Dr. Janak Harish Kumar, Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), Tamil Nadu Government Dental College, Chennai, India, Master of Public Health (MPH), Western University, Canada, and Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), University of Toronto, Canada
Dr. Janak Harish Kumar, Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), Tamil Nadu Government Dental College, Chennai, India, Master of Public Health (MPH), Western University, Canada, and Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), University of Toronto, Canada

Inside DDS: Dr. Janak Explores Education, Clinical Experience, and Career Prospects (Part II)

Dr. Janak reflects on his DDS journey, discussing curriculum highlights, clinical rotations, research endeavors, and future career aspirations in dentistry

Welcome to part 2 of our DocScopy interview with Dr. Janak Harish Kumar. He completed his Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) from Government Dental College in Chennai, India. He further went on to pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH) from Western University in Canada. Dr. Janak is currently continuing his academics with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Previously in part 1 with Dr. Nirainila Joseph from MedBound Times, he shared insights into his motivation for pursuing education in Canada after completing his BDS in India. In Part 2, Dr. Janak reflects on his DDS journey in Canada, highlighting curriculum dynamics, clinical rotations, and research ventures, and contrasts with his BDS education in India. He explores diverse career prospects post-DDS and shares insights for aspiring international dentists pursuing a similar path.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: What emotions or reflections did you have when you officially started your DDS studies in Canada?

A

Dr. Janak Harish Kumar: When I officially started my DDS studies in Canada, it was a dream come true. I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, knowing I had finally achieved what I set out to do. Reflecting on this moment, I thought about all the hard work and sacrifices my parents and family had made to support me. Their dedication and support were crucial in helping me reach this milestone, and it made the experience even more meaningful.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Having studied under two distinct dental education systems, how has the curriculum and teaching style in the DDS program in Canada differed from your previous dental education in India?

A

Dr. Janak Harish Kumar: The curriculum and teaching style in the DDS program in Canada differ significantly from my previous dental education in India. In Canada, the approach is more practical and clinical, with lectures being heavily focused on clinical aspects rather than theory. Students are expected to conduct their own research, read textbooks independently, and utilize resources like YouTube videos to grasp theoretical concepts. In contrast, the way theory was taught in India, there was a greater emphasis on textbooks and research articles, which helped solidify my knowledge better. This strong theoretical foundation from India has been beneficial for me in excelling in theory exams here in Canada.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: It's interesting to get to know the contrast between BDS and DDS programs. Clinical experience is crucial in a dental degree, providing hands-on training essential for proficiency. Dr. Janak, can you describe your experiences during clinical rotations as part of the DDS program? What types of procedures and cases did you encounter?

A

Dr. Janak Harish Kumar: During my clinical rotations as part of the DDS program, I have been involved in a wide range of procedures and cases, and the learning is ongoing as I transition from the third to the fourth year. We perform detailed medical histories and examinations, write medical letters to coordinate care with patients' family physicians, and carry out periodontal charting, and scaling and root planing. We also handle restorations, both simple and complex, using amalgam or composite, and perform esthetic treatments like diastema closures. In addition, I've worked on extractions, including surgical third molars, implant crown restorations, root canals (including molars), crowns (both anterior and posterior), cast partial dentures, and complete dentures. We also learn about dental insurance and manage various financial programs for patients. All of this is part of a care model called the Comprehensive Care Program, where a patient is generally assigned to me until I graduate, making me responsible for all their treatments. It is incredibly fulfilling to guide my patients through their entire treatment journey, seeing each step through to the completion of their dental care. I am still learning and doing new procedures each day, which makes the experience even more enriching and enjoyable.

In the Comprehensive Care Program, Dr. Janak Harish Kumar oversees dental treatments from medical histories to restorations, extractions, fabrication of dentures, and esthetic procedures, ensuring comprehensive patient care and satisfaction, which continues to enrich his learning and professional journey daily. This holistic approach allows him to guide patients through their entire treatment journey. (Dr. Janak Harish Kumar)
In the Comprehensive Care Program, Dr. Janak Harish Kumar oversees dental treatments from medical histories to restorations, extractions, fabrication of dentures, and esthetic procedures, ensuring comprehensive patient care and satisfaction, which continues to enrich his learning and professional journey daily. This holistic approach allows him to guide patients through their entire treatment journey. (Dr. Janak Harish Kumar)
Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Can you describe any research experiences or projects that you've been involved in as a DDS student?

