Choi Chung, RPh, BSc Pharm
Earlier this week, we featured our first inter-professional interview with Mary Kreshon, a physician assistant from Tennessee. One of the values at Orbis Health is to help patients make informed decisions about their health; in order to facilitate this, we’ve created this interview series to raise awareness of the different professionals and their roles and involvement in health care.
Today, we have Julia Freidenberg, a 4th-year dental student at the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California. We’re very excited to have her today as she shares more about her profession and the role of dentists in healthcare.
#1 First off, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed, Julia. Tell us a bit about yourself!
Thank you very much for having me! Like Orbis Health, I hold that same value of helping patients make informed decisions through health promotion and education. It is a privilege to speak with you today. I am currently a 4th-year dental student at Western University of Health Sciences. My rotational residency is in downtown Los Angeles, serving the underprivileged at a health clinic that provides free or reduced dental care. I will graduate this upcoming May, and I could not be more thrilled to start practicing in the greater LA community. Prior to dental school, I attended the University of California, San Diego, where I majored in psychology and also took prerequisite classes that permitted my application to dental school. While at UCSD, I competed for the NCAA women’s volleyball team. I am originally from Seattle, Washington, where my parents reside. I have an older brother, Aaron, who currently is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at West Point Military Academy in New York. I also have an identical twin sister, Lauren, who is a practicing Civil Rights Attorney in San Diego.
#2 Can you tell us about your profession and what you’d like to focus your practice on once you graduate?
Dentistry is such a rewarding profession. I get to instill confidence and self-esteem in my patients by creating new and healthy smiles. My patients are always so appreciative and thankful, which makes the entire process even more gratifying. It is a team effort, from assistants to the schedule coordinator. We really emphasize oral health education, preventative treatment, and, most of all, a comfortable atmosphere. I hope to one day own my own practice in Beverly Hills where I can do cosmetic dentistry and cater to the fine details of aesthetic dentistry.
#3 What does a day-to-day look like for the typical dentist (or the field you’d like to eventually practice in e.g. dental surgery, etc.)?
It is a wonderful feeling to get excited when I look at my daily calendar in the morning–not only do I get to practice my passion, but I also get to be challenged because the procedures are always subject to change. As a general dentist, I diagnose, create treatment plans for new patients, and also perform fillings and crowns. Operations can also include aesthetic work (like veneers) and can overlap with orthodontics to include Invisalign, simple oral surgery, and denture work. Each subcategory allows me to stay creative and stay involved in all steps of my patient’s oral health. The first patient is usually 8:00 A.M. with 30-minute appointments scheduled until around 3:00 P.M. We see all age ranges, from kids as young as 1 year old to the geriatric population upwards of 80 years old. It is fast paced, but efficient and meticulous at the same time.
#4 What was it that drew you into the field of dentistry?
The dentist that treated me in high school is the one who inspired me to go to dental school. She was so genuine and charismatic. She owned her own practice, was still involved in raising her family in a happy marriage and made me feel so comfortable when I was in the operating chair. Her work ethic and personality had a profound impact on me that made me want to pursue dentistry. My dad is also in the medical field and has worked as an emergency physician for over 35 years. He has always been an inspiration to me, throughout my childhood and through today. Dentistry gives me the freedom to create my own schedule, own a business, and provide my patients with a humanistic treatment plan, a core value that I hold dear to my heart.
#5 What is one of the top pieces of dental advice you’d like to share with the public?
Don’t be afraid to come see us! My philosophy is to combine dentistry and friendship under the same roof. I look forward to every patient I see on the schedule, and I hope to foster a level of comfort whenever a patient enters the operatory. I always want to have open communication with my patients so they understand every step of the appointment. If you are uncomfortable, it means we’re not doing our job. That’s because the practice of dentistry goes beyond pure diagnosis and includes preventative measures and education about oral health. When patients are comfortable and have the right information, trips to the dentist are much less stressful.
#6 Where can our audience reach you if they have any further questions for you?
I would love to open up a dialogue for anyone interested in this field, or for anyone who has thoughts they would like to share about dental practice. Please feel free to contact me via any form of social media with questions or comments. It has been an absolute pleasure speaking with you, and I look forward to hearing from anyone with questions or comments! Thank you so much.