What possessed you to become a dentist?
As a busy professional with an active social life I spend my life meeting new people. One of the most common questions I am asked is “what possessed you to become a dentist?”.
I was around 14 when I first began to consider my options. We were having to make subject choices for our school exams and it made sense to start forward planning. My favourite subjects at school were Maths and Chemistry, which was a good start. In later years I picked up Biology and Physics and found I had an aptitude for them too. Lucky for me I also performed well in English, and loved Art and Music. I was a bit of an all rounder.
I instinctively knew that I would choose one of the caring professions. Nursing, physiotherapy, dentistry, medicine, pharmacology, chiropody and opthalmology all featured on my list of possibilities. My experience of health care at that age was very limited. I had been blessed with good health and my dental experience had always been positive, but I did have an ill grandfather at the time, and was fascinated by the hospital when we visited. I was in awe of the monitors and the efficiency of the staff. I remember admiring the team work and the integration of the different specialties and was sure I was making the right decision to pursue a career in health care.
By good fortune, my uncle met his wife that year. She was young and bubbly and I was surprised and delighted to hear that she was a dentist. Hearing her talk about her work really opened my eyes to the potential of a dental career and it quickly climbed the list of possibilities. Meeting my new aunt was probably the pivotal moment as she gave me the confidence that becoming a dentist was a goal I could achieve.
From that meeting I organised some work experience in local general dental practices. I also visited the community dental service and visited a Dental Hospital. I researched the course content and the requirements of a dental student, and was delighted when my exam results came through and discovered I had enough credits to apply.
The next stage was an acceptance interview which aged 17 was really quite a tough experience. Thankfully I was accepted and I was enrolled in the next intake.
Dental school was both the hardest and most enjoyable period of my life. Long semesters, short holidays and relentless exams were the norm, but the reward was knowing you were growing as a person, becoming a professional, and achieving clinical competency. I will not forget the emotion I experienced standing in front of the results list learning that I had passed my final exams.
I am glad to say I have never looked back. I will not say that being a dentist is an easy career – far from it, but I am now 10 years qualified and can still say that dentistry excites me. There is always something new to learn, or a challenge to discuss. The job is dynamic, and we are always evolving.
So to answer the question – good grades, good fortune and a caring personality ultimately led me to dentistry. Would I do it again?…. Absolutely.
Dr Gillian Pozzi – BDS, MFDS RCSEd
Last updated May 2nd, 2018