What (or who) inspired you to get into dentistry? How so?
I was on my way to medical school until my braces came off in college. My life changed so drastically and suddenly—for the better!—that I switched paths and applied to dental school instead.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
The thrill of a gorgeous, completed esthetic case is obviously very rewarding, but I think the daily gratification of making patients feel heard and seen is what truly gets me through. Doctors love taking care of you.
__What’s something your patients might be surprised to learn about you? (For example: “I was a cheerleader for four years in high school!” or “I have 17 cats!” or “My hidden talent is: _____”)
I absolutely love literature; I read about a book a week! During the pandemic, I published a debut chapbook, titled BINT. I currently write a column with Catapult, titled "Demibone," that's all about teeth. I am also a 2021 Margins Fellow with the Asian American Writer's Workshop in New York, and I'm currently working on a full-length poetry manuscript and a novel.
What dental stereotype are you most passionate about changing?
Many consider dentistry as separate from medicine (and our insurance policies seem to perpetuate this myth), but they were once a single practice. Our most important job is to communicate to patients that healthy teeth are vital for overall health. In fact, many health issues show red flags in the mouth first. The body is intricately and richly connected in more ways than we realize.
__What is the absolute coolest thing about the human mouth? __
Enamel is the unsung hero of the mouth. It is a gorgeous, strong, nearly opalescent structure that helps you bite through nearly anything. On the Mohs Hardness Scale, enamel scores "harder" than steel, gold, or silver. It is even harder than the skull bones that protect your brain. Enamel is so rare and precious that once you're done "making" it, you don't make more; it cannot heal the way bones do. Enamel is the ultimate symbol of natural beauty, strength, and innate value.
What’s something that really, really, really makes you smile? Like, really?
Another person's smile!