My Philosophy of Dentistry
Relationships matter, whether it is amongst family, friends, colleagues, or patients. From the lens of a healthcare provider and clinician, I envision my practice to exemplify the way I interact with and treat people in general. My practice will be based on mutual respect and trust between dentist, staff and patients and genuine caring for the well-being of others. The people I interact with daily almost become an extension of my family and I value treating them as such. That is why I strive to keep my practice personal and of manageable size. I keep that in mind with every patient interaction, treatment plan or procedure done. Would I do, say or want these things I am recommending for my own family?
Being a part of a tight-knit community appeals to me. Maybe that stems from growing up in a very close family in a relatively small community. Being that I have a growing family myself, and see my children, my husband and myself always being an active part of whatever community we live in, I can see how practicing in a small, active town would be an ideal setting for me. The most valuable source of business and referrals can be found by word of mouth from friends, family, and coworkers in the community, so ensuring a calm, relaxing and caring atmosphere for all patients can be your best form of marketing. If the patients can see that everyone truly loves and enjoys what they do, they too will love what we do and they will tell others.
My background in service is a deep-rooted part of my core values, as I grew up in a family whose lives were devoted to service. My mother and husband are both in education, my father is in law enforcement, and both siblings are also in public service. It felt like a natural transition for me when I joined the US Navy as Dental Officer in 2008. There is no greater form of service than to be able to provide excellent care to all those service members who have given up countless sacrifices for a greater cause. The selflessness these men and women exude is both admirable and infectious.
As a Naval Dental Officer, you are expected to wear two hats. The obvious one is the one you have devoted years of education to as a dentist. And the other as a Naval Officer. Being a Naval Officer entails leadership and commitment, discipline and sacrifice. These are not the qualities that are easily taught but that are nurtured from an early age. I think this is why I have had such a successful career in the Navy. These attributes are things that will only help to strengthen me in my future personal and professional endeavors.
The Art of Dentistry-Combining Quality & Conservation
I have adopted a conservative approach to general dentistry, which can be traced back to my training at UCLA School of Dentistry, which prides itself on thorough, conservative, and quality patient-centered care. Our bodies are incredible things and have the ability to heal themselves in various ways. Careful attention needs to be devoted to the sensitive relationship between “healthy mouth and healthy body”. I also thoroughly believe that “just because we can doesn’t mean that we should”, meaning that not every anomaly or irregularity needs a fix. For dentistry, this means that not every stain, pit or demineralization, “abnormal” occlusion, “ugly” restoration or missing tooth requires intervention or treatment. If these things are of concern to the patient and can be validated through a thorough clinical exam, then it will be a collaborative approach between the patient and me to come up with the best plan of action for that individual person. I value the art of esthetics and always strive for a pleasing esthetic result but not at the cost of function and longevity. Although many providers out there market themselves as being a “metal-free” practice, I myself believe that by limiting ourselves to certain materials, that could mean that we are excluding the potentially best treatment option for a given situation.
One aspect that has always drawn me to general dentistry vice a specialty is the diversity and flexibility that general dentistry offers both the patients and the dentist. I enjoy being a place where patients of any age can come for a majority of their dental needs. The diversity is what keeps things exciting and new. Being equipped to offer a wide range of treatment options, while also being humble enough to know when a referral to a specialist is appropriate, is something that I, as a patient and a dentist, find very valuable. If I do not feel that I am able to perform a procedure that is up to the standard of care that is expected of the respective specialist, then I will not assume that risk for my patients.
In this profession, we abide by basic principles of dentistry but also know that there is usually more than one approach to a given situation. I strive to explore different approaches and as a result know the importance of being a lifetime student. Staying abreast of new techniques, materials and research in dentistry will help me to continue to become a better clinician even until the day I retire. I am committed to personal and professional growth and I thoroughly believe that continued learning through continuing education, hands-on courses, and staying abreast of the current literature are very important for both the provider and the staff so that we can, as a dynamic team, best attend to the patients entrusted to our care.
Building a foundation of trust and compassion amongst my team and my patients is something I hold in high regard and feel is vital to success both personally and professionally. I look forward to building and fostering many more great relationships in my career in dentistry.