“Simple,” says Dr. Park when asked what she wants patients to know about her. “I love dentistry.” And when she says love, she means it. She’s just a few continuing education courses away from becoming a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry (FAGD). It’s a designation only about 6% of general dentists achieve, and one she pursued not only to hone her clinical chops, but for fun.
Dr. Park didn’t always have a regular dentist growing up. In college, a friend with a toothache waited to get treated until they could fly home to their dentist. Dr. Park was intrigued. “I never had that bond with a dentist,” she says. Now, she works to create it with every patient she sees.
One key? Never judging. “I tell my patients, ‘I didn’t know how to brush my teeth the right way until I went to dental school. Literally. So there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.’” Equally important is understanding her patients’ fears. “Dental anxiety is real,” she says. Connecting with patients, listening, and taking it slow make a huge difference. And nothing is more satisfying than seeing anxieties ease. “It’s a very, very rewarding job.”