miamorcita2008

10+ Year Member
Apr 23, 2008
3
0
Status
Pre-Dental
I am a Mexican-American woman who is thinking about attending Dental School in the future. The problem is that I may not be your average applicant. In June of 2005, when I was in the Marine Corps, I was injured by a car bomb in Fallujah, Iraq. The accident left me with third degree burns on my hands, nose, eyes, lips. I look pretty normal with the exception of my hands which can cause quite a few heads to stare at me, which is quite discomforting. I fear that my physical appearance combined with my ethnicity and gender will detract from my academic accomplishments. I am aware that appearance matters in society and thus concerned. I would like your honest opinions. Thank you
 

li1p0ptart

Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 27, 2006
138
0
35
California
Status
Dental Student
I don't feel that any of those things should be a factor in whether or not you are accepted to dental school. However, the gender and ethnicity factor may actually be a plus - many schools want their student body to be more diverse. I am also mexican-american and I feel it helped me a little bit in getting accepted, if not directly then at the very least it made for a good personal statement because of my parent's background etc. And from your story it seems you will have a very strong personal statement. What i would be worried about is if you have any pain working with your hands or if they can go being gloved for hours out of the day without any bother. If so, you should have no problem. I don't believe anyone would be right in telling you you can't be a dentist because of the way your hands look.
 

gijohn529

USC Dental 2012
10+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2006
64
0
Status
Pre-Dental
I agree, your ethnicity will help you. If your injuries are purely superficial then you will have no problems being a dentist. Good luck to you.
 

Saied

10+ Year Member
Apr 14, 2008
62
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
okay im not in any dental school or anything but i think u should mention what happened to iraq. if ur grades are good then the dental school should be honored to have u cause a few people would risk their lives.
btw thank you for ur service and i hope u get better. and dont let those people who stare at ur hands bother u. i bet few would even consider going to iraq to serve their country
thank you and good luck :thumbup:
 

reapply2007

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 23, 2006
1,076
5
Status
Dental Student
Cosmetically, the hands or whatever else shouldn't be a large concern. However, fine motor skills and hand control are a must. As long as any skin thickening or potential nerve damage doesn't affect your hand skills below what is needed, press on.
 

Hybridtavo

Dr Ortegon
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 8, 2008
131
0
Status
Dentist
Hey there, first of all hand shake from one soldier to another, sorry to hear u got hit in the box but as all we know s... happens specially in that region of Iraq. Hope everything is better now. As far as ur question, there shouldn't be a problem either been hispanic or having a war injury stopping you from applying to dental school in there future.
 

helix3912

10+ Year Member
Apr 23, 2008
3
0
Status
Dental Student
I am a soon-to-be graduate who also has esthtic concerns about his hands. Not too long into dental school, I started to develop hives. It started out on my neck, then face, now hands. It is stress-related and the results are scary. The back of my hands are scaly and bleed frequently, they are always red and swollen, especially after a stressful situation. It happens when I'm not around latex also, in case you are wondering. Although I try to cover as much of it up with a big bandage, people can see and usually comment on them (my favorite response is: it's not contagious). Anyway, I find that my hands are a great conversation piece especially with patients, it gives them a opportunity to share their own stress-related problems and more (it's especially helpful to those with their own personal or embarassing medical situations that they struggle with). People are very sympathetic and love to know that their dentist is a human being with life experiences, not just a white coat with a drill in their hand.:)
 

bounty101

10+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2008
161
0
Status
Non-Student
As others said, your ethnicity is most likely an advantage. And for your gender, have you looked at the ratios of men to women in dental school lately? Your hand scaring won't have a chance to be discovered until your interview and then you'll have the perfect opportunity to explain all about it. You should mention how you plan to deal with future patients that may be fearful of you scars. If the damage doesn't impede hand function, it could very well be a plus too. Most people want to extend help to a disabled vet. Get involved in some activity (guitar, woodworking, etc) that demonstrates you have good hand motor skills.
 

LeoDDS

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 23, 2008
33
5
NYC
Status
Dentist
1. your ethnicity will only be an advantage
2. as long as you haven't lost any flexibility or fine touch sensation in your fingers, your hands will be fine. You'll be wearing gloves the vast majority of the time, so I doubt patients will even notice :)
 

doc3232

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2008
3,809
9
Status
Dental Student
You can also see the gender ratio at the schools that you want to apply to. IMO, any school would want a 50-50 ratio to appear gender neutral.
 

DentDelOriente

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2007
40
0
Status
Dental Student
I personally think your experiences thus far will only help you.
* Spanish/Latin background. You can be the token minority that every school seeks. You have to play that race card to the fullest extent.
* Woman: it depends on who's interviewing you and the school's culture.
* Marine Corps: anyone who doesn't think this is a big plus is an idiot.
* Burn: if a professor/faculty is uncomfortable with your appearance, then you would not want to study under such people and in a school that would hire them. Most of the time you'll be wearing gloves so burn on your hands is nothing to worry about.

However, you still need to get a high DAT score and GPA in order for you to get in the door.

Good luck.
 

Shunwei

10+ Year Member
May 26, 2007
924
191
Status
Dentist
You will be wearing white coats and gloves most of the time anyway. Since you will be working indoors, you can also choose to wear long-sleeved shirts to begin with. No big deal with the cosmetics in my opinion.
 

jon68

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2008
41
0
Status
Dental Student
I think I will play devil's advocate here - ethnicity and gender - probably wont hurt your academic accomplishments. Even your burns shouldnt hurt your academic accomplishments - so if that is all you are worried about then dont be, you'll be fine, just keep your confidence up. On the other hand you elluded to the fact that society may judge your appearence and that is true (mostly your hands). As a professional, and one that has your hands in people's mouths, you may encounter that a lot, but as others have said you wear gloves a lot, so just keep them on 24/7 and you'll be fine. Or there's always plastic surgery.
 

heatwheat

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2006
284
0
Status
Pre-Dental
I agree with most other people on the thread, your ethnicity and gender is only gonna help you.
 

Montserrat

Proud of my Pats
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 15, 2007
810
1
Status
Dental Student
If anything, I'd say your academic achievements and military experience are two good reasons why they should take you more seriously than just another minority statistic at their school.