Reflections from a periodontic graduate

Dr. Amirsalar Mofidi, MSc Periodontics '20

Jessalyn King - 31 July 2020

Dr. Amirsalar Mofidi did his Doctor of Dental Surgery at the University of Western Ontario and practiced for a year in a rural town before beginning his specialist journey.

Mofidi says, "When I was working in private practice, I realized I didn't want to remain a 'master of none' as the saying goes. I knew I liked surgery, so periodontics was the best compromise between time spent in school and the career I would come out with."

Now that he is finished his program, Mofidi reflects on the traits he needed to be an excellent periodontist. "You need to be internally motivated to try to be the best because no one's trying to make you better. You need to be patient with yourself, even if you see deficiencies in your skills. You need a desire for lifelong learning, and finally, you also need a chill personality, which helps your patients feel relaxed."

He says, "As I’m leaving, a few patients are coming back from my first year, and it's awesome. I love that I get to build long-term relationships with my patients.”

Dr. Monica Gibson, Co-Director Graduate Periodontics, says, "Salar outperformed academically, excelled in his courses and was always willing to help his classmates."

Mofidi says he'll miss the working environment at the U of A. "Everyone was so collegial! The support staff here create an amazing environment, I've become close friends with my classmates and even the students in the other dentistry programs and years; we were all very close. I know not every program is so lucky to have such a great atmosphere to come to, so I feel fortunate! A friendly atmosphere reflects positively on patients as well.”

Mofidi says, "Two instructors, in particular, really helped me. One imparted his wisdom of the career itself, including patient communication and when not to get frustrated, and the second one had amazing technical skills. Together their instruction was perfect."

When the pandemic hit, Mofidi and his class had only a few months left of their program. For Mofidi, the hardest thing was the delay of the board exams. "It creates a bit of a problem with job hunting. We're not technically specialists yet, but we can do specialty work — employers don't know what to do with us until we get our licenses in January."

Dr. Douglas Dederich, Co-Director Graduate Periodontics, says, "Salar was someone I could lean on. He brought very constructive feedback to us that we used to improve the program. For example, he was always willing to sit down and assist his classmates. We have realized the value in this, and that is now a mandatory part of the program."

Having graduated, Mofidi is most excited by the prospect of settling somewhere. "Honestly, since 2012, I haven't been in a consistent location — London, Ottawa, Edmonton and now I'm going back to Toronto. Even though I have a gift for keeping relationships over a distance, I'm looking forward to settling down and building in one spot."