I became a dentist because my father is a physician. He loved what he did, and I knew that I wanted to follow in his footsteps. As my education went further and further, I realized being in a hospital, dealing with life and death, was something that I did not want to face. I wanted to work with my hands, I wanted to do surgery, but I also wanted to have children and have a family. Dentistry just seemed the perfect fit as I was also a math major. Precision and detail, they all link together.
I knew when I went to dental school that I wanted to go into a surgical specialty in dentistry. There are two surgical subspecialties in dentistry, oral surgery and periodontics. Periodontics is a few less years. Oral surgery, the top programs now require six years after dental school, which four of them are medical school. Three to four of them are medical school, so again that would be the hospital-based rotations, staying up all night, the getting the MD degree, which I decided was not the route I wanted to go. Periodontics seemed a perfect fit, and it has been.
I went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and I have a bachelor’s of science and mathematics. I went to Baylor dental school, which is now part of the Texas A&M system. It transitioned with the end of my training there, so I was the last year of the dental degree being a doctor of dental surgery from Baylor College of Dentistry, now it's part of Texas A&M. While I was in dental school, I knew, 'cause I knew day one what I wanted to do, and I went straight into my residency at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, which, it still is, but then it was the top program in the country.
In my residency I got a master's of science in periodontology. I have the DDS degree, and a master's of science, an MS degree. Those two degrees. The whole process from start to finish, four years of college, four years of dental school, then three years of residency. The patients benefit from continuing education because they're getting the most state-of-the-art, fresh, new, current treatment because their doctor knows what it is. Not everything that's brand new is necessarily the best, and it's important to be able to sift through what's new and not necessary, and what's new and beneficial.
It's not always straightforward, but a good background and education where you understand studies, and you understand the study design, and the discussion, and the conclusions, and how studies in our literature are written, and how they're conducted, really is relevant in making a decision because not every new product really has statistically significant and worthwhile results. Not every avenue needs to be embarked upon and every new toy needs to be purchased. I mean, they're fun, but they're costly and they're not necessarily always beneficial.
Dr. Beth Dorfman is an honors graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. She received her doctorate in dental surgery from Baylor College of Dentistry and a master’s degree as well as a postgraduate certificate in periodontics from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.
Dr. Dorfman, who is certified to administer IV conscious sedation, is a member of the American Academy of Periodontology, the Academy of Osseointegration, the American Association of Women Dentists, and several other dental societies and organizations. While in training, Dr. Dorfman co-authored several scientific articles and presented her research findings at several national and international meetings. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology.
A board-certified periodontist in Middlesex, Dr. Dorfman works closely with Dr. Ralph Reilly to serve our dental implant patients. She places implants then Dr. Reilly restores them, so our patients can get their entire procedure performed by the same team. This saves time and money.