Zimuzo

Ngozi Okafor; The Dental Technologist

IMG-20130113-00262We hadn’t heard of Dental Technology so were fascinated to learn more about it when we met this Dental Technologist. Ngozi Okafor, is a Dental Technologist and a lecturer at Federal School of Dental Therapy and Technology, Enugu, where they sure do put smiles on people’s faces. Dive in to learn more about Ngozi’s fascinating career path…

 How old are you and where did you grow up?

I’m 33. I grew up in Enugu. I had my primary education at New Haven Primary School and my secondary education at Metropolitan Girls Secondary School. I then went to study at the Federal School of Dental Therapy and Technology. I also have a PGD in Education from the National Teaching Institute Kaduna and a Masters in Education Technology from National Open University of Nigeria. I also have another PGD in Corporate Management and Strategic Planning from Columbus University.

Tell us a little bit about your professional career.

I’m a lecturer at the Dental School in Enugu. I’m two step away from being a senior lecturer. I teach courses like the science and properties of dental material for year one and two students. I also teach an introductory course to dental materials.

Did you always want to go into Dentistry or was it something you fell into?

Right from my childhood I aspired to be a dentist. Now, my area of specialty is dental technology so I guess I’m close. It all started when Granddad sent me to buy something from the Aboki. I asked for what I wanted- I think it was matches and when the Aboki opened his mouth and this bright light shone out of his mouth, I ran off in a fright.

Granddad eventually explained that it was a gold crown and that it was safe for me to go back. From that moment, I was hooked on dentistry.

And, how are your teeth? Do you have any gold crowns?

My teeth are still intact; in all their natural glory!

How did you find out about the Federal School of Dental Technology and Therapy?

A friend of mine knew about my interest in dentistry and told me about the school. I didn’t score high enough in the Joint Admissions and Matriculations board (JAMB) exam to study Dentistry but I had the chance to go on this programme. The school has two departments- Dental Technology and Dental Therapy. Technology is about restoration and we have several branches where people can specialize in maxillofacial prostedontics, crown and bridges, or orthodontics.

How did you get your first job after you graduated?

After the programme, I had my one year compulsory internship with the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu. After that they offered me a place but hadn’t confirmed the date I would begin. The Dental School also called me and offered me a job which I immediately accepted. By the time UNTH called to confirm the job offer I had already started at the Dental School.

What is the best thing about being a Dental Technologist?

It is heart-warming to know that we bring confidence to patients who have lost hope. You get to derive joy from putting smiles on people’s faces.

What are some of the biggest challenges faced by Dental Technologists in Nigeria?

The programme is expensive because dental technology takes a lot of money. You also see many people who are interested in fixing their teeth but can’t do it because of money.

Another challenging part is working with clients. You are trying to build artificial teeth to come as close to perfection as possible. Sometimes you make a denture and it doesn’t look like the real one.

You also get elderly people who tell you that they prefer their old dentures even when you’ve made yours better. Sometimes, convincing patients to accept your work is tough!

Why did you decide to go into education?

I went into education because I have a dream of running a private secondary school of my own. I want a technology secondary school where everything is digital and everyone is computer literate. I’ll make it affordable for everyone.

You are married with kids, how have you been able to juggle family with career?

Its been with the help of God and so many supportive people around me. My husband, my mum and my relations have been helpful when I couldn’t be a hundred per cent there.

24 comments

  1. Comr.Mgbebu.A Michael

    Dental Technology is the technical aspect of Dentistry,that fabricates dental appliances for patient’s.Indeed the course is self reliant and the its graduate always ready to offer,to restoring confidence and conveniece and also restore smiles and hope back to patients’.I am proud to be a Dental Technologist.I acknowledge my giant lecturer who taught me Dental materials-she always say”No Dental material,No Dentistry”Mrs.Okafor Ngozi.May God bless the profession.