A

Dr. Janak Harish Kumar: As a DDS student, I've been involved in several research experiences and projects. I'm currently working on a public health research project, although it's too early to share the details of the work. Additionally, I contribute to the field by working as an editor for dentistry articles on Wikipedia, ensuring that accurate and up-to-date information is available to the public. I'm also looking forward to an exciting community outreach program in Jamaica this August, which will allow me to apply my skills and knowledge in a new and impactful setting.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Your commitment to research, and upcoming community program illustrate your approach to applying your DDS education beyond clinical settings. Now, how have you benefited from networking with fellow dental students and mentors during your DDS program?

A

Dr. Janak Harish Kumar: Networking with fellow dental students and mentors during my DDS program has been incredibly beneficial. I've gained different experiences and perspectives that have enriched my understanding of the field. Constantly learning from others has allowed me to refine my knowledge and skills. Being active in dental student clubs and professional enhancement programs has provided valuable opportunities for growth and development. Dentistry is like an ocean; even though a layperson might think it's just about teeth, there's so much more to explore and understand. Engaging with peers and mentors has helped me navigate this vast field more effectively.

Dr. Janak Harish Kumar stands with Dr. Sandy Vendetti, President of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario to his right, and Dr. Lisa Bentley, President of the Ontario Dental Association to his left. (Dr. Janak Harish Kumar)
Dr. Janak Harish Kumar stands with Dr. Sandy Vendetti, President of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario to his right, and Dr. Lisa Bentley, President of the Ontario Dental Association to his left. (Dr. Janak Harish Kumar)
Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Preferences for dental care can vary significantly between different regions and countries. You need to understand the pulse of the population you are treating. With that in mind, can you describe any notable differences in patient expectations regarding dental healthcare between India and Canada? How do you navigate cultural differences in patient preferences when delivering dental treatments?

A

Dr. Janak Harish Kumar: In my experience practicing dentistry in both India and Canada, I've noticed some differences in patient expectations. In Canada, patients generally expect advanced technology, personalized care, and detailed documentation. They are more involved in their treatments, wanting to walk through each procedure and understand what's happening. In India, while quality care is essential, the demographic I served often relied on the dentist's expertise without requiring detailed explanations. There, the focus is more on immediate relief and cost-effective solutions. Navigating these cultural differences requires sensitivity and adaptability to meet each patient's unique preferences and needs. It is important to understand each patient's background, values, and concerns. Effective communication is key in both contexts, ensuring that patients feel heard and respected.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: It's commendable how you understand and navigate the diverse patient expectations between India and Canada. Your approach reflects a deep respect for patient preferences and cultural nuances in healthcare delivery. Moving ahead, can you discuss the career opportunities available for dentists in Canada after completing the DDS program?

A

Dr. Janak Harish Kumar: After completing a DDS program in Canada, a dentist can work primarily as an associate dentist or a general practitioner, either by joining an established practice or starting their own. They also have the option to specialize with additional training. Opportunities exist in public health, providing care to underserved communities, such as working in northern and remote parts of Canada or with Indigenous communities. A dentist can also pursue an academic career as an instructor or researcher. Corporate dentistry is another path, where they can work for dental service organizations. Additionally, they might become a consultant or advisor for dental product companies or insurance firms. There are also international opportunities, allowing them to work abroad in various capacities.

After completing a DDS program in Canada, dentists can pursue careers as associate dentists, start their own practices, specialize further, explore public health roles, engage in academia, or enter corporate dentistry and consultancy. International opportunities also offer diverse career paths abroad in dental care. (Dr. Janak Harish Kumar)
After completing a DDS program in Canada, dentists can pursue careers as associate dentists, start their own practices, specialize further, explore public health roles, engage in academia, or enter corporate dentistry and consultancy. International opportunities also offer diverse career paths abroad in dental care. (Dr. Janak Harish Kumar)
Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Where do you see yourself professionally in the next few years after completing your DDS program?

A

Dr. Janak Harish Kumar: In the next few years after completing my DDS program, I see myself pursuing a General Practice Residency (GPR) or Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) to further enhance my skills and knowledge. I am also considering specializing, but I am currently using my clinical rotations to explore different fields and understand which specialty aligns best with my interests and strengths. Additionally, I want to leverage my background in public health to explore opportunities in public health dentistry. This combination of advanced training and public health experience will help me become a more competent and versatile dentist, whether I choose to remain a general practitioner, move into a specialized area, or contribute to public health initiatives.

