Dental Public Health

Public Health is a crucial and necessary movement implemented in communities in order to serve people’s’ wellbeing. There are specific organizations that propose projects to aid the community and its unique circumstances. Communities that lack imperative health care such as proper dental care are in great need of outreach programs that would provide them the necessary oral hygiene care. In order to provide this care, there are global and local outreach programs that target underserved countries or local communities.

Give Kids a Smile is one of many local outreach programs that targets underserved elementary school children that lack proper dental care. When I began volunteering for Give Kids a Smile (GKAS) through the New York County Dental Society, I noticed how essential outreach programs are to a community that lacks one. As I volunteered for this program I began to understand the power and potential that an outreach organization can have on developing youth. Give Kids a Smile allows dentists, dental students, undergraduates, and other health-care workers to volunteer and give back to the community. The purpose is not only to educate future dentists, but also to give proper dental screenings to children from kindergarten to fifth grade. My job as a screening assistant was to bring young children to the dental screeners and record any information the dentist would give me about their teeth condition. I noticed how these children, who were initially apprehensive, began to take interest and realize the importance of having healthy teeth. Thus, GKAS resonated through the elementary schools it visited, and created an impactful image on dental care.Print

Similarly, I spent one Sunday at the Annual NYU Dental Student Public Health event in order to learn more of how crucial public health is and what are the different types of categories Public Health could fall under. The program was divided into breakout sessions, as well as lectures and discussions with influential and remarkable keynote speakers. From a variety of engaging breakout sessions, I chose to focus on AIDS Awareness and Local/Global Community Outreach. Each session revolved around a specific prompt to focus on, we were also allowed to voice our opinions and/or experiences, and how those experiences and notions helped shape the way we see Public Health. Having an event where different aspects of Public Health are being discussed was influential to how we could keep progressing with Public Health. By discussing the pros, cons, and improvements in each breakout session, we were able to better understand how we could improve the oral care, dental ethics, dental volunteering, and dental compassion.

Dental Public Health is crucial in providing services and compassion to those who are underserved in communities. Whether the programs deal with global outreach programs or local programs in our own communities, Public Health organizations and Public Health schools all show the resonating benefits of coming together to create a better and safer life for another.

Written by: Danielle Golder


Well, That’s a Mouthful

Ah, the dentist. Just the sound of the word “dentist” is enough to make you cringe because you remember that time your gums were being pricked at with a pointy apparatus, and your lips were stretched by a twofold. Perhaps such an experience made you swear you would never return to that maleficent office; however, you visited the dentist many times after that experience anyways. Even though some visits to the dental clinic may be frustrating and painful, they are still helping you achieve a greater health status than before. Like machines, humans can have glitches and dentists could be considered potential engineers who could masterfully fix those maxillofacial “glitches” you may have. Dentists are huge contributors to ones physiological and aesthetic image. Likewise, maintaining the oral cavity is essential since its presentation mirrors that of the entire body; poor oral hygiene could place the body at a higher risk of obtaining serious infectious diseases.

Throughout the years, researchers in clinical dental studies have discovered how oral health and other physiological systems interconnect with one another. As children, we were constantly pushed to brush our teeth and floss daily. Such a routine should have been instilled in our daily routines throughout the years; however, some people may not take proper care of their teeth. Improper care for ones teeth could result in periodontitis, gingivitis, or lead to harmful internal infections. Recently, researchers have found that inadequate oral hygiene could be associated with risk of gastric cancer. Thus, regular checkups at the dentist allow one to keep their health in check.

As for aesthetics, dentists allow one’s self esteem to increase if the patient is uncomfortable with his or her hygiene. Likewise, dentists would provide proper alignment to individuals’ teeth as well as whiten them, or control and treat oral infections. Dental aesthetics play a huge role in developing individuals, especially in multifarious cities like New York. Individuals are constantly encountering one another, going to meetings or social events. In other words, that “dreadful” visit to the dental office may give you a healthier and brighter smile, one that would stand out from the crowd of people who were too afraid to step foot into that office.

In summation, dentists are glorified mechanics who mend ones teeth in order to provide both proper oral health and esthetic presentation. Any signs of oral health could be a result of improper care for the oral cavity; however, it could also mean one may be suffering from another internal disease. Maintaining orderly and efficient care for the mouth is one of the many keys to living a healthy lifestyle. Now floss away!

