The Transition to a Dental Faculty Position

By: Tanya Sue Maestas

Hi, I’m Tanya Sue Maestas. I’ve recently taken up a faculty position at the new dental school in El Paso, Texas – Woody L Hunt School of Dental Medicine.

Alongside being a clinician in a public health setting, I have found being a faculty member to be incredibly rewarding — so rewarding that I would recommend it as a possible career move for other dentists.

I was drawn to academia after working with students through my involvement in the American Student Dental Association; that experience was both wonderful and transformative.

On both a personal and a professional level, it has been extremely worthwhile to work alongside students.

Benefits of a Dental Faculty Position

In a Professional Capacity

In a professional capacity, I have found that working in education has given me access to the most recent, cutting-edge techniques that we are teaching as best practices.

The students themselves, are always excited to learn about the most technologically advanced methodologies in the field.

On a Personal Level

On a personal level, it has been fantastic to watch the students grow over the course of their studies.

Since I follow a group of students closely over a few years, I get to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and help them become the best dentists they can be.

Advice for Dental Students

Any dental students reading this may be wondering what advice I have for them — things that I consistently see in successful students or ways to make the most of dental school.

I will say this: fortune favors the bold.

Because you’re young, you might think that you don’t have access to opportunities like specialized clinical practice or research opportunities.

But you might be surprised at how often you can gain access to these opportunities even as a student.

Students often think that it’s the wrong time to reach out and develop themselves, but the right time is
often right now.

Building your network and developing professional relationships as a student will be helpful to you as you transition into your professional career.

Up Next: Technology Investments

Photo by Cedric Fauntleroy

Tanya Sue Maestas, DDS

Tanya Sue Maestas, DDS

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas graduated from The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston in 2018. During her dental school career, she served as the national American Student Dental Association President and became involved in organized dentistry. After graduating, she completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency in 2019. Upon completion of her residency, she returned to the El Paso Borderland community where she serves as a Dental Director at La Clinica de Familia in Chaparral, New Mexico. She also serves as a faculty member at the Woody L Hunt School of Dental Medicine in El Paso, Texas. She remains involved in organized dentistry and holds various leadership roles in organizations including the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, Texas Academy of General Dentistry, Hispanic Dental Association, and others. She currently serves on the ADA Council on Communications and previously completed the ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership Program. She was recognized as an ADA 10 under 10 winner, Incisal Edge 40 under 40, and previously nominated as one of Texas New Dentists of the Year. She currently hosts New Dentists on the Block where she helps showcase the New Dentist story and build connections with new dentists around her and Dental Fuel a podcast dedicated to sharing and learning from industry leaders’ mistakes. She has a commitment to providing dental care to the Borderland community and hopes to encourage the next generation of dentists to give back to the community.