How I Became a Dentist

By Dr. Karnakova

I grew up in Russia. One of my first visits to a dentist was for a root canal treatment on a permanent molar. I was 9 years old. First the dentist refused to see me  and sent me home with pain and high fever from the dental infection. Then when I came back the day after this female dr put me in the dental chair and started chatting with her coworker for 20 min while I was shivering from fear , pain and anticipation. Then without any anesthesia ( no numbing) she did my root canal treatment.

That was the day when I decided that I ll be any kind of doctor but a dentist. That decision was reinforced by many other visits when dentists kept fixing and removing my teeth with no anesthesia while openly judging me for passing out from pain and my parents for raising me to be too gentle and impressionable.

Later in life when I was 16 and there was time to pick a profession ( in Russia it happens early) I met and shadowed for a day my mother's friend, an oral surgeon. A petit incredibly intelligent woman with a huge heart, so kind and compassionate that you could see the light coming out of her. Patients, from little children to  huge men who were perhaps five  times bigger than her,  would come scared  in anticipation of a torture and she would make the procedure painless and fast while being so caring and sweet that everybody would immediately relax in her delicate hands. And then I thought:  if I could become  a dentist like her...  then there would  be two of us.

That's what made me stick with the decision of becoming a dentist.

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