Dental Health

Dental Scholar Shares Artwork of Dentistry on TikTok

As she follows the path of her parents who are dentists, Karsen Springfield shares her dental school experiences and the artistry of dentistry on her TikTok account “Karrrsen” not only for enjoyment, but also to provide access to information for individuals who are interested in pursuing dentistry.

Karsen Springfield always had a strong interest in art and science. She was inspired to pursue dentistry by her parents, who are graduates of the UT Health Science Center College of Dentistry. Now a first-year dental student, she is sharing her perspective of the artistry in dentistry on social media.

Her father, Felix Springfield, DDS, graduated in 1991, and her mother, Adeline Prophete, DDS, MPH, graduated in 1992. “My dad was also really good at art, so I think the talent trickled down,” Springfield said. “I had a really cool biology teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School that I loved so much, I would go home and do the science experiments that we did in class. So, I thought, ‘I like science and art, maybe it’s dentistry,’ and it was the only thing that blends my two interests.”

Springfield, from Memphis, earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Christian Brothers University. She was attracted to UT Health Science Center College of Dentistry to remain close to home and because of the help she received from Dayna Myers, RDH, MDH, director of Admission Administration and Advising in the college.

“At CBU, I was in Beta Beta Beta Honor Society, the biological honor society. For my sophomore year and junior year, I was the pre-health chair and senior year, I was the vice president, and we did a lot of communications with different professionals in the health care field. Dayna Myers would come, and I always made sure to go to the College of Dentistry and I wanted to show interest, and Dayna helped me throughout my whole process,” she said. “I emailed other schools that I applied to and none of their admissions people ever responded to me. I thought, ‘She’s so personable.’”

Now, she is documenting her experiences in dental school on her TikTok account, “Karrrsen,” with videos practicing dental wax-ups, studying in the dental technique lab, giving informational advice about dental school and the Dental Admissions Test, and other topics including recipes and crafts. She currently has more than 32,000 followers, and her first dentistry video of using a waxing block to create carved teeth out of wax gained 15 million views.

Springfield said it is not only something that she enjoys and helps reduce stress, but it is also a way for her to extend information to others who are interested in pursuing dentistry but may not have access to advice or resources.

“I did have a lot of guidance. Of course, my parents have been through the process, but I never thought, ‘OK, maybe someone has absolutely no idea how to even start,’ so I thought I will start posting more advice about how to get in and what we’re doing throughout the day-to-day,” she said. “Just making sure that people who look like me or people who might not be as fortunate as I was to be handed so many resources to get where I am, can still have a fighting chance. And, I also like to post content that relates to people.”

Springfield recalls a discussion about her studies with her uncle, who is the chief executive officer of the Haitian Christian Mission, a nonprofit organization that empowers and builds better communities in Haiti through education, health care, evangelism, and sustainability. “My mom, she’s Haitian, her whole side of the family, her dad who passed away a couple of years ago, him and his wife, my grandma, they were both pastors and they started the Haitian Christian Mission. It’s blown up so big, they have surgery centers, dental clinics, and things like that,” she said. “And my uncle will tell me, ‘All we do is extractions and fillings because we don’t have all the equipment to do other complex things.’ I thought, ‘Wow, it never crossed my mind,’ but I did know that at UTHSC we have a lot of technology that even other dental schools in the states don’t have.”

She has also noticed many comments from viewers wondering whether dentistry would be their chosen field, and realized some people may not know there is an artistic component to the profession.

“I think if more people knew that, then it could be better for our field in general, because there’s so many people that would be so good at this, but maybe they don’t want to pursue it because they don’t really know what it’s all about,” she said.

Springfield, who is studying to become a general dentist, is also involved in organizations, including the American Student Dental Association, and she was selected to serve as a D1 representative at the association’s District 4 Annual Conference in Nashville in January. She was also recently elected to serve as treasurer on the D1 class executive board. She is a member of The Thrive Project, a new student organization that focuses on the overall well-being of student dentists, and recently served in a winter clothing donation event at the Memphis Union Mission. She is also a member of the Student National Dental Association and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

This story was initially published in the Winter 2024 College of Dentistry Magazine.

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