Behind the major with Katie Larson: Smile your way to confidence


Katie Larson is a sophomore majoring in biology on a pre-dentistry track at West Texas A&M University. Larson is from Wylie, Texas, and is working diligently to succeed in her future career.

Larson’s passion for dentistry began when she realized she wanted to make others feel comfortable and give them more confidence through a nice smile.

“I want to do general dentistry,” Larson said. “I want to fix other people’s teeth and better themselves.”

While dentistry has many specific paths, general dentistry is the most common. It’s the part that everyone experiences every year at their checkups. General dentists are the primary oral health care provider for adults and adolescents. Instead of focusing on a specific oral specialty, general dentists do various things. Some of the things they do are preventative dental care which includes cleanings, taking care of cavities, filling old cavities and checking teeth and gums. They also treat gum and teeth disease, whiten teeth, produce dentures, and care for crowns, bondings and veneers.

“My favorite thing about being a pre-dental biology major is getting to learn all parts of biology,” Larson said. “I enjoy learning the in-depth of biology and how the body works.”

It may be surprising to learn that pre-dental students have to take most of the pre-medical classes, like organic chemistry and biochemistry. These two and many others are essential as organic chemistry helps students in dental school when studying pharmacology, and biochemistry helps poor oral hygiene.

“At WT, I’ve had the chance to get to know a lot of different professions,” Larson said. “It’s been fun getting to know friends doing different things.”

In the field of dentistry, there are nine recognized specialties by the American Dental Association. These include dental anesthesiology, dental public health, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial pathology/radiology/surgery, oral medicine, orofacial pain, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and prosthodontics.
“I came to WT because my mom went here and loved it,” Larson said. “The university is also affordable and cheaper than most other schools.”

Once Larson was getting closer to choosing a university, she knew WT was the place to go. Although WT is in West Texas, which is full of wind gusts and flat lands, the campus felt like the place to go since she’d felt a sense of her mother here. Additionally, she has found a community at WT. “I’m a part of RHA (Residence Hall Association) and enjoy hanging out with my friends when I’m not busy with school,” Larson said.

Larson believes you should diligently focus on your studies and prioritize having fun.

“Study hard, but don’t be afraid to have fun while you are young and able to,” Larson said.