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CDA Update

CDA members and California’s dental community turn to our association for timely, trusted information about current and developing issues in dentistry. The Update provides resources and guidance on topics affecting dentists, their patients and their profession, including dental benefit plans, regulatory compliance, legislation and advocacy, patient safety and practice management.

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January Student Spotlight

Quick Summary:

Get to know CDA’s January Student Spotlight, Alvaro Hernandez Saavedra from UCLA School of Dentistry class of 2022.

Describe your experience as a dental student during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

My experience as a dental student during the pandemic has been weird. I never imagined that my first dental school experience in the United States would be like this. My first day was through Zoom and was filled with uncertainty. Even going back on campus has been challenging.

Understanding the concept of social distancing and wearing a mask and face shield during lab sessions has been interesting as well. I’m sure it has been an adjustment for all of us, even teachers who have had to adjust to teaching virtually.

How do you see dentistry evolving amid the ongoing pandemic? 

Even though dentistry is always evolving, I see how much dentistry is evolving through this pandemic by creating new safety protocols that will remain for the rest of our careers. This will strengthen the safety of our patients and ourselves as dental care providers.

Have your career aspirations changed due to COVID-19? 

My career aspirations have not been impacted due to COVID-19. Instead, my passion for this field has only been reconfirmed. I will always seek excellence in my profession, even when we have to face challenges that are out of our control.

What has been your most memorable dental school moment or experience so far? 

My most memorable dental school moment so far has been my first contact with patients. Even though I have been a dentist in Peru for quite some time, my first contact with a patient here felt like the first time due to all the different procedures and guidelines I needed to perform and follow. It felt so good to serve and help someone again!

What made you interested in dentistry? 

I was introduced to the world of dentistry when my mom took me to get a teeth cleaning from our neighbor, who was a dental student in Peru. My neighbor showed me all the instruments, materials and equipment and explained their functions. She also showed me the labs and taught me how to mix alginate. This was fascinating to me since I loved doing things with my hands. Years went by and all I did was research about dentistry and how to get into the field.

Have you discovered a dental specialty you would like to pursue? If so, which specialty and what helped you realize this passion?

I would like to pursue prosthodontics. I am completely passionate about returning a smile with a proper function to a person because I believe that having the confidence to smile and eat improves lives tremendously.

What is your favorite comfort food? 

My favorite comfort food is movie theater popcorn with a Coke slushy. I have actually gone to the movie theatre without buying any movie tickets just to buy popcorn!

Why are you #cdaproud? 

I am #cdaproud because CDA is the largest state association that represents us as dentists, advocates for our safety, interests and protection in the field and is always seeking to inspire us to grow and become the best version of ourselves as professionals.