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. [...]
Hello Everyone! I have written a short step-by-step guide to becoming a craniofacial and special care orthodontist. Hope this helps if you are interested! Step 1: Go to college for 3-4 years While in college, you will have the freedom to study any major, as long as certain science courses are completed, and good grades are achieved. Most schools have similar requirements for their science courses, but it is important to check each schools’ criteria. Additionally, each school has a minimum requirement for shadowing hours to apply. Step 2: Take the DAT (Dental Admissions Test) The DAT is a 4.5-hour test that all students applying to dental school must take. It contains 6 different sections: biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning, and the Perceptual Ability Test (PAT). Step 3: Complete the dental school application and interview Typically started in June between junior and senior year of college if you intend to go straight from college. The important thing to remember is although they have deadlines, it is ideal to complete all the applications, including the secondary questions, by the end of July, early August. By completing the applications early, you will help give yourself the best chance of receiving interviews. In order to help you submit applications early, work on finalizing your personal statement and determine your letter of recommendation writers before June, when the application opens. Step 4: Attend a dental school for 4 years In your time in dental school, it is important to still maintain good grades and to enrich your learning as much as you can. Take advantage of several opportunities your school may provide, join clubs that you are interested in, participate in community service, do research, attend hospital and pediatric rotations, shadow orthodontists and programs you are interested in if you can. Participate in things you are interested in and will separate you as a future applicant. Step 5: Take [...]
Hi everyone! My name is Elizabeth and I'm currently a 4th year dental student at Penn Dental Medicine. I've been involved in Philly Phaces for the past couple years of dental school and have been inspired by the passion of everyone in the organization. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet such amazing people, and can't wait to give back to the Philly Phaces community and other similar communities through my professional career. A little bit about me- I am originally from the Seattle area and went to undergrad in California. I am an aspiring orthodontist and currently in the application process for Orthodontic Residency programs! As dental health care providers, we are not just smile makers in the literal sense. What we do goes a long way to affects a person emotionally as well. In many cases, orthodontists are present during adolescence, at one of an individual’s most vulnerable stages in development. I look forward to having the opportunity to instill confidence in my patients through changing their smiles. My brother is currently in his Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery residency and we hope to work together in the future to help treat patients with craniofacial anomalies. I am excited to continue blogging this year and can't wait to further interact with this amazing community! -Elizabeth
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
Hello everyone, I hope everyone is staying safe during these difficult times! Recently, I had the privilege of shadowing residents at an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Program - it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Meeting the residents and seeing how much they do for their patients was truly a humbling experience. I just wanted to make a post about what a typical day in the life was for a resident and some of the awesome procedures I saw along the way. 5:30 AM - Wake up and get ready - had to make sure I brought comfortable shoes as I would be on my feet all day. Caffeinated myself as well. 6:45 AM - Arrive at hospital 7 AM - Morning Rounds - Morning rounds are when all residents gather in a conference room to discuss the previous night and the day's operating room cases. At morning rounds, the residents who were on-call (meaning that they stayed at the hospital overnight to treat emergencies) would report on what came into the hospital last night. Usually, it was people with large cuts on their face from accidents (typically a motor vehicle accident). The residents who were on-call would also check on people who had surgery the previous day to make sure that they had no issues - this was usually done at 6 AM prior to the morning rounds meeting. The game-plan for the day was then discussed, and the residents would be assigned to their designated operations. At around 7:30, morning rounds would wrap up. 7:45/8 - 8:30 - Breakfast - Luckily, the hospital that I was at had a great cafeteria where the residents would eat their meals. I would, once again, caffeinate myself even more. 8:30 - 1:30/2PM - Surgery, Surgery, Surgery - All residents would go to their designated location. Some of the residents would go to the operating [...]
Hello everyone! My name is Rachel Hoagburg and I am a third-year dental student at Penn Dental Medicine. Along with Michael and a few others, I will be blogging for Philly Phaces! A little more about myself - I aspire to become an Orthodontist after dental school, in hopes to work alongside surgeons and other specialists to treat children undergoing surgeries for skeletal defects. Before starting dental school, I had a love and passion for children and orthodontics and knew it was a path I may want to explore. However, being a part of Philly Phaces has helped me realize my passion for the craniofacial aspect of orthodontics. I hope to help people fall in love with their smile and gain confidence in themselves. I will be blogging on my experiences in dental school along with my path to becoming an orthodontist who specializes in craniofacial, surgical, and special care orthodontics. Beyond my own experiences in my journey, I will be blogging about what is happening with the Penn Dental Philly Phaces chapter! I look forward to blogging throughout the year and hope you enjoy the content! -Rachel
Hello everyone! I just wanted to introduce myself - my name is Michael Cimba and I will be a blogger for Philly Phaces. I am a third year dental student at Penn Dental Medicine and am hoping to one day become an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. Philly Phaces played a huge role in this decision for me as it made me realize how great of a passion I have for helping those in need. I have hopes and dreams of graduating from residency and then performing surgeries on not only tooth-related issues, but as well as skeletal issues and birth defects, such as Cleft Lip/Palate. These surgeries are extremely life changing for people, and I hope to one day be the provider behind them. I also hope to do Mission Trips in the future after residency where I would be flying with a healthcare team to countries where these birth defects are high and provide care to them for little to no cost. Prior to dental school, I went to a small school in Minnesota called Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. I played NCAA hockey there for 4 years and have a great passion for the sport. Towards the tail-end of my dental career, I hope to be involved with professional hockey teams as their team oral surgeon. I will be blogging on my path to becoming an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, what can be expected from some of these surgeries, and all things related to Philly Phaces. Thanks for reading and I look forward to blog about my passion! MC
We are seeking professionals that are passionate about Philly Phaces and would like to join our all volunteer team and contribute as a blogger. If you are interested, we'd love to hear from you. Simply Contact Us to get started. Visit our Blog. Together we make all the difference. BLOGGER DISCLAIMER - Statements on this blog reflect the author’s personal opinions and do not represent the views or policies of the author’s employer, colleges. universities medical or dental schools, past or present or Philly Phaces Inc. or any other organization with which the author may be affiliated. They are also not to be viewed as personal medical care, but rather for the purpose of general knowledge. The reader is strongly encouraged to speak to his/her physician for medical advice.