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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Dentists give students advice

    They share a love of teeth.

    With increasing competition in the dental field, members of Delta Delta Sigma, the UA’s pre-dental club, got an edge last night as they met with professional dentists, orthodontists and endodontists who shared stories and offered career advice.

    “”This is an opportunity for us to communicate with local dentists and to try and set up a way for us to shadow or intern with them,”” said Shaharyar Ashraf, president of Delta Delta Sigma and a molecular and cellular biology senior.

    Dr. Oscar Pena, an endodontist, said 1,500 to 2,000 students apply to dental school per year – competing for only 80 to 100 spots.

    “”It’s a long process with a hectic course load, and getting through the application process can get discouraging,”” he said.

    But Delta Delta Sigma not only provides an opportunity for students to network with professionals; they also get to hear advice from dentists around Tucson, Ashraf said.

    “”It’s my personal preference to look for a student with intellectual curiosity,”” said Dr. Chris Douville, an endodontist. “”I can’t imagine anyone not finding that attribute attractive.””

    Above all, the dentists told students they should know this is what they want to do as a career.

    “”I’ve always wanted to be a dentist,”” said Dr. Binh Tran, a general dentist. “”Since I was 6 years old, I flossed my dad’s teeth and saved all my baby teeth. I’ve just always loved teeth.””

    But Pena said students sometimes don’t have a clear picture of what dentistry is.

    “”I want to be a dentist because of all the different offerings,”” said Erick Carlucci, a pre-physiology sophomore. “”It’s a very versatile field, and I personally want to be an orthodontist because I like working with kids.””

    But the field also comes with difficult experiences, Pena said.

    “”A lot of it is about psychology and dealing with people from different backgrounds and helping them overcome their fear or pain,”” Pena said.

    “”One of my hardest experiences was seeing patients rolled in on a stretch bed and they can’t move,”” Tran said. “”It hits you emotionally because all you can do is focus on their mouth.””

    Delta Delta Sigma has over 100 students subscribed to its Listserv, with an average of 20 to 30 students at each bi-weekly meeting, according to Ashraf.

    “”The club has existed for eight to nine years and has steadily been growing in numbers,”” said Nancy Stiller, a faculty adviser and a coordinator at the pre-health professions advising center.

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