Who said a dentist couldn’t make people happy? Definitely not Louise, a fourth-year undergraduate dentistry student from Dendermonde in Belgium! She believes that a dentist can help people be happier by making them smile more.
She was one of the participants of the 16th International Student Congress. This congress gave students the opportunity to see what it means to be a researcher through hands-on experience. With her friend Arina, Louise gave a talk named “Clinical Outcomes of Endodontic Microsurgery” on Thursday 11th April. She agreed to talk to us just after her presentation.
“Why not participating?”
It’s already impressive to have come all the way from Belgium to study dentistry here in Valencia, but you even took another step forward by participating in this Congress as an undergraduate student! Why did you choose to participate?
I was having a lecture, and my teacher and another Spanish teacher came into the room, pointed to me and said: “That’s Louise, that’s who I talked about”. Then she came to me and I thought I had done something wrong in the practicals! She asked me if I wanted to do the Congress. I thought, “Why not? It’s a good step”. But I also asked not to do it alone as it was my first time.
How did you choose this topic?
Because I would like to do my master in endodontics and microscopy is really a hot topic right now. Also, in dentistry, you always need to sit in one position. Sometimes you don’t sit so well, you bend, and it’s not good. With the microscope, you really need to stay steady and have a good position, so it’s also better for your own health. That’s why I found it interesting to do it.
Microsurgery requires microscopes; and to develop these techniques, it takes engineering, knowledge in physics, which are not taught thoroughly in dentistry degrees. Do you think it’s important to promote interdisciplinarity between different fields, especially in health sciences?
Yes, I think interdisciplinarity should improve techniques. Because a lot of people just know about their field, but a human being is not just one part. You should know a bit about everything. And yes, for those microscopes, you need engineers who will make them, people who will test them. So, you need a lot of people with different views and from different fields.
“A lot of people just know about their field, but a human being is not just one part”
Dentistry to make the world a better place
Did you enjoy researching on your subject and presenting your findings? And do you now want to be a researcher?
We found out a lot of interesting things that I didn’t even know about. I would like to do research but maybe for four, five years. But I want to work with people, help people. For my future work, I really want to be with patients.
Health is usually considered as a luxury, and especially dentistry and it costs a lot of money, lots of people can’t really afford proper care. To what extent do you think that a dentist can help people who can’t afford health care?
I think you can definitely go to Third World countries and help there. This is something I always wanted to do. As dentist, you can just go to a country, put a medical tent on the streets, and let people come to you or go find people yourself. Because I think a lot of people have the wrong idea that you can’t really go to a dentist… Some people are really ashamed of how their teeth are so they don’t want to come to you, so you need to find them. You have so many people that don’t want to smile because they think that their teeth are not so nice. But if you don’t smile, you get sad immediately.
“As dentist, you can just go to a country, put a medical tent on the streets, and let people come to you”
People should smile because it makes you happier. So, I really like that people have a nice smile again and they are really grateful. And it’s also important as a dentist not to abuse your power and tell people: “you need this and that”, even though it’s not true. You should always look at the person and help them; and not just yourself. That’s what I find important.
Louise was among the 60 international students who were brave enough to participate to the 16th International Student Congress in CEU Valencia and discover the world of research.