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Mom, Mom! I cried as I ran inside the house with blood covering my chin.

My mother rushed
over to me to examine my mouth as I pointed to the exposed pulp of an incisor. Before long, my mom
had me strapped into the car with the same seatbelt that clanked me in the mouth to begin this ordeal.
On the way to the dentist, my mouth throbbed with pain but I only felt the insecurity of whether my
mouth would ever look the same. Awhile after the root canal, when I realized that other kids didnt
notice my repaired tooth and my self-esteem had healed, I felt enormous gratitude towards Dr.
Hoffman for repairing my tooth. Seeing his artistic creation, I fell in love with dentistry as a profession.

Growing up, I learned how to sew so that my blue jeans lasted longer, but I didnt imagine that
that skill would come in handy during an emergency. At a fishing trip, with a desire to learn how an
engine worked, my inquisitive cousin Cayden got too close to the person pulling the cord to start the
engine of our boat and accidentally caught an elbow to the forehead which opened a gash. Being three
hours from a hospital and with night approaching, I calmly sutured my cousins gash. As the bleeding
stopped, my cousin smiled and gave me a hug. I knew at that moment that I wanted to have manual
involvement in my future profession-thus solidifying my desire to become a dentist.

To learn more about dentistry, I started shadowing Dr. Pluym. At his office, I met a new patient
John, whod been having some tooth pain due to extensive decay. The dentist recommended extracting
the problematic teeth and incorporating more crowns into his existing removable partial. Despite having
insurance that would completely cover the costs of treatment, the patient felt hesitant to proceed
forward with the recommended treatment. Noticing the hesitation, Dr. Pluym explained that the cavities
couldnt be filled since the restoration wouldnt be structurally sound. As the dentist emphatically
listened, he discovered that the patient didnt want an addition to his partial because it wasnt
comfortable in the first place. After Dr. Pluym adjusted the occlusal contacts, a satisfied John agreed to
proceed with the treatment. Dr. Pluyms empathy and interactive approach reminded me of my time
working at Luther Manor Nursing Home. Here, Norma, a resident, consistently refused to have other
aides apply the eye drops that treated her glaucoma. Upon meeting her, we started chatting about how
much she enjoyed spending the day before with her family. Once we finished talking, she allowed me to
apply Latanoprost to her eyes. I also showed her where to apply pressure in the corner of her eyes so
that the medication would stay localized and be more effective. Before I left the room, Norma surprised
me by cupping my wrist with both hands and saying, Thank you, no ones ever shown me that before.

Aside from bonding with patients, dentistry requires repetitive practice and attention to details.
During my first wrestling season as a high school freshman, I learned that my technique wasnt well-
polished as I only squeaked out two wins on Junior Varsity that season. I soon became a student of the
sport as I attended camps to learn new techniques during the off-season. Later, I realized that in order
to have more energy, I needed to break the wrestler norm of depriving oneself of water prior to a
weigh-in. I dedicated myself to eating only whole foods which allowed me to naturally make my weight
class. By practicing year-round and with my diet in check, that struggling freshman wrestler found
himself as a varsity competitor on the sectional stage for a chance at going to state as a junior. I believe
that the same work ethic for practicing and paying attention to details can be applied to my pursuit of
becoming a competent dentist.

Through calmly healing my cousin that night near the lake and through my work at Luther
Manor, I acquired two major characteristics that a dentist needs: patience and the ability to build
relationships. I also learned to overcome my weaknesses, as its evident from my wrestling career. Being
willing to wake up early to work towards my goals means that I can be successful in any of my pursuits.
If teaching others to improve their oral health along with being able to relieve others of pain are
components of being a dentist, then dentistry is the vocation that Im going to pursue.