Periodontic graduate thankful for all the perspectives offered at U of A program

Dr. Sandeep Dab, MSc Periodontics '20

Jessalyn King - 31 July 2020

Dr. Sandeep Dab began his dentistry journey in India. He worked in private practice for several years before he and his wife (also a dentist) moved to Canada. After completing the University of Toronto's Advanced Standing program, he practiced for another few years.

"Becoming a specialist was always in the back of my mind," he says. "I felt a kind of emptiness and wanted to fulfill my dream. It was my wife who encouraged me to apply for a grad program."

Dab says he chose periodontics because it offers him the most tools for his patients. and stimulates your mind."

Drs. Monica Gibson and Douglas Dederich, Co-Directors Graduate Periodontics, say, "Considering his great hand skills at the start, we saw an amazing development by the end. He could do delicate procedures and problem solve at the same time during clinical procedures. That shows a maturity of clinical skills."

As with many dentists, the field came to Dab as a mix between the mechanical and healthcare. "My parents told me I was always hands-on, opening things and putting them back together — sometimes unsuccessfully!" he jokes. "Most of my family is in medicine, and I had this technical bent of mind that didn't exactly fit the mould. I found that combination in dentistry, where you need good hand-eye coordination, a lot of technical prowess, and you're managing the health of the patient."

Each student completed and defended a research project throughout their program, and Dab's involved investigating whether SIBLING proteins change over time (they do!). SIBLING proteins play a part in mineralization. Lack of these proteins leads to mineralization defects, with a potential role in bone loss, among other things. "My research could have big impacts on diagnosis and regenerative research," Dab says.

Gibson says, "For someone with little prior experience with heavy research skills like cutting slides, Sandeep impressed us with his dedication to picking up those skills.

Although his graduation and exams were delayed by the pandemic, Dab admits that the timing could have been worse. It gave him more time to focus on the didactic part of his program, which had some benefits.

Dederich says Dab's generosity towards his fellow students really shone through the pandemic. "Once he realized he had his skills down, Sandeep offered the surgeries that were scheduled in the summer to the others."

Dab was grateful for all the various perspectives offered by the instructors in the program and wanted to be sure to thank them all for their support. "Dr. Dederich strongly influenced my surgical clinical decisions. Dr. McDonald's ability to focus on details and accuracy was very influential. Dr. Gibson's knowledge in didactics, research and clinical was enriching. And Drs. Czernick and Park's clinical acumen in surgeries is par excellence. I think our program hosts a mix of these philosophies to choose from, and it's been an honour learning under their wings."