Based on his experiences, Dr. Janak Harish Kumar shares that aspiring international dentists aiming to study or practice in Canada should meticulously research and plan for dental school applications, excel in exams like NDEB-AFK, ADAT, and IELTS, manage finances wisely, adapt to new educational norms, and seek support from mentors and peers for a successful transition and journey. (Representational image: Unsplash)
Based on his experiences, Dr. Janak Harish Kumar shares that aspiring international dentists aiming to study or practice in Canada should meticulously research and plan for dental school applications, excel in exams like NDEB-AFK, ADAT, and IELTS, manage finances wisely, adapt to new educational norms, and seek support from mentors and peers for a successful transition and journey. (Representational image: Unsplash)
Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: What advice would you give to international dentists aspiring to pursue further education or practice in Canada, based on your own experiences?

A

Dr. Janak Harish Kumar: Based on my experiences, my advice to international dentists aspiring to pursue further education or practice in Canada would be to start by thoroughly researching the requirements and application processes for the various dental schools offering international dentist programs. Create a detailed plan, including deadlines and specific requirements for each school, to ensure you don't miss any critical steps. Prepare thoroughly for the necessary exams, such as the NDEB-AFK, ADAT, and IELTS, aiming not just to pass but to score exceptionally well. This will significantly enhance your chances of acceptance. Be ready for a significant financial commitment, as the costs for applications, exams, and tuition can be substantial. Plan your finances carefully. Additionally, be prepared to adapt to a new educational system and culture. Embrace the differences in teaching styles and expectations, and use available resources to bridge any gaps in your knowledge. Lastly, seek support from family, mentors, and peers, as their encouragement can be invaluable during this challenging yet rewarding journey.

Studying where the stalwarts of dentistry once walked at the best dental school in Canada is a privilege I never take for granted. The most rewarding achievement is realizing that dreams, no matter how distant, can come true with determination and the right support.
Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Looking back at your journey, what are you most proud of achieving in your career so far?

A

Dr. Janak Harish Kumar: Looking back at my journey, I am most proud of the entire odyssey itself. Coming from a modest, middle-class family in a small city in India, making it to Canada and pursuing my dreams has been extraordinary. Studying where the stalwarts of dentistry once walked at the best dental school in Canada is a privilege I never take for granted. The most rewarding achievement is realizing that dreams, no matter how distant, can come true with determination and the right support. What truly warms my heart is seeing the joy and pride in my parents' eyes. Making my family smile, not just through dentistry, but through my sheer grit and commitment to my dreams, truly fulfills me.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Indeed, your family must be very proud of your achievements. Thank you for sharing such detailed insights, which will undoubtedly benefit others on a similar path. Finally, could you share your reflections on the overall experience of pursuing DDS in Canada and practicing dentistry, especially after completing BDS in India and making a significant career transition?

A

Dr. Janak Harish Kumar: Reflecting on my overall experience of pursuing a DDS in Canada and practicing dentistry, especially after completing my BDS in India, I can say it has been a transformative journey. The transition required a significant amount of adaptation and learning, given the differences in educational systems, clinical practices, and patient expectations between the two countries. The rigorous and clinically focused curriculum in Canada pushed me to develop a deeper understanding of practical dentistry, while my strong theoretical foundation from India proved invaluable in excelling in exams and grasping complex concepts. The emphasis on self-directed learning in Canada encouraged me to become more proactive in seeking out resources and enhancing my knowledge. Financially, it was challenging to manage the costs but careful planning and budgeting helped me navigate this aspect, and securing student loans after admission eased the transition. What has changed is the approach to dentistry; the core remains the same, but the emphasis on advanced technology and patient involvement has enriched my practice and improved my communication skills. Overall, the journey has been challenging but incredibly rewarding. It has broadened my horizons, enhanced my professional skills, and given me the satisfaction of achieving a long-held dream. I would definitely recommend pursuing this path if you have the opportunity.

MedBound Times expresses sincere gratitude to Dr. Janak Harish Kumar for sharing his valuable insights on our platform.

Dr. Janak Harish Kumar, Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), Tamil Nadu Government Dental College, Chennai, India, Master of Public Health (MPH), Western University, Canada, and Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), University of Toronto, Canada
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