Dr. Nihal Bicakci, B.D.S, D.D.S is among the few renowned prosthodontists in Chicago, IL, specializing in veneers, a field of dentistry that remains predominantly male represented in 2021. Her story is of a woman’s persistence and determination to succeed in her chosen field of study despite the alarming gender disparity in prosthodontics. Female involvement in prosthodontics leadership remains limited over the past decades.
Being born and raised in Turkey and having attended dental school there, Dr. Nihal had to start everything from scratch and carve her own identity in a new land. She is now proud to be one of the 3,500 prosthodontists in the U.S. She left her career in Turkey for her husband, Dr. Hirant Bicakci, and came to the U.S. with him in 2000. She took two dental board exams, attended school again for two years, and pursued three more years of study with her specialization in Prosthodontics. As a successful prosthodontist, she creates smiles with minimally invasive dentistry and works towards her patients’ overall health and well-being.
Video Link: https://player.vimeo.com/video/57543471
Her American journey, right from a young and aspiring student to being a citizen of the country and establishing her own successful business, was full of challenges. Her initial years in the U.S. were tough. In 2003, she could not pursue her studies on a spouse visa, but her school, the UIC College of dentistry, hired her as a Clinical instructor at the Restorative Department. She was always known for her hard work and dedication. She eventually became American in the year 2012. Today, she is proud to be an American citizen and uphold American values of equality. She finds contentment in serving underserved communities abroad, and she also made a trip to The Gambia in 2017 to provide dental service to the needy.
Today, Dr. Nihal is a successful entrepreneur in the health industry. She has built three dental offices in Downtown Chicago, the third-largest city in the U.S. Even though she faced severe financial difficulties, including student and business loans, she never felt powerless. Dr. Nihal and her husband had to work from the very first day to sustain themselves. In 2003, she had to go door to door looking for jobs in dental offices, but she never lost hope. She finally got her first job as a dental assistant in New Jersey, and then, there was no turning back.
Dr. Nihal, a dedicated mother, was supported by her husband every step of the way. He motivated her to continue her three-year specialty program even when their first son was just a newborn. With his support, she could balance her life as a mother and a student and not give up on her dream. In her words, “I grew up in a loving environment in Turkey. My mother and grandmother were my role models as they were strong and hard-working. My husband has been the biggest support and motivation in my life. He pushed me to chase my dreams despite all the troubles. Every support I received, be it from my husband or my sister who came from Turkey to help raise my kids, uplifted my spirits immensely.”
Dr. Nihal’s father played a significant role in her life, career, and education. He was a large-hearted man who loved her, trusted her, and supported her through every thick and thin. He believed in her dream as a young girl to open dental offices and her capabilities to turn them into reality. He died in 2017 after seeing Dr. Nihal’s success and was always proud of her daughter’s achievements. As Voltaire said, “We must cultivate our garden”, Dr. Nihal’s father believed in fulfilling one’s dreams with hard work. The pear tree that he planted in their garden bears fruits every season and symbolizes his never-ending love and support for the family.
Dr. Nihal feels her journey has just begun because even though she has achieved many milestones in her career, her goal is to educate more women and empower them. For her, education has the power to inspire an individual. A firm believer in continuing education, Dr. Nihal wants to see more women and young girls feel empowered and motivated to face difficulties in life.
About the Office:
Chicago Dental Solutions, founded in 2010, focuses on providing its patients with the highest quality dental services at three different locations in Chicago, IL. The team of prosthodontists and dentists at Chicago Dental Solutions are skilled in providing All-on-4 dental implants, porcelain veneers, crowns, bridges, and dentures.