My practicum allowed me to witness the practical application of science in an everyday setting. I learned about the anatomy of the human mouth as well as all of the chemical reactions that can lead to harmful effects in the body if the mouth is not properly taken care of. Being able to shadow at a dentist’s office has given me a much greater appreciation for the profession. There is much more to being a dentist than cleaning teeth or constructing new ones. The ability of the team of dentists to come together to determine the cause of the problem as well as the best course of action for treatment was truly impressive. Furthermore, the artistic aspect of dentistry was something I had never considered before but after shadowing dentists have learned is a very important feature of the profession. After placing a bridge, crown, implantation, or filling, it is imperative that this new “tooth” be shaped correctly so that not too much pressure is placed on it. If the shape is incorrect by even a tiny bit it can cause serious harm in the form of cavities and jaw damage. This aspect of dentistry is something unexpected but definitely added to my appreciation and respect of dental professionals.
The completion of my practicum has influenced my plans for the future. I had been contemplating whether being a doctor, dentist, or veterinarian was best for me. While I greatly enjoyed my time at the dentist office, I have come to the conclusion that dentistry is not the field I want to go into; therefore, I plan on shadowing a doctor as well as a veterinarian in order to determine which path is right for me. Even though I do not plan on going into dentistry this practicum has led me to realize how much I like the process of taking x-rays and reading them to determine the source of the problem; consequently, I am considering the fact that radiology may be a possible career path that I would enjoy. Finally, I have learned from this experience that I take pleasure in positively impacting someone’s life which is something I would like to continue to do no matter what career path I find myself taking.