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Patients, Patience and Smiles


The concept of being a dentist is one thing, but AB Abera ’19 wanted a sense of the day-to-day reality of the career, so he took a summer internship at Shefferman Orthodontics in Washington, D.C.  On the job he’s been a stand-up guy, but it isn’t always easy. Abera answered some questions for us about his internship.

How did the internship come about?

I found out about this opportunity through Leslie Bell, who is the prehealth advisor at Hamilton.

What’s the best part about it so far?

The best part about it is meeting new patients every day and having fun conversations with them.

About AB ABera ’19

Major: Biochemistry/Molecular Biology

Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

High School: Myers Park

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What’s the most challenging part?

The most challenging part for me was standing all day, every day, because being a dental assistant requires standing a lot. But, I’m glad because now I know my legs are stronger than ever before :).

Why do you want to be a dentist?

I want to be a dentist mainly because I want to provide affordable services to low income communities who suffer from poor oral health…. Good dental service is usually expensive, especially for people with low income. However, I’d want to provide good quality service at an affordable price, so that everyone can get access to good oral health. As a dentist, I would get so much joy after restoring a person’s dentition, so they can enjoy food again —  and (I) get immense satisfaction after relieving their oral pain and suffering.

Another main reason why I want to be a dentist is because I want to give people the best smile they could have. Better smile means better confidence and a sign of holistic wellbeing.

Can you describe a moment or experience during your internship that you think you’ll remember for a long time?

One time a patient walked in, and all the dental assistants looked at her and looked at each other. At first, I didn’t know what was going on. After one of the assistants did the initial work, the doctor entered the patient’s room to follow up with her treatment. The doctor explained to her the progress she has had so far, and what needs to be done next. However, the patient kept insisting that he should do it differently, even though he kept telling her that it won’t work any other way. She kept insisting for almost 15 minutes, while the doctor patiently explained to her and asked her to let him do what he needs to do.

I was amazed by the doctor’s patience and how he kept his cool the entire time. The dental assistants told me that the patient does that in all her appointments, until she agrees at the end. I’d never forget that incident and how it taught me to be patient.

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