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Photo: Dr. Inna Rostker

Dr. Inna Rostker talks about her journey to becoming a dentist

Dr Inna Rostker is one of the dentists working at The Dental Suite, a full service San Francisco dental clinic and surgery. The dental team pride themselves on their customer service, and can help their patients with almost any tooth-related needs they have. The clinic also uses modern technology and digital imaging to improve their clients’ experience.

Inna, what made you choose a career in dentistry?

I actually got into it completely by accident! I grew up in Russia and started at medical school there, and always intended to continue in medicine when I moved to America. When I got here, though, I knew it would be a long time before I could afford any kind of education – after all, I had a family to feed.

I needed to get a job when I arrived, and was prepared to take almost anything. I found out about an opportunity to work as a dental assistant with additional on-the-job training. I managed to get the job, and it helped me to realize that I wanted to be a dentist!

What did you have to do to get qualified in America??

A bachelor’s degree from an American College makes it much easier to get into a good dental school. Despite having started med school in Russia, I decided to go to university in the US and start again. After this I was lucky enough to get into one of the top dental schools in the US, the University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry.

At dental school I was taught by some of the country’s top clinicians, and many leading innovators in the dental field. Under them I helped with research that led us to some of the modern dental techniques we use today – for example, using fluoride and lasers.

Do you have any specialities?

I’ve been trained in most procedures, and for the last 20 years I have practiced as a general dentist. I particularly enjoy cosmetic dentistry and emergency dental surgery though. I know these are very different, but I enjoy both removing sources of pain and helping people gain confidence, so they are the areas I try to work in the most.

Does your clinic just do aesthetic procedures, or do you also do routine check ups?

All five dentists at The Dental Suite are general practitioners, meaning we are all trained in many different areas. When a new patient comes in we will do a full examination, using X-Rays, fluorescent cavity detection, oral cancer screening and oral photography. Based on this screening we diagnose any issues and recommend treatments.

We can do anything from removing tooth decay and plaque to porcelain tooth reconstructions. We can also use digital design to help people to customize their smile and get the exact look they want (this is for the customers who come in for aesthetic improvements).

What do you do when someone is anxious about the dentist?

I and the other dentists (in fact most dentists in the world) understand that a lot of people are anxious about seeing us. Because we know this we do everything we can to help them feel more comfortable – and, if necessary, we have some medications that can help.

What would you say your patients are most concerned about?

Pain, and getting treatments they don’t need.

I’ve already explained what we do to try and minimize pain related anxiety. Regarding unnecessary treatment we use advanced tools to screen and diagnose for issues before we start surgery. That way we can find exact problems and use imaging to show people why they need a dental intervention.

What does the new technology allow you to do?

Customization is the biggest trend in most industries, and dentistry is no exception. We can use IT combined with digital imaging to create 3D models and allow people to decide exactly what they want their teeth to look like.

This means we can scan someone’s teeth in their smile and reproduce it, if they lose a tooth or get some chips. We can also let people pick another person to model their smile off, if they like a particular celebrity’s teeth (or someone they know). This is incredible technology and enables dentistry to be customization to an extent that it never has been before.