients. I believe working with Philly Phaces has exposed me to various craniofacial differences that could possibly present as cases to collaborate with specialists in order to treat. Learning about craniofacial differences through Philly Phaces has fueled my passion for pursuing a career in which I can change someone’s smile in order to boost their self-confidence. Before dental school, I went to the University of Pennsylvania for my undergraduate degree and majored in biology. The semester before I began dental school, I traveled abroad in London and visited many other cities and countries. That following summer, I lived in Cusco, Peru for a month shadowing and assisting a dentist in a local clinic and travelling throughout Peru on the weekends. These experiences made me realize my passion for traveling and inspired me to integrate dental mission trips in my future career. I look forward to blogging about my dental experience at Penn Dental Medicine and sharing my journey with those interested in craniofacial differences! Ashten