Rural Dentistry: following your heart one smile at a time

To the editor:

Growing up in rural Minnesota the vast number of cornfields are apparent, but today in Greater Minnesota there is an extreme need for oral healthcare professionals. This is because many dentists are retiring and few new graduates working outside the big city after dental school-leaving small towns without dentists.

I grew up in Marshall Minnesota and dreamed of becoming a dentist and coming back to my hometown. When applying for dental school I told the admissions committee, “I grew up in a cornfield, went to high school in a cornfield, went to college in a cornfield and dream of returning to the cornfield to practice dentistry.” This dream is becoming a reality. Picking the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry allowed me to be close to family and helped foster my love for rural dentistry.

The University of Minnesota has many great opportunities for students interested in rural dentistry. One way the University furthered my love of Greater Minnesota was through outreach opportunities. Last summer, I was placed in the City of Cook at Scenic Rivers Dental Clinic. At the clinic, I was able to provide care to many patients ranging from very young to the elderly, all while under the supervision and guidance of great mentors. I provided emergency care for patients in pain, worked with the hygienists to see recall patients, and completed countless other procedures.

My time in Cook allowed me to see the compassionate and meaningful work that dentists can provide in rural communities. This experience reinforced my dream of providing care in Greater Minnesota helping those who otherwise may not have access to dental care.

This June, I join Johnson Family Dental Care in Marshall-fulfilling my dream of returning to my hometown. My hope is to give back to the small town that gave me so much.

Amy Full, DDS

Marshall High School class of 2019 president