- One of the first to complete the UofL School of Dentistry’s prosthodontics residency program.
- Starting a new business this summer in Lexington, ,iDENTity Dental Studio.
- Serves part-time on the UofL School of Dentistry faculty at the Miller Clinic in Elizabethtown.
Why did you become a dentist?
As a child, I had very unique teeth problems. Mostly jaw problems that later required jaw surgery to correct skeletal issues that were affecting my bite. Because of the dentists, orthodontists and surgeons who put me back together, I knew I wanted to help people similarly. Early on, I knew, this was what I wanted to do.
Thanks to a program at the University of Louisville designed to help students from underserved communities pursue healthcare careers, I was able to complete the Professional Education Preparation Program (PEPP) the summer between graduating high school and begin my educational journey at Alice Lloyd College. That summer I re-affirmed my goals and future career in dentistry. These were such lofty ideals seeing that other than my aunt, who is a middle school teacher, no other immediate family members had ever graduated from college, much less a professional program in the medical field.
Why did you choose this particular specialty?
When I entered dental school I didn’t anticipate doing a specialty program, during the first portion of my clinical training I was introduced to the specialty of prosthodontics and fell in love. It was so rewarding to be able to give a smile back to a patient, something that was taken away from them. The positive impact that could be made so quickly fascinated me with the profession.
What is the biggest misconception about your field?
That we only do dentures, this is far from reality of prosthodontics. I spend most of my days working on advanced rehabilitations focused on teeth and dental implants, dentures and implant dentures only encompass a fraction of the work that I do as a prosthodontist.
What is the one thing you wish patients knew and/or understood about dentists?
I think it’s fairly obvious that I am passionate about my profession, I just want my patients to understand that I’ve committed my entire career to make a positive influence in their lives and society. Patients are often quick to think we are all just to make a buck, which, in reality, we do have to pay our student loan debts back (which are astronomical). I truly care that my patients receive the best quality of care available.
What is your opinion of managed care and how will this affect you and your practice?
Managed care doesn’t seem to affect prosthodontists drastically. Unfortunately for patients a lot of what I do is considered elective or drastically excessed the yearly allowed amount. My patients are typically seeking these advanced rehabilitations after years of failed dentistry under managed care systems. I feel the managed care system doesn’t allow for proper comprehensive maintenance, but rather patch jobs.
What’s the best advice you ever received? Who gave it to you?
Follow your heart, regardless of where it takes you in life and love. You’ll end up exactly where you’re supposed to be. This advice was given by a former dental school professor who recently passed away, Dr. Barry Ceridan.
If you weren’t a dentist, what would you be?
I’ve wanted to be a dentist since I was a child – I couldn’t imagine my life without dentistry or with another career.
Who are your heroes in healthcare?
All dental school professors who have sacrificed so much to educate our future bright minds in dentistry.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My parents, they overcame so many odds to bring me into this world as teenage parents who never completed high school. They always made sure I was taken care of and that I appreciated education and the opportunities that were out there for me. My dad paid for my college education and I’m forever indebted to him and my mom for all of their love and support.
What’s the last good book you read?
“The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch.
Favorite daytime beverage?