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Former Dental Assistant, Now Dentist Weaves Art Into Practice

Macy Punzalan, DMD, a 2024 graduate of the Doctor of Dental Medicine Program at the University of New England (UNE) in Portland, Maine, found her calling in the blend of art and science that is dental medicine. After years as a dental assistant in Williamsburg, Virginia, Punzalan witnessed firsthand the lengths to which patients went to receive care, and the prohibitive costs that often kept them away. This inspired her to further her education at UNE where she combined her passion for art and her dental experience to support those struggling to access dental care. She worked in UNE’s Oral Health Care Clinic, a teaching facility providing essential dental services to the community. Punzalan encountered many patients whose healthcare coverage issues prevented them from getting necessary procedures, strengthening her resolve to make a difference.

Driven by this mission, Punzalan started the Pristine Pearls Project Patient Fund, a nonprofit jewelry business launched in 2023. The project aims to alleviate dental care costs for those who cannot afford it. Thanks to the supportive community in Portland, Maine, she has successfully raised funds through local markets, art walks, and dental events.

Punzalan’s love for dentistry stems from her appreciation of its artistic elements. Her interest in orthodontics, which she views as the pinnacle of dental artistry, fuels her desire to craft perfect smiles.

Looking ahead to her residency at Boston University, Punzalan hopes to specialize in public health orthodontics, addressing the dental care gaps in rural areas. Her ultimate goal is to return to Maine and continue providing care to those in need, ensuring that everyone can access the dental services they deserve. Click here to read more.

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