My path to becoming a dentist was not as straight and obvious as one would imagine. My father is a dentist, so the logical conclusion is that I chose this career because of my father. That is, however, not the case. Many things lead up to my choice, and now I can say, with certainty, that twenty-one years of practicing has helped me to develop my own practice philosophy I approach my patients with today.
Initially, my studies in college were focused on the sciences in preparation for a career in orthopedic medicine. I majored in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience at the University of California at San Diego, a school with such competition that 5 of the 8 people I lived with my freshman year were valedictorians in high school. I studied chemistry, organic chemistry, molecular biology, biochemistry, took numerous biology classes, and enrolled in concurrent labs. Yet I debated over the career that these intense studies would lead to.
I immersed myself in a variety of sciences to determine first-hand what I enjoyed. For 3 years, I worked at La Jolla Cancer Research Facility, contemplating pursuing a Ph.d. I chose to volunteer at numerous places, including veterinarian offices, podiatry, emergency rooms, and ICUs at hospitals. And yes, dental offices. In addition to my interest in the sciences, I have always had a love for creativity. Painting and drawing were special passions of mine growing up and a career that allowed me to work with my hands was incredibly attractive. I found that dentistry was an appealing combination of science, art, medicine, and direct patient care, which led me to the next stage of applying to dental school. I chose Northwestern University Dental School from the 7 schools I was accepted to, noted at the time as one of the top dental schools in the country.
Committed to continuing my education past the four years of dental school, I trained as a dental resident at Loyola University Medical Center, a level-one trauma center, even though I could have easily instead gone directly into private practice with my father. This exposed me to emergency medicine, internal medicine, anesthesiology, general and oral surgery, and advanced training in medically compromised dental care. Now, twenty-one years later, I am proud of the over 700 continuing education hours I have accumulated, my fellowship in the Academy of Dentistry which only 6% of all combined U.S. and Canadian dentists have achieved, and my leadership in the dental community as the president of The Maimonides Dental Society.
It is rewarding for me to have cared for generations of families at Fallsgrove Center for Dentistry, watch children grow and go to college, caring for people through marriages and children. I have found that the most gratifying dentistry for me is to provide a well-rounded variety of care to my patients that only my advanced training and long career have afforded me. Whether it is fillings, crowns, cosmetic dentistry, root canals, surgery, or routine care, I feel great satisfaction knowing that I have contributed to my patients’ oral health. I have known and cared for many people I have come to know through two decades and, beyond their dental care, the greatest reward is building relationships and trust with people. They know I have seen them on a weekend for emergency needs and met them at my office at midnight. They know they are treated as though they are part of my family. This is the type of dentist I am proud to say I have become.