MCG dental graduates look to the future

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Dental students at MCG took their walk across the stage to grab their degrees.

Right now, there is a massive dentist shortage. We caught up with one student who started this career after an unlikely source told him to serve others.

Graduates are on to their next adventure.

“Feels like this is a dream that’s been 20 years in the making,” said Dr. Ali Azadi.

For him, that dream came unconventionally.

“I once had a fortune cookie that my mom translated for me, but it said, ‘your greatest strength lies in aiding others.’ For some reason, that really resonated with me and really clicked with me. And I realized I wanted to go into dentistry to make it a more empathetic and more positive experience for all my patients,” he said.

Going to the dentist can be scary for some. Not good news— as the CDC says one in four adults have untreated tooth decay. Azadi says he’s someone who understands.

“When I was five years old, I had a lot of rampant dental decay in my mouth. A lot of dental issues and a lot of painful visits to dentists. That was kind of difficult as a five-year-old to go through all of that,” said Azadi.

Azadi is headed off to complete his residency in orthodontics, and he hopes to open a practice in Georgia.

He’s not alone. MCG says 80 percent of their dental school grads will stay in-state.

“Not many people realize how connected it is to your overall well-being and health. Multiple studies have shown, for example, periodontal disease and diabetes,” he said.

These grads will have plenty of shoes to fill— with a current shortage of almost 11,000 dentists nationwide.

So— While they’re all smiles today— tomorrow they’ll be helping others find theirs.

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