A day in their scrubs
Jeremiah Aigbedion has always been drawn to sports. Basketball and football are a couple favorites. It was a natural fit, then, to consider physical therapy as a potential career. All that changed when he shadowed a physical therapist during his junior year at the University of Houston.
“It was boring to me. I realized I had no interest in this at all,” Aigbedion recalls. He still wanted to pursue a career in the health care field but was at a loss for exactly what. When his mom suggested he shadow a dentist, his mind went back to several years before, to his first dental appointment. It was not routine. At age 17, a freak pool accident led to the need for a root canal and crown. Despite the experience, he picked up the phone and called the very dentist who had treated him that summer years before.
“I found myself getting interested,” Aigbedion says. “What I liked was how hands on it was; you could work with all these different tools and basically be an artist.”
He filled his final year in college with as many chemistry and anatomy courses as possible and completed the Summer Predental Enrichment Program at the urging of University of Houston classmate Esther Oluwo, now a D4. The experience sold Aigbedion on Texas A&M College of Dentistry, and he enrolled as a D1 in fall 2015.
Because of his own dental experiences — first the root canal and crown and, later, an extraction — course subject matter that could at first come across as abstract carries immediate relevance.
“I’m missing No. 19, and we just learned about that,” Aigbedion says. “So many of your upper molars are ‘super erupted’ and will force their way into that space. Just to hear our fixed professor Dr. Amp Miller talk about those things and learn that they relate directly to me makes me more intrigued.”
Hometown: Houston, but I was born in Nigeria
Undergrad institution: University of Houston
Dental school survival strategy: My first year, I found I was comparing myself to everybody. If you keep thinking about how “this person is doing on this test,” it can eat you alive. Personally, I just tell myself, “Hey, work as hard as you can, keep up with everything, and you’ll get the results.” If I don’t do so well on a test, I don’t worry about it. Work hard, live with the results and keep moving forward.
Favorite energy food: I like to eat a lot of fruit. This morning when I woke up, I didn’t have a real breakfast, but I always eat a banana or apple. One thing I do, I eat breakfast every morning. If we have class at 8 a.m. and I haven’t eaten breakfast yet, I’ll go to the cafeteria, get something and head to lab.
Best way to unwind after a long day in lecture, lab or clinic: I like to do things that I did in undergrad, that I would normally do. I still work out. Sometimes I’ll just sit on the couch and watch TV for two hours without even moving. I like to keep up with sports, no matter what sport it is: I like soccer; basketball and football are my two favorite ones. I also like sports video games, where you can create your own character and live out your dream. I make my own character on those games. It will start you out in high school, and you can progress through college.
Dental school aha moment: At the beginning of the semester, we were doing a crown prep in fixed prosthodontics on an upper molar. I needed a crown on my upper molar, too, so I had one of the D4s do it. When I went up to get the crown, she explained everything that she was going to do, and I realized that I already knew this, because we had gone over this in fixed prosthodontics so many times.
Goal after graduation: I probably want to do an AEGD — advanced education in general dentistry — or one of the specialties, if it interests me enough. We still have some classes to take, like orthodontics and pediatric dentistry; maybe I could end up pursuing one of those. I wouldn’t mind general dentistry.
I don’t know that I will go back to Houston. Most likely I will stick around here.
What people may not know about you: One of my front teeth has a crown. The way it happened, one summer, I want to say back in 2009, I was swimming. You know how you get to the edge of the pool, and you try to pull yourself up on the concrete? I hit the edge of my tooth. Half of it was gone by the time I came up. At first it felt like nothing happened; my friends were like, “It doesn’t look too bad.” It didn’t hurt until I drank some water. Then I felt everything. That was my first dental experience.