Why I Became A Dentist - Dr Sally Woods

Category: Caring

Dr Sally Woods, a general and cosmetic dentist in Wellington, New Zealand explains what made her want to become a dentist.

Every couple of weeks a patient will ask me why I became a dentist, and I do agree that to some people it may be considered an odd career choice.

As a child, I had healthy teeth but they didn’t all fit in my mouth in a straight line and I always knew that at some point I would need braces.

I also didn’t get wiggly teeth, the adult teeth would just grow around my baby teeth and so I ended up having most of my baby teeth removed by the dental nurse at school.

When I was 12 years old I went to see my Dad’s dentist who removed my last four baby teeth and four of my adult teeth to create a bit more space in my mouth.

I will never forget being numb and dribbling orange juice all over the carpet!

One week later I had my braces put on.


"After a couple of years of braces treatment, I had lovely straight teeth, a boost in confidence and I was ready to take on university." 


When I finished high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in the future. I liked maths and science, but I also really enjoyed my hard materials classes where I got to use tools and be creative. I also really enjoyed being around and talking with people.

I left Christchurch and moved to Dunedin where I studied first year Health Science at the University of Otago and applied to dental school. I was lucky to be offered one of 68 places in my dental school year.

It was cool to realise I could be a dentist and help people to feel confident in their smile- just like I did from my first extraction to having my braces off.

So, to answer the question of why I became a Dentist I think there are probably two reasons; The first because it combines many of the things I enjoy doing; science, using my hands, creativity, learning, problem solving and being around people. The second is I get to try and make peoples happiness and healthiness with their teeth as positive as possible, just like the opportunity I had growing up.

Dr Sally Woods was awarded one of five New Zealand graduate positions with Dental Corporation in 2013 and began working at McKeefry Dental at the start of 2014.

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