Hi, my name is Savannah Furlong, and I’m a dental assistant for the Verber Dental Group.
For my high school program I went to Dauphin County Technical School, which is a career and technical school, and we focus on one trade for all 4 years of high school. So, I originally wanted to specialize in physical therapy, but there were no spots in that available so I got into dental assisting and, I ended up really liking it. I just wanted to pursue it more. So, I went through that and I learned about chairside assisting, sterilization, radiation, x-rays, everything.
So, my first dental assisting program teacher left teaching to go work at Fox Dental (a VDG practice). She told me about a position to become a sterile tech and I decided to pursue it. I contacted Verber Dental Group and here I am now.
During senior year or even junior year in our program time we can go out and work in the field to get some experience and make money. That is our cooperative education and we use that time in the field towards our program time. I reached out to Verber Dental Group since I was already working with them (as a sterile tech). I asked them if it was okay to do cooperative education with them. So I was going to school 3 days a week, then coming to Verber 3 days a week. I still went to school, got my academics, got my program time, but I was also getting time in the field.
The good thing about career and technical school is that you can really decide based on you, what you want to do. Some people go into the military, some people go straight into the field and other people pursue college. I’ve decided to pursue college, so in the fall I’m going to Westminster College to study neuroscience with a pre-dental track. After that I would like to go to dental school and study pediatric dentistry.
The reason I like dentistry is because I was pretty much forced into dentistry. I really didn’t have any desire to become a dentist. I never had a bad experience at the dentist, but never thought “hey I want to be a dentist when I grow up.” But, because I was in this program, I was learning and I was in this environment, I just loved the people I was around just in a classroom aspect and I just kept pursuing it, learning on my own, in class, I did everything I could.
What sparked my interest about doing pediatrics is, my classmate at the time, her little brother came in one day to teach us about special needs children in the dental field. So all day we had him in the clinic and we were teaching him about brushing your teeth, and just seeing how different it is for children and kids who have special needs. So for Finn with down syndrome, it was difficult for him to be in a general dentist environment, because it’s difficult to hear all the noises from the drill and all the other different noises going on in the background. So, he would really like to be in a pediatric office, but he just can’t because there aren’t a lot of them around. So, his mom said if you’re interested in pediatrics, please go for it. Since then I thought “wow, this would be a great idea for me, I love working with kids, I have a job right now working with kids, and I would love to pursue that in the future.” Ever since then, I paid attention to pediatrics and I read books, did everything I could to focus on pediatrics.
My favorite person to work with is Dr. Kolts. He’s been a great mentor to me, he’s taught me so much, and from the first day he found out I was a high school student he hasn’t treated me any differently. He told me why he did things, for comfort or quality assurance, whatever it may be, he explains it to me completely and it makes so much sense when he does explain things to me. It’s just been great to have him by my side and he trusts me with everything, and it’s great to have somebody like that. Even if I work with the EFDAs one day, and work with hygienists the next day, just being alongside them more, it doesn’t matter because I still have a great day, they all treat me with respect and we all get along and it’s been great. I can’t choose favorites.
My future goal is to become a pediatric dentist, I’d like to come back to the Verber Dental Group. We’ll see where 10+ years of schooling takes me…