Written By: Danielle Golder

The Road to Dentistry

The dentist’s office is what some people call a torture room, yet what others call their office. There are a lot of stereotypes behind dentistry, and like every career and facet in life, there are pros and cons to each field.

Dentistry is not only the study of the oral cavity and its diseases and treatments; it is also a fantastic career choice. Several of you freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors may be entering the new school year with an open mind (maybe not everyone!) and will strive to be productive. You may also be wondering about what you want to do with your life: where you will see yourself in the next 5, 10, 15 years down the road. A step to take in this pursuit is to identify what your passions, strengths, and even weaknesses are in life, and where you see yourself with those attributes. From thereon out, you can hone your strengths and look for careers that fit you and your lifestyle.

If being dedicated, interested in the sciences, working with your hands, and changing lives sounds like something that is of interest to you then dentistry may be the career for you! If so, consider the testing timeline: many juniors take the DAT (Dental Admissions Test, mandatory to be eligible to apply for admission into a dental school) over the summer before their senior year.

Since we are situated in the state of NY, here are four schools in New York that have a dental school:

1.) New York University
2.) SUNY – Stony Brook University
3.) SUNY – Buffalo
4.) Columbia University

All of these schools have stringent application requirements, with a competitive GPA of at least 3.6 overall, and 3.5 in science. Now, you may be wondering, “not everyone has that GPA! My friend had lower and got into that school.” In fact, every case is different. There are many things to take into consideration when an admissions committee goes over your application file, but believe the emphasis is on the DAT Score and GPA, although extracurriculars, personal Statements, and interviews are still important.

The DAT is a test composed of 6 sections: Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, QR (math), Reading Comprehension, and PAT. Now hold up there, what the heck is a PAT, you may ask? The PAT is the perceptual ability test, and its purpose is to exam your perception skills and spatial acuity. A competitive DAT score, for matriculation, is usually around 20 for both, overall (Academic Average), and science (Total Science). Usually a solid applicant would also have great extracurriculars, something revolving around shadowing a dentist for over 100 hours (personally, I’d recommend 200+, as 100+ has become the norm). I would also suggest volunteering at as many places as you can–nothing will hurt you! You can volunteer at a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, a hospital, a dental clinic, physical therapy center, or whatever you may find interesting.

Community service is also important. Working with food banks is a great initiative. Leadership skills are also a huge boost to one’s application. Starting a club, running for a position at a current club, perhaps even a Pre-Dental one can certainly help. Research is always benefice. Albeit some schools might not focus on it much, you never know when it might stand out, and perhaps in an interview you’ll strike a chord and have something to connect to with your interviewer.

Writing a strong personal statement is also essential to a complete application. Revising it will most likely take several weeks, if not months. That is not to say that it takes a long, hard, grueling time to write a P.S., but more so to prove a point that when you write your P.S., you should consider making it the best representation of you, that you can possibly make–and that usually requires a ton of rewrites and revisions!

Finally, there is the interview step before the wonderful & elusive letter of acceptance! Interviewing skills can be improved; all it takes is practice. Meet with an advisor or a good friend, your parent, a sibling or anyone you know, who can be professional and improvise questions for half an hour so you can practice your responses. It is in fact an arduous journey, but a very worthwhile one as well. Dentistry, pound-for-pound, in my opinion, is considered the best healthcare career in the world. Don’t believe me? Have a look yourself:

My final suggestion is this: it’s extremely difficult to come out swinging and get a 20 flush on the DAT if your performance in undergraduate classes has been lackluster. That’s not to say that a C+ in General Chemistry  ensures you a 17 on the DAT, but in reality, consistent Cs or Bs will show a student who doesn’t have a competency to undergo a rigorous dental curriculum. Getting As in your science, as well as other classes, will show dental schools that you have what it takes to become a Doctor of Dental Surgery. Work hard, never, ever, ever, give up, and grind through it. Whether you’re a step away from dental school or you haven’t even started the process, every journey begins with one step. Like my advisor always tells me, “make sure to smell the roses along the way”!