Smiles of McGill Dentistry – Deborah Iera

February 2018

“Years ago, during my OMFS residency, I accompanied Dr Bentley, Program Director of OMFS at the time, to Iqaluit Baffin Island for a one-week rotation performing dentoalveolar surgery in this far north community. My first observations were the landscape, the glacial appearance of the terrain, and the fact that we never saw the sun set. As I walked through the city, I saw dog sleighs, pelts on the snow and babies peering out of their mother’s hoods. How little I knew about what existed in my home country, I thought. I fell in love with the kind and respectful nature of the people. How amazing that they had preserved their traditions and way of life. Most of all I was thrilled to be able to apply my skills in an underserviced community. The experience marked me in a positive fashion because I was exposed to a community that was different from my existence in Montreal. I came back a changed person. I never forgot what this experience gave me and the feeling of having made a real difference.

In my OMFS career, I realized that although I have enjoyed the challenging surgeries that I perform, I have gotten just as much fulfillment from the people/patients that I met.

My time in Iqaluit Baffin Island marked me in many positive ways and led me to take on other similar challenges. In later years, I was asked to fill a much-needed position for an OMFS on an Indian reserve. I quickly remembered how much I loved my experience up north and could not refuse. Throughout my career, my international missions have also become another source of great fulfillment. There are communities that really require our help because the surgical training is not readily available and/or the locations are more remote. Over time, we hope to close this gap and have medical access for everyone.”


No Plan B: A conversation with Dr. Deborah Iera

Listen to the full interview with Dr. Iera where she talks about career, community and the road to becoming an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon.


Dr. Deborah Iera (DDS, MSc, FRCDC) is an oral surgeon and works in McGill University’s Faculty of Dentistry where she is Director of the Undergraduate OMFS program and Assistant professor in the graduate OMFS program. In addition to her private practice in Westmount, she also works onsite at MUHC hospitals.

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