Celebrating 10 Years of the Graduate Prosthodontics Program

It’s the 10th anniversary of three UBC Dentistry graduate programs—orthodontics, pediatrics and prosthodontics! To celebrate, we are highlighting some of our amazing alumni as part of an “in conversation with” feature to learn more about their time at UBC Dentistry and where they are today. Our first connection is with prosthodontist Dr. Nesrine Mostafa, MSc, Dip Pros 2016.

Can you walk us through your career journey?

I completed dental school in Egypt, and after graduation, I practiced mostly in a hospital setting doing oral surgery. I was always interested in tissue engineering research —my dad was an engineer—so when my husband and I moved to Canada, I decided to start a PhD at the University of Alberta in tissue engineering. My research looked at bone regeneration in cleft palates, which perfectly combined my interests in engineering and dentistry.

While doing my PhD, I took my board exams to become a certified dentist in Canada, and in 2013 I decided to apply to the prosthodontics graduate program at UBC. I graduated in 2016 and was offered a full-time faculty position at UBC, and I later started my own practice in Surrey. For the past two years, I’ve been working part-time at UBC teaching graduate and undergraduate courses and clinics and working part-time in private practice.

What do you love most about what you do?

Although I came to Canada with the objective of becoming an academic, I eventually gravitated back to the clinical side of dentistry. I have a lot of experience with surgery from my time in Egypt, so I’m a surgically trained prosthodontist.

I enjoy the variety of procedures I do on any given day and interacting with patients. In prosthodontics, we work with patients who require complex oral rehabilitation, such as implants, dentures, bridges and crowns. We often follow a patient for many years, so we build a relationship with them. Giving someone the smile they’ve always wanted is very fulfilling.

What is one of your fondest memories of UBC?

My clinical and research interests are focused on digital dentistry, complex implant reconstructions and aesthetic rehabilitation. I was fortunate enough to create a digital course offered to graduate students specializing in prosthodontics and periodontics.

Several UBC professors, including Dr. Anthony McCullagh and Dr. Chris Wyatt had previously set up a digital dentistry lab for graduate students. Dr. Wyatt asked me to create a course to teach students how to use the digital lab effectively. The course launched in 2019 and has been offered ever since. I would like to acknowledge Drs. Ahmed Ballo, Kevin Aminzadeh and Faraj Edher who helped me start this course.

I think using digital technology in dentistry is so important because it allows patients to visualize and understand what you can offer them. For example, a digital smile design can predictably transform a patient’s smile even in the most complex dental cases.

Getting involved in the digital side of dentistry and creating this graduate course changed how I explain things to patients in the clinic and how I present my treatment plans to them.

What would you say to someone who is interested in pursuing a career in prosthodontics?

In my opinion, it’s the most exciting specialty in terms of the variability of treatments you can offer patients. Prosthodontics provides the opportunity to work with other specialists and manage a patient’s treatment for many years. I would also say you’re bound to make mistakes but learn from those—this is a complex specialty, and it will take time to develop your skills.

What is your idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon?

I have three kids, so my Sundays usually involve a family activity.