At 16 years old, I had to make a huge decision, what did I want to be. FOREVER. I was extremely fortunate, that I had good grades and that university in Scotland was free. I knew I wanted to help people, and medicine initially seemed like the obvious choice. I then learned the extraordinary hours that junior doctors work. Dentistry was still clinical, and aimed at making people smile.
Was it in the genes?
My lovely mother was a dental nurse for 25 years and as a result, I grew up with plenty of dental role models. I loved going to the dentist and hygienist because it meant I got to see my mum (who was normally so busy working.) And that weird smell that most people associate with the dentist? It reminds me of my mum. I guess it was natural that I would enjoy spending time here.
Traditionally, dentistry was an apprenticeship which makes sense as it is a very practical profession that requires a lot of manual dexterity and practise to become proficient. I remember being terrified the first time I took a tooth out – I knew it was irreversible. (and what if it was accidentally the wrong one!) Thankfully the terror quickly gave way to elation when I realised I’d cured the pain that had kept that patient awake for nights on end. The patient was delighted and I had made a difference and improved that person’s life.
I trained at the University of Dundee for seven years and graduated in 2010. Ironically, I didn’t join the Royal Air Force (RAF) because you had to sign up for seven years minimum. I’m forever grateful that I ticked the dentistry box on my university form.
I am blessed to have found a profession that I absolutely love, that allows me to meet new people everyday from all walks of life. Hopefully when I see you, we’ll both be smiling.