Math Career Fair Interview By Matthew Harsfield

Math Career Fair Interview By Matthew Harsfield
Posted on 08/21/2017

I was recently interviewed by my son Matthew for a "math career fair".  Students learned about careers that involve using math on a daily basis.  Matthew was very proud to be able to interview me!  Those who visited Matthew's project at the fair learned how math is used in my orthodontic profession.  Most people were surprised to learn how much math is involved in achieving a beautiful smile.  Read on for some interesting facts about me!

Here is his interview:

1)  Where do you work?

I work at Chestnut Dental in Needham, Massachusetts.

2)  What do you do?

I am an orthodontist.  I change dental malocclusions (bad bites) and skeletal imperfections.

3)  How do you use math in your career?
First I look at the child’s x-rays and photographs and models. Then I calculate the distance between the teeth and the skeleton and where things need to move.  This helps me come up with the proper diagnosis and treatment plan specific to each patient.

4)  How important is math in your career?
I use math every single day. I have to calculate the proper size of wire for each bracket which helps move the teeth.  I have to measure exactly where to place the bracket on each tooth.  Each person wants to know how long their braces will be on for so I calculate how many months or years it will take to move the teeth.  Also each day we use math to tell people how much money their braces will cost.

5)  What type of math do you use in your career?
I use a lot of geometry because I look at angles in kids’ mouths.  I also use addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and percentages.

6)  How did you feel about math when you were younger?
I hated math. I especially hated word problems. I did well in math because I forced myself to study. To help make math more enjoyable to me, I used sports related topics like baseball batting averages, basketball shooting percentages, and football quarterback ratings.

7)  How did you learn to use math in your career?

In dental school we learned how to take x-rays and how to read them to see where the teeth were located. how to bend wires to move teeth certain ways, how to apply brackets onto teeth to move them other ways, and how to use appliances to move jawbones in a different way.

8)  What is your educational background?

I went to Canton High School in Canton, Massachusetts and earned my diploma.  Then I went to the University of Vermont where I majored in Agriculture and Life Science.  Then I earned my D.M.D. from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.  After that I earned another degree in General Dentistry from Harvard University Dental School.  Finally I earned my degree in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.  I have been an orthodontist for 16 years.

I am so proud of all the hard work he put in!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Dr. Scott Harsfield
Orthodontist, Needham office