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‘If permanent tooth eruption is delayed beyond the age of 6, parents must consult a dentist’

Dr Divya Ahuja, who did her schooling at Apeejay School, Faridabad, says parents must consult a dentist for their child at the age of six months and six years

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Dr Divya Ahuja, an alumna of Apeejay School, Faridabad, says she owes her successful career to her school and everything she learned there. The consulting orthodontist from Chandigarh spoke to us in an interview about her school days, the benefits of orthodontic treatment, and more. Edited excerpts:

Tell us about your school days.

I was in Apeejay School, Faridabad, from nursery to class 11. I have many good memories of school. Today, I am well-established as a medical professional and a lot of credit for that goes to my school, apart from my parents. I remember that my younger sister was struggling for admission into a good school. My parents soon realised that the kind of upbringing that one has at Apeejay is something unique. At that time, it was the only school that was providing facilities for co-curricular activities like gardening, swimming, and so on.

Dr Divya Ahuja

How were you as a student?

Academically, I was an average student, but I was good at co-curricular activities. I liked dancing and always participated in annual functions and inter-school competitions. I even got a scholarship in the tenth standard. I participated in swimming competitions as well. In terms of building confidence, Apeejay has no competition to date, I think.   

How did the school help shape your personality?

I have always looked up to Mrs S Samra, who was the principal of our school at the time. I was in awe of her poised, calm demeanour and her confidence level. She would always end the morning assembly with a motivational quote. She was one personality who had a lasting impression on me. Today, I am running two businesses simultaneously—my clinic and a path lab–and to do that, you need a lot of confidence, which I believe I’ve imbibed from Samra Ma’am.

Why did you choose to specialise in Orthodontics?

Both my parents are doctors who have their own nursing home at Faridabad. I secured a very good rank in my post-graduation. I came fourth in the UP Dental Exam and got into the orthodontics branch. Orthodontics is the top-most branch of dentistry, and it is not easy to get through. This is a very clean practice—you get to deal mostly with children.

So, how has the journey been so far?

I am very content with my life. I completed my post-graduation in 2015 and got married in 2017. So, for two years, I worked really hard in a civil hospital and learned general dentistry skills, just so that I could reach where I am today. I feel proud as a woman who has been able to achieve her goals all while fulfilling other duties.

Can you tell us what Orthodontic treatment involves?

I deal in braces that are put on teeth that are crooked or ‘mal-aligned’ to make one’s profile look beautiful. The overall treatment lasts between eight months and 1.5 years.

Would you say it impacts one’s personality in a way?

I am one example myself of how orthodontic treatment boosts a person’s confidence. I had a very prognathic (extension or bulging out of the lower jaw) profile caused by an accident in my sixth standard. From my personal experience, I know how someone with this condition is hesitant to face people, especially girls. They get very conscious or lack self-confidence. The same is true in the case of crooked teeth.

Invisible aligners are becoming popular now. How do they work?

Invisible aligners work well in cases that are less complicated. For those who have a lot of crooked and mal-aligned teeth, I would suggest metal brackets. Second, aligners are very expensive, so they are only for people who are ready to pay a hefty amount. Third, in the case of aligners, the chances of success are dependent on the patient who may or may not wear them regularly. There are times when a patient feels pain or pressure and they take out the aligners.

Can you suggest some preventive measures for abnormal alignment of teeth?

Parents have to be very careful about their children’s dental health, especially between the ages of 6 and 12. They need to observe the teeth alignment of their child. Children have milk teeth till the age of five; permanent teeth begin erupting from the age of six. If the tooth eruption is delayed in the front-upper and lower region, parents should ideally consult a dentist and get the milk teeth extracted. Make sure your child does not have the habit of thumb sucking, bottle feeding and is getting all the teeth exfoliated well in time. So, the two most important phases when parents should consult a dentist are at the age of six months and six years.

Any message for Apeejayites?

If you want to be a dentist, you need to work hard. The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is difficult. Devote your time properly to your academics. Along with that, invest time in co-curricular activities for your mental well-being. It is all about dividing your time wisely.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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