Dr. Toniya Raut- Bachelor of dental surgery (BDS) commonly Known as dentistry; is a branch of medicine precisely focusing on oral health and is inclusive of the head and neck region. Dentistry is not only focused on 32 teeth as generally perceived .

I take pride in broaching myself as a “dentist”, but it took me a decade to realize and be vocal about it. The thing that shaped my thought process was unbiased teachings about medical sciences from my parents who never focused just on medicine. Dentistry was always my first choice, and I was loud about it nevertheless this is often a 2nd choice for most of the aspiring students who want to pursue career in the field of medicine. Most of the aspiring students opt for BDS who circumstantially miss joining the Doctor of Medicine & Doctor of Surgery (MBBS) program. FYI: I had the opportunity to join MBBS, but BDS was not my option, rather was my career motivation.

The oral cavity is a mirror of the entire general health status of an individual.  Every systemic disease has a direct impact on oral health. Hence a BDS graduate should have a thorough knowledge of the entire physiology of human body. However, dentistry has a banner for its ‘limited study with small anatomic location and yes easy to go’. Let me highlight one point here that dentistry also deals with the dorsal cavity that houses the central nervous system, so do I need to elaborate more on how important the central nervous system is that comprises of brain :). Some so-called very educated elites do pass derogatory remarks about dentistry, and rather than getting offended, I feel sorry for them.

 I have witnessed many parents and seniors advocating for students to join BDS bribing that “you don’t have to do emergency duty and you would have ample family time“…. like seriously ! Finding a job to do with devotion is a personal preference and that has nothing to do with the subject you chose to have career in.  Doctors working in emergency have their family life and are equally devoted to their family as well and just for the clarification, dentist also have emergency hours!!

I, being an oral pathologist; have invested my hours in reading a single slide and flipping the textbook of pathology to come up with the diagnosis of the biopsy that I encountered from my patient. I personally believe it was my duty and feel accomplished that I contributed to the betterment of my patient. It is this field that has proved that losing a tooth is not a sign of aging, rather, if maintained it persists till the last moment of our life. The statement like, “oh you are going to take care of teeth only”, kind of remarks from fellow are full of sarcasm at times but let me tell you one thing, oral medicine has gained its importance beyond the comprehension.

As for example, forensic medicine where dental identification is must or the diagnosis of oral cancer or the oral pain, to name a few.  It is dentistry that has imparted smile to the beauty, prosthetic eye to the confidence, public awareness for oral cancer… and there are endless contributions that is beyond the scope of this article!!!

I will take this opportunity to share that not just dentistry, but every profession deserves a respect. We can’t achieve greatness by demeaning others. Not saying that dentistry is the best field for everyone but just because you do something else doesn’t give you a right to ridicule any other field. And yes, we do have many flaws in the field of dentistry as in any field that needs to be addressed like: women do the dentistry, or if you don’t get in MBBS then you opt for BDS and at instances malpractice.

But on contrary, some of my role model in the field are men as well as women and there are so many for whom BDS is the first choice.  I am not writing this to gain applause for myself, or for my profession or subject. I would like to acknowledge the fact that no matter what others think of you or your profession it is you who is responsible to give grace and dignity to your profession and position.

(Acknowledgement: I would like to thank Dr. Namrata GR Raut for her guidance.)

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