How I Became a Dentist

My interest in the field of dentistry was born as a result of a childhood fantasy. I had a curious toothache that troubled me constantly. My father, who in my naïve and impressionable mind knew the answer to everything, explained that the pain comes from these tiny worms living inside my tooth and eating away at it. He promised that my dentist would put the worms to asleep and remove them with her dental instruments. I was intrigued and became fascinated with the art and science of dentistry. Armed with a healthy desire to ask inquisitive questions, I envisioned a career that was dedicated to alleviating pain and suffering using delicate skills and intricate instruments.

I used my childhood experience as a stepping stone to launch my pursuit of a career as a dentist. In high school, I majored in the biological sciences and worked on building a solid foundation to help me excel on the entrance exam for the dental school. Through hard work and dedication and invaluable guidance of my teachers and mentors, I was able to rank 69 amongst more than one million applicants and secure a place in the country's most prestigious dental school.

During the six years of my training, I developed a deep respect for general practices of dentistry and focused on honing my skills at providing effective and superior care to my patients. During the same period, I utilized a unique opportunity to assist one of my maxillofacial faculties in a project aimed at characterizing sea shells as an alternative material for enhancing bone structure and regeneration capacity after implant surgery. I chose to evolve this project into my thesis and worked on developing an animal model to carry my experiments in. My commitment and work ethic combined with the mentorship of my faculty earned me a spot on the Dean's list and my thesis was ultimately accepted as the best doctoral thesis in the field of dentistry in 2005.

Upon completion of my D.D.S. degree, I enlisted as a dentist in the military to satisfy my mandatory service requirements. I used this opportunity to improve my patient skills and gain valuable experience in performing routine dental procedures especially in oral surgery and extraction.

Growing up, I had a very close relationship with my grandmother.  I remember that she repeatedly complained of discomfort due to her dentures and had several adjustments done. Her lighthearted demeanor and lovely soul made it difficult to see her in distress. I was in high school when we decided to take her to a dentist who informed her that dental implants might pose a better alternative; however, she would need a synthetic bone graft since she did not have sufficient bone to support the implants. We tried on several occasions to convince her, and finally she agreed to the treatment. She first had the bone graft done with success and several months after, she underwent implant placement. Shortly after the treatment, she was no longer in discomfort. It further reinforced my commitment and desire to become a dentist, and taught me that dentists must always give patients every treatment option available and help make desired options realities.

This experience sparkled in me a special interest in the area of implants. Shortly after my mandatory military service, I signed up for dental implant courses at the Tehran University. I found myself back in the lab doing research that resulted into many publications in prestigious journals including the JIDA and many conference presentations. Our research group was very innovative and we managed to design and manufacture a new brand of dental implants that was patented and widely used across Iran. During my post graduate experience, I tried not to lose touch with the academics. In order to master my expertise, I attended a class on research and development offered by Iran Technology, Research and Education Center. This provided me with the opportunity to work closely with the professors at my school with whom I organized some workshops that were focused on training the university students and residents about the advantages of the NSS Implant System and the specific techniques for proper implant impression and prosthesis.

My first degree relatives immigrated to the US long ago and in search for a better environment to continue my education and find groundbreaking research opportunities, I decided to come to the US. I passed the NBDE exams and started observing as a volunteer in the USC Dental School to become more familiar with the approaches and the new techniques used in the US. I am currently collaborating with a resident at USC on a pain management project. My mosaic of experiences, which are most brilliantly highlighted by the achievements I have attained thus far, illustrates my passion for dentistry. I look forward to the prospect of commencing my dental career as a member of your educational community.