Interview with Dr. Bijal Patel and What Led to Her Dental Career
Family is very important to me. When I was growing up, I had a big extended family that lived together in New Jersey. My father came to the United States from India to get his computer science degree. When I was three or four years old, my dad was studying to get his Masters's Degree while working full time. I remember thinking, “Why is he never home until so late?” That is just what he had to do. He would come home at night and take time to spend with me, then go back to studying until who knows how late. I value my father’s opinion and work ethic. We are very close and I consider him a great friend. He was very instrumental in why I became a dentist.
How I Decided on a Dental Career
I attended a vocational high school and was interested in being an architect. The school had all students major in something such as biology, science, accounting, or architecture. So for the last two years of our studies, we focused on our chosen majors. I was focusing on architecture at that time. At the school, we had a 3D printer and software that helped create many things. I was very interested in the artistic aspect of architecture but I kept saying, “Dad, I don’t know what to do with my life.” He kept throwing out career ideas and telling me to shadow various people to find out if I’d be interested in that field.
One day my father came home to tell me he had met a dental hygienist and asked what I thought about a dental career. Also, the daughter of one of his co-workers was a dentist. So he encouraged me to shadow them and see what I thought about it. So I did shadow the hygienist and dentist and thought to myself, “I think I can do this. I see the artistic side of it, the hands-on part and the creative parts.” I could see many crossovers between architecture and the dental field using similar software and even the 3D printer, which can be used to make dental crowns and other dental appliances.
After receiving my Bachelor of Science degree from Seton Hall University, I went to Boston, Massachusetts, to complete my D.M.D. at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Then I completed a General Practice Residency at St. Barnabas Hospital in Bronx, N.Y.
How I Found Mid Cities Dental
I am very picky about who I work with. I wouldn’t apply to just any office or want to work for a corporate dental practice. I’m very conservative with my dental approach and wanted to work with another dentist with the same values. I don’t want to just drill teeth. I had found a dental office that I liked working with on Mondays and Tuesdays and needed another office where I could work Wednesday through Friday. Before the perfect office opportunity arrived, I waited. When I walked into Mid Cities Dental, I immediately loved the atmosphere. Everyone is so kind and welcoming. Dr. Eberlein is the type of dentist I want to work with.
I love to travel. Last year I visited Cuba and Panama. I fly home to visit my family often. Many of my friends from dental school are getting married this year so I will be traveling all over the U.S. to attend their weddings. I also love to cook and love baking cupcakes. Contact us today to set up your appointment!