on November 03, 2022

Have you ever felt misunderstood?

I want to share that I have felt misunderstood many times in my life. I have felt misunderstood with my intentions, felt underestimated with my abilities, and felt misunderstood in my values. I can relate and have felt discouragement and feeling powerless when the few misunderstand you. If I had allowed these misunderstandings to effect my life significantly, I can tell you I probably would have never applied to dental school, completed a residency program, received board-certification, or established my own practice. I know that misunderstandings are unintentional and I'm guilty of misunderstanding others too. I think we've all done it. For the most part, I try to keep my perception of others open without judgement and avoid proving myself or my point.

In my career, I have seen the field of pediatric dentistry misunderstood as well. It is not always the patients and parents that misunderstand the field. Sometimes, other leadership roles in the community, like schools, pediatricians, and other healthcare providers, misunderstand. As pediatric dentists, our intention is to be proactive and avoid small issues potentially becoming larger ones unnecessarily with our children. The intention is to create a positive dental journey starting early in life. Although, there are written guidelines and best practices already out there, I have high hopes that our community, especially the leaders, can listen, understand, and collaborate with our message and guidelines to advocate for oral health while communicating the true importance of it. 

I can't make others listen and understand, but I can speak up and inspire the community the best I can. At the end of the day, it is what we believe about ourselves and our intentions that really matters and gives us the power to break through the limiting beliefs of the world.

So let's start clearing the air: 

  • When should I bring my child to a pediatric dentist? 
    • By the time the first tooth erupts and no later than the first birthday
    • Sometimes the misconception is to bring them at toddler age or older. By this time, 28% of children have cavities already.
  • Why the rush to bring my child in? 
    • Prevention. We want to be proactive in avoiding issues instead reacting to them with treatment if possible.
    • Part of starting a positive dental journey is to make it fun and inspiring from the start
  • Are baby teeth really important to treat cavities if they are going to fall out anyways?
    • Absolutely. Baby teeth help with proper chewing, speech development, and permanent teeth holders. Back baby teeth fall out around 11-13 years old. 
  • Dentistry for kids is not much different to general dentistry.
    • Most parents assume that all dentists are the same. Pediatric dentistry is a complex specialty and an additional 2-3 years of residency is necessary to gain the experience to handle kids properly.
  • Pediatric dentist are marketing kids to come in early for the money
    • Although we are a business and need money to sustain it, it is not the driving force to our higher purpose. We care and believe in our mission to serve our children. 

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."- Maya Angelou