Personal statement for a Medical/Dental Masters application

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve people's smiles. Taking on the Globalization of Selfie Perfection, one smile at a time, is a noble quest. I get it. And I respect that motivation.

But for me, there’s more to it than that. A lot more.

I’m more intrigued, more fascinated, and definitely more concerned with the many layers behind that perfect smile; the stuff you don’t see, what’s really going on with a person’s oral health and what it can mean to their overall health, holistically, for the rest of their lives.

There’s absolutely nothing glamorous about periodontics. It comes with very little fanfare. I don’t expect any of the numerous dental missions I plan on completing to ever make CNN headlines, and I don’t expect to ever be touted as a hero, because dental and oral health is simply not seen as a life-saving profession. But some of us do recognize that it sometimes can be, to an extent we haven’t even fully recognized yet. If I can change just a few people’s mindsets about the consequences and yes, sometimes the dangers of, poor oral health, then I will be motivated to continue to do it over and over again.

I could have chosen medicine. I grew up around a variety of perfect healers. My grandfather was an internist; my grandmother a radiologist. My mother is a dentist. For me, my mother’s role in human health was never any less critical than that of my grandparents. My exposure to those various areas of medicine drove that belief. My opportunity to make a real comparison was extremely valuable. I credit my mother’s amazing work for the start of my fascination, but during my many hours spent helping out at her practice as a young girl, and browsing her countless dental manuals, it was never the perfect smile that captivated me, it was the images and videos of oral surgeries, the discoveries of life-threatening diseases that were detected during oral exams, and the extensive physical treatments that can be applied to the mouth and teeth. Much of what plagues our oral health can be treated without drugs. But it takes an awareness and understanding of more than just how to keep teeth looking pretty.

We already know some of the adverse effects that poor oral health can have on one’s total health, and I believe we’ll continue to discover more.

My plans include expanding my mother’s cosmetic dentistry practice to include a periodontal partner (me). I also plan on traveling to under-served areas and not only treating but educating people about oral health. I’ll take my mother with me because between the two of us, smiles around the world will not only be pretty, but healthy.

I’m very excited about this pursuit and I’m energized by what my research has revealed about your establishment. It’s not for the faint of heart, I hear. The workload is tougher, the demands are greater, and I celebrate that because what that says to me is that when I succeed inside your walls, I’ll be more prepared and ready for success no matter where I go next. 

Rachel Landry

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Copyright Rachel Landry Writing 2019