OP-ED: Growing Shortage of African American Dentists

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By Jacquelyn M. Williams, DDS

What seems important to stress is not only the benefits of brushing and flossing but what an incredible career this is, and the fact that Black dentists are disappearing from the health field.

Schools that traditionally were all Black schools are not anymore. Black dental students at California schools, like UCLA where I attended – and we represented 10 percent of the students – now have maybe one Black person in a class, if that.

Anyone who has an interest in the sciences, works well with their hands, and wants to help people should think about dentistry as a career.

On a daily basis, dentists can make a difference in people’s health and well being. I have seen people be transformed after having their smile changed.

They don’t have to cover their mouth when they speak, aren’t embarrassed anymore when they smile and they are free of pain. They have a twinkle in their eyes and they are better groomed because they have accepted a better standard of care for themselves.

In other words, they feel good.

Black History Month is a time for reflection. When thinking about career options, think about becoming a dentist.

Don’t let the Black dentists die out – think of dentistry as a career choice.

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