Service through Dentistry

Alex Dorrough, Class of 2020, Shares How a Belief in Serving Others Led to a Career in Dentistry

March 09, 2020

Alex Dorrough’s attraction to dentistry is rooted in his commitment to serving the community. 

“I started wanting to become a dentist in high school when I volunteered at a special needs orphanage in China and saw how rewarding it was,” recalls Alex, who spent part of his childhood in Asia and part in Connecticut.

Alex felt that same sense of reward while treating local patients with special needs during a rotation with the Westchester Institute for Human Development. The institute, which is located on the New York Medical College campus, provides comprehensive healthcare, including oral care, to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The rotation is one of several avenues for TCDM students to serve their community outside the walls of the school’s clinic, providing valuable real-life experiences with patients in a variety of settings including hospitals, federally qualified health centers and mobile dental units. Alex was struck by how happy many of these patients were to see him, how valuable oral care was to their overall health, and how challenging the work could be. “These patients are coming in pre-sedated and still it was so difficult to clean their teeth,” says Alex, who believes that learning to treat patients with special needs will position him well as he pursues a career in pediatric dentistry. “For us it’s a common procedure, but for them, it’s anything but common. I saw that it takes a lot of moving parts for the care to work.”

Alex’s passion for helping people stems from his upbringing and family—their faith as Latter-day Saints, and their commitment to community. “Dentists have always been pillars in the community, educating and serving people,” says Alex. “Dentistry is a good way to live out my belief in serving others.”