  2. sixtus

    I got admission in the school but am jst confused, am still contemplating weda i shud go there bcs I was offered admission in the university of Ibadan to study veterinary medicine bt d problem z dat studing Dentistry in university has been my dream….. so my question is wch one shud i go for nd hw much do dental technicians receive in their intenship programme? I look foward to hearing 4rm u. thanks

    • ajiboye toba gideon

      @sixtus follow ur heart I was once exactly in ur shoes I decided to go with dental technology now am practicing. I no reason to regret .and please just to note dental technology is not. 2nd option 4 those who want to study dentistry bcos by far dental technology is more lucrative dan. Dental surgery all things been equal

  3. Ugo val

    One local man claiming to knw what dentist is all about filed my four front teeth too down, what best procedure can i do to lengthen my teeth

    • Katy

      Pls, there is a review of dental regulation council around d globe so d auxillary can see a patient without a surgeon.

  4. Udefi joseph ekwutosi

    I am a 2nd yr stdent of fed sch of dental tech nd therapy enugu,tech dept,pls dental technology is very lucrative,i like it.i there4 want to advice de jambite to apply 4 any of d 2 courses.i like my course.

  5. Dr. Eze

    please note that dentistry is speciality in medical field and doctors who read and practice dentistry are called dentists or dental surgeons. However there are other auxiliary or subordinate staff that assist the dentist,these are the dental technologist,dental therapist,dental nurse,dental hygienist,and the receptionist.

    Dentistry is only read in the university but these other allied occupations can be read in the university or polytechnic. The technologist stays in the lab and fabricates dental appliances and prosthesis to the prescription of the supervising dentist. That is to say that the technologist does not see a patient on his own and it is illegal for him to operate independent of a dentist whom the patient must see first for consultation. So the dentist is the leader and that answers any question on who earns better.

    If you want to become dentist pick jamb form any apply to the any of the universities offering the course,at the end of ur 6yr study you will be awarded the degree of Bachelor of Dental Surgery(BDS) or Doctor of Dental Surgery(DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD), only these university degrees qualify one to be called a dentist/dental surgeon.

  6. Ken Okeke

    Ken.
    In as much as one is not quarreling about claims that Dental Surgery is read only in the universities, it is known that dentistry is a team work and generic.All participants are members of the team. All professionals in the field are dentists.To clear doubt better kindly look up the definition of dentistry.

    Please note that with first degree in dental surgery you are only awarded Bachelor of Dental Surgery and not Doctor of Dental Surgery. You acquire DDS after you must have acquired a Masters Degree in Dental Surgery and you proceed further academically for doctorate. Please note also that no profession is bigger or better than the other. The choice of a career does not make ones profession master to other professions in dentistry.

    As per claim on who earns better, I do not know the number of people being fed by any Nigerian Dental Surgeons or paying their bills after all there is no record of any Dental Surgeon among the richest 1000 Nigerians. I will advice that we collectively start thinking globally instead of mundane parochial thinking that leads dentistry in Nigeria no where.

  7. OKOYEchristianChikelue

    DENTAL TECHNOLOGY – THE HIDDEN TREASURE! My experience in this profession, though as yet undergraduate cannot be overemphasized. I wish the whole world and our policy makers nation wide should fortify their effors to ensure that this course is promoted to its befitting and enviable standard………..AMEN…….

  8. Technologist Amy

    Dental Technologists do not assist d Dental surgeon, instead they work as a team. The Dentist have the DSA for assistance.

  9. francis

    What is their normal cut-off mark in jamb? Did they run any part time programed and what is the amount of money they pay has school fees?

  10. Ada Aba

    Pls i will lyk 2 kw wen the putme of 2014/2015 will b held and also d chances of nonindigenes of Enugu getting admition

  11. Anele udoka prince

    pls am a final year student of federal university of technology owerri, Dental technology department, school of health technology, am seeking for intern opportunity right now anywhere around d country, pls I solicit for ur help.thanks in anticipation

    • DR P.C

      HY Dear I’m Dr p.c (phD) a maxilofacial technologist (director of health NAFDAC). I wish to encourage you and other dental students in my alma mata(futo), hoping to see you in abuja after the elections for interview. I wish u d best of time (pls involve one or two of your class mates from futo so that they share with you). TO D GREATEST LECROAN

  12. D. T ONONIWU CHISOMAGA C

    I am in love with what I have seen……….
    we all in the dental team are dentist but have various areas of specialisation
    #PROUDLY#DENTAL#TECHNOLOGIST……

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