Interview with a New Dentist
Name: Dr. Nima Khosraviani
Graduation: 2020, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto
Achievements: President of the Xi Psi Phi (ZIP) Omicron Toronto chapter (2019)
Current role: Associate at two GTA practices
Future goals: Focus on learning and gaining experience
Practice ownership plans: Within three to five years
Dr. Khosraviani graduated from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Dentistry earlier this year. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the faculty announced that clinics would be closing on March 12. This also meant that his graduation ceremony was postponed, and an online celebration took place instead. He has since been working as an associate at two practices in the GTA. Dr. Khosraviani shares his experience completing his studies and starting his career during these uncertain times below.
We were all looking forward to crossing the finish line together.
As far as school goes, I think we were fortunate with the timing because we didn’t have much work left when the pandemic was announced. Most of us were finishing our clinic work and we had already written our board exams. The biggest challenge was that we have all grown so much together and became a close-knit family, so finishing school together was the light at the end of the tunnel for us.
Maintaining balance while in dental school was key.
It will seem overwhelming, but it’s important to find balance and pursue other interests. I have always had an interest in music and have been playing guitar and piano for a long time. In my first year, I became a class rep for the Dentantics variety show, and by the third year, I was helping run the show and playing in the pit band. In this show, students put on comedy skits, dances, films, and musical performances. I also got involved in the Xi Psi Phi (ZIP) Omicron Toronto chapter and eventually became the President. ZIP is a fraternity for dental students at the University of Toronto that hosts numerous educational and social events. It’s a great opportunity to meet peers, make friends, and learn from experts.
But finding this balance as a newly practising dentist has been a challenge.
Currently, it’s more challenging to find balance. I’m used to being surrounded by the school community and having endless things to get involved in. So, going from that to being a little more isolated and working in a private clinic is different and is a transition, but I value balance, and I’m always striving for it.
I underestimated the transition from student to dentist.
It’s been an exciting transition, but there’s been a learning curve. Going from dental school to an environment where you’re calling the shots, you’re doing the procedure from start to finish, and you’re the only judge of your work is nice, but it can also be intimidating at times. There is also a faster pace now as a practising dentist. I went from seeing two patients a day in school to up to eight on any given day now.
We’re not perfect, and that’s okay.
Coming out of dental school, we are trained with this perfectionist mentality, which is important, especially with what we do. But I think it also makes us vulnerable and prone to beating ourselves up in certain situations. In dentistry, things don’t always go according to plan, and that’s okay. Know that you’re not alone and reach out to colleagues for a second opinion or to make a referral if you have to. It’s not something to fear – dental graduates are still all in this together.
The best advice I received…
“Don’t base your success off what other people are doing.” While it is important to learn and look up to the people around you, getting stuck in constant comparison can be detrimental. Be confident, proud, and unique.
The advice I would give to other dental students…
Try to get the most out of every learning opportunity at school – especially in your final clinical years. Pick your instructors’ brains – they’re the experts, and they’ve been doing this for years. Even if your clinical section went smoothly, think about those what-ifs, and talk to your instructors about them. You can never fully prepare for any challenge, but it’s something to think about, and you can learn from those around you.
Having CDSPI’s No-Cost Student Insurance gave me peace of mind.
I had the No-Cost Student Insurance and many of my classmates did as well. CDSPI introduced us to the importance of insuring ourselves, not only as students, but also throughout our careers. We learned a lot about the different types of insurance and when to start considering them. Knowing I was covered throughout dental school with the No-Cost Student Insurance also provided a sense of security.
The future of dentistry looks bright.
The pandemic has been challenging, but there will always be a need for dental care. If anything, this pandemic has shown how essential dental care is, as we saw in the emergency treatment period in March and April at the university’s dental clinic. As with everything else, dentistry has slowed down, and we’re waiting for things to pick up again, but in the long term, I’m optimistic about the dental profession.