For many kids, having to wear braces for five years and getting four of your teeth pulled out before the age of nine would result in a strong aversion to the dentist.
But for St. John's University senior Luke McMahon, those experiences produced a different effect.
"I think either of those would have scared most kids away from the dentist, but for some reason, it didn't really bother me," McMahon said. "A lot of dental and orthodontic work at a young age got me thinking about dentistry."
McMahon, a Crystal, Minn. native, is now only months away from graduating with a degree in biology from the pre-dentistry program at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University.
McMahon had the opportunity to study abroad in China while at CSB/SJU.
He says he developed his interest in the field with the help of his neighbor and role model growing up, Jon Cruz, who now practices dentistry at Oak Park Dental in Pine City, Minn.
During various times throughout the past two and a-half years, McMahon has shadowed Cruz at Oak Park Dental - an experience that helped solidify his interest in the field.
"I saw first-hand the personal level of care, day-to-day variety and interaction with patients and staff that dentistry has to offer," McMahon said.
After graduation, McMahon is planning to attend either the University of Minnesota's School of Dentistry or Creighton University's School of Dentistry in Omaha, Neb.
"[It's] rewarding to see that my hard work has paid off," he said about his acceptance to both schools.
After dental school, McMahon plans to live in Minnesota and pursue a career in family practice.