On September 28, 2018 I officially became the owner of Victor Prosthodontics, fulfilling a lifelong dream.
So how did I get here?
Studying, studying, and more studying
From a very early age I knew that I wanted to become a dentist (I’ll cover the funny story as to why in a separate post!). What I didn’t know was just how many years of studying I would have to complete in order to get to where I am today. In fact, my family back home in Guatemala tried to convince me to study business instead of dentistry, because they thought the path was too long and too hard.
The pursuit of excellence in the field of dentistry has led me on a long journey. From Guatemala to New York City to Rochester. Treating patients of varying cultures, languages, and socio-economic statuses has helped me to gain better insight into the differences in how dentistry is practiced around the world. But even more importantly, my experiences have provided me with a road map for how best to serve a really diverse set of patients.
I have been strongly influenced by the excellent faculty members that I have had the privilege to work with during my studies. I have come to really admire them, as they have not only been acclaimed in their field, but excellent mentors and role models. Simply put, I knew I wanted to become just like them.
After attending dental school in my hometown of Guatemala City, my passion for further education and training brought me to the United States in 2009, attending an International Advanced Education in Prosthodontics residency program at New York University (NYU). The following year I was offered to stay on for a one year honorary fellowship by the Department of Prosthodontics. That first fellowship gave me the opportunity to guide the new international students and teach them in the laboratory and the clinical practice. I really enjoyed those first two years in the United States – meeting new patients, learning (a lot!), and teaching.
At the end of my second year in the United States I knew that I wanted to continue studying, as I had decided that I wanted to become a specialist and become a Prosthodontist. However, this decision wasn’t easy for me. It was very difficult to leave my family behind in Guatemala and I missed them terribly. After a lot of thought, I made the decision to stay for three more years and complete the the specialist program in Prosthodontics at NYU.
My mom has always played a key role in my decision to continue specializing within dentistry. She is a successful businesswoman back home with four children that she raised as a single mother after my father passed away when I was just nine years old. My mother took what was a really difficult time in our lives and taught us the importance of studying and trying to become a better person each and every day. Whenever I wondered if I made the correct decision, I thought about how happy I was while completing my 5 years of advanced training at NYU and always came to the conclusion that it was time well spent.
During my Prosthodontics residency I placed implants and performed some implant surgeries but I wasn’t yet confident enough in that particular area. That’s why I decided to apply for the one year fellowship at the Eastman Institute of Oral Health (EIOH) at the University of Rochester. They only took one fellow per year – but I was chosen and finished my implant fellowship in 2014. After graduating I was given the opportunity to teach in the Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) program at EIOH while also completing the requirements to be able to get my license to work in private practice in New York – another of my dreams!
Having now finished 15 years of education and training in the field of dentistry, I am able to say that I loved each of the steps that it took to get to this point.
…and what I’m doing now
I am currently a part-time Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Rochester in the AEGD program and also in the Department of Prosthodontics. And of course I now work in my own private practice…Victor Prosthodontics(!) which has been my dream since I began this journey more than 15 years ago.
All I can say is that I truly enjoy what I do and I cannot believe how happy I am to be a Prosthodontist. Each morning I wake up thinking about how lucky I am to be able to improve the lives and smiles of my patients.
This message of transformation is a big part of the meaning behind the logo for our practice. Thank you for reading this & Welcome to Victor Prosthodontics!
Dr. Gabriela Carranza