American Dental Association Meeting 2023

ADA Meeting

Have you ever wondered why someone chooses dentistry as a career? I recently had the opportunity to chat with a dental student at the American Dental Association (ADA) Meeting in 2023, and her story left me inspired.

Growing up, she saw the impact her parents had on their community through their small gas station. This sense of community and the desire to make a larger impact fueled her passion for a career that combined science, artistry, and personal connections. That’s why she chose dentistry.

American Dental Association Meeting 2023
American Dental Association Meeting 2023

Embracing Challenges

ADA Meeting

Starting dental school during the uncertain times of 2020 posed its own challenges. However, she turned this difficult period into an opportunity to build a sense of community. Joining the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) provided her with a platform to use her voice and contribute to something she deeply cared about—wellness.

The Connection between Oral Care and Overall Health

ADA Meeting

During our conversation, we delved into the importance of oral care and its impact on overall health. Many patients view dental issues as isolated incidents or inevitable outcomes. However, she discovered that personal experiences and circumstances often manifest in oral health problems.

By engaging her patients in conversations about their lives, she found the root causes of their dental issues. It became clear that oral care goes beyond a simple routine—it encompasses having a dental home, a safe place where patients can find care, community, and support.

Shining a Light on Mental Wellness

ADA Meeting

The intersection of wellness, mental health, and dentistry is a fascinating and crucial area that often goes unnoticed. Dentists have the unique opportunity to see their patients more frequently than other healthcare providers. This allows them to have conversations about not only oral care but also mental health.

From anxiety-induced teeth grinding to the impact of depression on gum disease, these discussions enable dentists to address both oral and mental health concerns. By creating touchpoints for patients, students, faculty, and staff, dental schools like Tufts University are shaping a future where mental wellness is a fundamental part of dentistry.

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A Movement Towards Total Care

ADA Meeting

As our conversation continued, we discussed the future of dentistry and the importance of using every patient interaction as an opportunity for genuine engagement. It’s crucial to remind providers that the time spent with patients in the chair is valuable and that they can make a profound impact on their overall well-being.

Encouraging young dentists to find their passion and go beyond their obligations, whether it’s through organized dentistry, academia, research, or clinical care, is essential. By igniting their excitement and commitment, we can create a chain effect that will improve wellness and prevention in our society.

Conclusion: Igniting Change

ADA Meeting

The American Dental Association Meeting in 2023 showcased the dedication and passion of dental professionals like the student I had the pleasure of speaking with. It’s clear that dentistry is not just about clinical care—it’s about building communities, addressing the connection between oral and overall health, and prioritizing mental wellness.

As we navigate the future, let’s remember the words of this inspiring dental student: Find your passion, take it a step further, and be excited about making a true impact. Together, we can create a movement that transforms lives and improves the well-being of individuals and communities.

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