Rachel Duman


AAS in Dental Hygiene
Tennessee State University

Most people either loved going to the dentist as a kid—or absolutely hated it. Where did you fall? How come?

Growing up, going to the dentist was a treat because my pediatric dentist was my great uncle! He practiced in Nashville, at Rivergate. I always felt the importance and quality of the visits, while always feeling comfortable because it was family. Many of the other team members were family as well, including my grandfather (the dental assistant and top-notch lab technician).

What (or who) inspired you to get into dentistry? How so?

It's in my ancestry! On both sides of my family, dentistry has been a very prominent occupation. My great grandfather graduated from Vanderbilt University dental school in 1922...100 years ago. He ran and owned a practice less than 3 miles from where I am currently practicing. I think he would be proud of the career I have chosen for myself.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

I love to put people at ease by listening (and hearing) why patients are so leery of coming to the dentist. I love to help people overcome whatever barrier there is for them to seek prevention and treatment.

What famous person (alive or dead) is your dream dental patient? Why?

Tom Cruise. I just cannot get over his smile! Also, he must know the location of the fountain of youth!

What’s your dream toothpaste flavor?

Crème brûlée.

What’s something your patients might be surprised to learn about you?

Everyone always seems to be so surprised that, as a local in middle Tennessee, I don't have a super Southern accent!

How do you recharge after a long week? What’s your go-to activity for hitting the restart button?

I am passionate about anything outdoors! I love to go camping, hiking, or kayaking.

What dental stereotype are you most passionate about changing?

“I’m not grinding my teeth!”

What is the absolute coolest thing about the human mouth?

Enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body that's designed to be even harder than our bones.

In another life, if you weren’t working in dentistry, what would you be doing?

I'm an advocate for mental health, and I would love to be a therapist with a more holistic approach.

When I’m in the patient chair, I’m probably grooving to {blank} in my headphones.

Guilty pleasure.. 80s and 90s mixes! Other times, ambient music.

What’s something that really, really, really makes you smile? Like, really?

Watching my two daughters grow and thrive. They make me want to be a better person!