There are a vast number of career options to choose from but dental hygiene has always been my passion. I have always been asked why I want to pursue a dental career and my answer only expands as I continue to learn more every day regarding this field of work. As a child with many siblings, I would always go to the dentist in a group which included my younger brother Omar who has autism. Observing his inability to sit quietly in a waiting room chair or do what was asked by the dentist, I witnessed something I could never forget. Although Omar’s situation was different from the rest of the patients who had come to the office, the dentist accommodated him in a way I didn’t expect. He immediately took Omar in as soon as we had arrived at the office because he understood the challenges he faced and his incapability of waiting for a long period of time. The dentist never rushed Omar even though he took a relatively longer time in the examination room than any of his other patients. He patiently waited for Omar to respond, he maneuvered around his various bursts of movements and engaged him in a manner that allowed him to be comfortable while continuing with the examination.
I always admired my dentist, which seemed a bit strange since most people try to avoid visiting a dental office and most children tend to be frightened. Having this type of experience made dentistry intriguing to me. I would always want to play the role of a dentist in every game my siblings and I would play. However, it was not until Omar had to get dental crowns placed did I realize how infatuated I was with becoming a dental hygienist. Omar has always been the center of my household and has changed the lives of every person in my family. When Omar needed crowns placed, he had to be sedated because he was unable to fully comprehend what was being done or to sit still for the procedure. It was traumatizing observing the assistants strap Omar’s legs and arms in order to sedate him while I stood there unable to ease his pain or confusion. The dentist was trying his hardest to be comforting but to no avail, I realized then what I wanted to be – I wanted to be someone that could prevent these types of situations from occurring. As I explored more into the dental field, I realized that the role I wanted was that of a dental hygienist. I then applied to NYC College of Technology’s Dental Hygiene Program and got in! I was one step closer to pursuing my dream, and now, as a graduate, I am ready to go out there and help individuals take care of their oral health and implement preventative oral health strategies.