Women In Dentistry

Call of Duty

From Pom-Poms to Molars

From leading cheers to leading dental teams, my path from the sidelines to the military dental field is as remarkable as it is inspiring. While pom-poms and spirited chants once filled my days, the clatter of dental instruments and the mission to serve her country have become my new anthem.

My journey began when I was in Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Convent Bukit Nanas on the vibrant, energetic stages back in 2009, where I dazzled crowds with my agility and enthusiasm. However, behind the captivating smile was a passion for science and healthcare that drove me toward a different type of performance—one that involved a different kind of precision.

Choosing dentistry was a leap of faith, yet my determination and ambition guided me through the rigorous academic curriculum. With unwavering dedication, I graduated with distinction from Airlangga University, Indonesia, wielding not just pom-poms but also a keen understanding of dental sciences.

However, my story took an unexpected turn when I made the courageous decision to join the military as I grew up in a military family. Yes! My father, my mother and my eldest sister are military officers. Transitioning from the glamour of cheerleading to the disciplined environment of the armed forces wasn’t a seamless shift, but my leadership skills honed on the field proved invaluable.

Commissioned as a military dentist, I found myself in an entirely new arena—a world where my dental expertise met the demands of service to my beloved country. Deployments to remote regions and serving those in need further solidified my commitment to making a difference beyond the dental chair.

My days are now spent not only perfecting smiles but also ensuring the oral health and well-being of my fellow service members so they are fit and safe to be deployed. The pride I once felt leading cheers has transformed into a profound sense of honor in safeguarding the dental health of those who protect the nation. Each day dawns with a sense of duty that transcends the typical routines of civilian dentistry. From the outset, I embrace a lifestyle steeped in discipline, readiness, and adaptability.

The life of a military dentist is multifaceted. Beyond the clinical expertise and proficiency in dental procedures, we undergo specialized training, preparing us to operate in diverse and often challenging environments. Deployments to far-flung corners of the world become a norm, where makeshift clinics replace the comfort of established practices, yet the commitment to excellence remains steadfast.

My patients are more than just individuals seeking dental care—they are comrades, brothers, sisters, and fellow service members. Establishing trust goes beyond the realm of dental chair conversations; it is built on the shared camaraderie and mutual respect inherent in military life.

The scope of my work extends beyond the dental office walls. Military dentists are integral members of interdisciplinary teams, contributing not just to oral health but also to the holistic well-being of the armed forces. We participate in training exercises, offering crucial insights into maintaining dental hygiene in demanding field conditions, ensuring that dental readiness remains an integral part of overall military readiness.

Yet, amidst the discipline and dedication, there’s a profound sense of fulfillment—a fulfillment that arises from knowing that our expertise contributes directly to the operational readiness of the forces. Our efforts not only alleviate pain and maintain smiles but also play a pivotal role in enhancing the overall health and effectiveness of the military.

Life as a military dentist is a unique blend of professional excellence, selfless service, and an unwavering commitment to the nation. I hope this story inspires all of us to pursue our passions, embrace change, and serve our communities with dedication and pride.

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