How it felt to win at the Dentistry Awards and Oral Health Awards

Amber Ojak reveals how it felt to win at the Dentistry Awards and Oral Health Awards last year.

The year 2020 was certainly full of low points but winning two awards was definitely the highlight of my year.

Being awarded Highly Commended Best Recently-Qualified Therapist at the 2020 Oral Health Awards as well as Best Dental Therapist North at the Dentistry Awards are my biggest achievements to date. I still cannot believe it!

Having been qualified for just over two years, I would have never imagined that I would win two awards so early on in my career.

I have always been a very determined individual. Also, I always knew I wanted a career in dentistry. Hence why I did everything to make sure I achieved my goal.

Lighting a fire

Turning back the clock to my school days, I faced many teachers telling me I would never succeed in my goal. They had no faith in my abilities or passion to follow a dental career.

Sometimes, when you do not get support at this level, it can put students off trying to achieve their dreams. For me it lit a fire of ambition and determination to follow my plan.

Becoming a dental therapist has not been the easiest of paths; it took a serious amount of hard work and there were points where I wanted to throw in the towel. My university tutors were definitely some of my biggest motivators.

The path to success is never easy. I have definitely been tested in the last six years. However, there has always been a little voice in the back of my head saying: ‘Too many people thought you wouldn’t even make it this far, so do not give up now!’

I have always been a big advocate for the dental profession. There are many wonderful clinicians who I have come across who inspired me so much during my university course at Edinburgh and now in the workplace.

Oral health

The importance of oral health holds a very prominent place with me. Receiving the Highly Commended Best Recently-Qualified Therapist award at the Oral Health Awards 2020 has just amplified this. I must be on the right track in my career.

Since winning my award, patients have been really interested in my thoughts on oral health and especially my own oral health approach – educate, motivate and encourage (EME), which I am starting to trial in practice.

I am so excited for the future with this. I am hoping that with the additional motivation the awards have given me, I can potentially create a course around EME this year.

Winning Best Dental Therapist North at the Dentistry Awards was also a wonderful surprise. Many experienced clinicians win these awards. I would have never thought that I could achieve this at such a young age.

Hopefully, it shows young dental professionals that you can achieve anything if you put the work in and really strive to achieve it.

I want to show students there is no limit on what you can achieve, even if you’re newly-qualified.

It makes me think that if all my hard work has put me in this position now, where will I be in 10 years’ time?

This article first appeared in Dentistry magazine. You can read the latest issue here.

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