Growing up, Holly Markin knew she wanted to enter the medical field, but wasn’t sure which direction she would eventually take.
“Some of the other professions I thought about were physician and pharmacist,” she said.
“It was in my last year of high school that I decided I wanted to go into dentistry. I went into university knowing what I wanted to do.”
In high school, Markin was focused and spent her time studying, but also took time for athletics.
“I studied hard, and focused on math and the sciences, which are requirements for most medical programs, but I also took other courses I was interested in,” she said. “I also played sports.”
Upon entering the University of Manitoba for her undergrad, Markin knew the path she needed to follow and didn’t waiver from it.
“I started in my current field and stuck with it all the way through,” she said.
Because dentistry interested Markin, it was a clear choice.
“Dentistry was such an interesting field to me because not only is there the medical side to it, but there is an artistic element,” she said.
“I work with my hands, and have to create something that is both aesthetic and functional.
“Detail, precision and creativity are all very important,” Markin continued.
Throughout school and after graduation, it was clear that Markin had made the right choice.
“All along, I have really enjoyed what I do,” she said.
As a young dentist, Markin is passsionate about helping people care for their oral health, which ties in well to the month of April, which is National Oral Health Month.
“There are many things people can do to help with maintaining good oral health,” said Markin.
“One thing is reducing overall sugar intake, but also decreasing the frequency of consuming sugars throughout the day. This is very important for preventing cavities.”
A common question parents have is when they should take their child for their first dental appointment.
“The answer is within six months of their first tooth erupting, which is usually around age one,” said Markin. “Here in Manitoba, we have a program where a child’s first dental visit under the age of three is free!”
As with every career, there are certain challenges that are presented on a regular basis.
“The job is hard physically on your hands and your back,” said Markin. “When you’re working on the posterior surface of the last tooth in the mouth, access to it may be near impossible, and you have to get creative.”
Although there are challenges, the high points far outweigh them.
“It is rewarding to use my abilities to help out people in my community,” said Markin. “I enjoy getting patients out of pain, solving and preventing their dental issues and improving the esthetics of their smile.
“Lots of people don’t think of it, but your teeth play an integral role in daily life, whether it’s smiling, chewing or speaking.
“Some people will avoid doing certain activities, such as eating in front of other people, laughing or smiling, if they are having dental issues, and this can really affect their lives,” Markin continued.
Because the rewards balance the challenges, heading to work is exciting.
“Every day is something different,” said Markin. “I always think, as soon as I get relaxed and into a rhythm at work, something new and challenging comes up that stretches me.”
Markin currently works at Aspire Dental Centre with a number of other dentists and dental assistants.
“I am also so lucky to work with a great staff that I really enjoy seeing at work every day,” she said.
While dentistry certainly isn’t a career path for everyone, Markin did have some advice for those who are interested.
“Be well-rounded,” she concluded. “Programs are looking for applicants who have other things going on besides studying.
“Volunteer. Play sports. Spend time on your hobbies. Don’t just study.”