Meet an Alum: Dr. Kanika Bembey, Class of 2015

Posted on: Tuesday, 09/01/2020

Meet Dr. Bembey, an alumna who graduated from the UCLA School of Dentistry in 2015, who is now an associate periodontist practicing in northern California. Dr. Bembey came to the U.S. in 2011 when she was offered a spot to be an assistant researcher in the lab of Dr. David Wong, the dental school’s associate dean of research, and was inspired to pursue periodontology because of the research and clinical experience she gained researching salivary diagnostics as it relates to periodontal disease. As a licensed dentist in her home country of India, she ultimately wanted to earn a U.S. dental degree and in 2013 was accepted into UCLA’s Professional Program for International Dentists (PPID) to do just that.

Knowing what other PPID dental students were faced with, Dr. Bembey sought the advice of Dr. Steve Lee, director of the PPID program and a clinical professor, and worked with some fellow classmates to launch the PPID Post-Grad Application Enrichment Program to help guide students through the process of post graduate application preparation. Following dental school graduation, she went on to complete a postgraduate program in periodontics and a master’s degree at Nova Southeastern University in 2018. She returned to California shortly after completing her training and is happily treating patients in the Bay area.

1. Why did you choose dentistry & what do you most enjoy about being a dentist?

“I decided to be a dentist in India where I grew up. I am a people person, and being a dentist, I meet new people and build relationships with my patients everyday which I really enjoy. As a dental provider I am helping patients to restore their function, smile, confidence, and eliminate disease, which is the most satisfying part of my job.”

2. If you could share one piece of advice to current dental students and PPID students, what would it be?

“I know you have worked really hard to be where you are today. These will be the best days of your life surrounded with amazing people of UCLA Dentistry – teachers, mentors, and fellow students. UCLA is full of opportunities, and if there is something you want to achieve at school or after the PPID program, you can always find a mentor at UCLA who can guide you through.”

3. In what ways did the UCLA SoD prepare you for your professional practice/endeavors?

“The UCLA School of Dentistry builds a strong foundation for students on how they practice dentistry for the rest of their lives. The School has an exceptional training program, which allows the students to aim for long term success for the treatment they provide to their patients. The School trains the students to be detail oriented and not to skip any steps, which is key to a successful clinical practice. The hard work and long hours we put in from spending time in the lab to completing graduation requirements may seem challenging, but it all comes together when you start practicing.”

4. What is one of your fondest memories while you trained at UCLA SoD?

“The fondest memories during my training was spending time with my fellow classmates during lectures, labs, research, the student lounge, and mission trips. It's an amazing experience to see you and your class walk down commencement after all this time, effort, and hard work went into it. It’s all worth it!”

5. Who were your mentors who supported you throughout your training? What qualities did those mentors have?

“During my training I was very fortunate to have the most amazing mentors. My mentors were Dr. Steve Lee, Dr. Flavia Pirih, and Dr. Paulo Camargo. I really appreciate them for taking time out of their busy schedule and guiding me to achieve my goals. They were always available and enthusiastic about sharing their expertise, providing me with guidance, and constructive feedback.”