The Alimond Show

Dr. Mona Dentist/Owner of Purcellville Pediatric Dentistry - The Tooth Fairy Dentist

February 06, 2024 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Dr. Mona Dentist/Owner of Purcellville Pediatric Dentistry - The Tooth Fairy Dentist
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ready to peek behind the operatory doors and discover the life of a pediatric dentist? Promising an enriching journey filled with trials, triumphs, and valuable lessons, we invite you to join us for an inspiring conversation with Dr. Mona, a seasoned pediatric dentist. Having navigated the murky waters of entrepreneurship in the healthcare industry, she shares her firsthand experiences chasing her passion, from working as an associate to starting her own practice. Hear her speak candidly about the challenges she faced in the process, and the critical role played by intuition in assembling a supportive team.

How does one successfully market in the dental industry and grow their patient base? Dr. Mona offers invaluable insights, underscoring the power of community involvement and word-of-mouth. Hear her recount her experiences with school visits and community fairs, as she leveraged these platforms to promote her services. And as we traverse the intriguing path of pediatric dentistry, we also touch on some essential dental education takeaways. Dr. Mona shares the three things she wishes every parent knew about their child's dental hygiene. As we wrap up, she brings the focus on essential lifestyle habits, stressing on the importance of cutting down sugar intake and maintaining proper dental hygiene. Hear her enlightening message, as she underscores the role parents play in shaping these habits. Don't miss the chance to glean insights from Dr. Mona's wealth of knowledge on pediatric dentistry.

Speaker 1:

So thank you so much for coming out. Tell me a little bit about Dr Mona. What type of doctor are you?

Speaker 2:

So I'm a pediatric dentist and I've been in practice in Percival for about 10 years now. Before that I was in Sterling and I was doing pediatric dentistry for many years as well.

Speaker 1:

So what took you from Sterling?

Speaker 2:

to Percival. So in Sterling I was an associate and it was in my office and I was in a really comfortable place. I love that office. We were a very friendly group and so I stayed for a long time. My daughter was young, then I went in until she gets a little older and then finally, like everybody else, I decided to start the business. I was scared from opening a business initially, so I would say I started a little later, but I'm happy that I did it.

Speaker 2:

Oh nice, so it brought me to Percival. Basically, at the time Percival was a really good area because there was no pediatric dentist west of Leesburg, so it was an area that needed a pediatric dentist. A lot of kids had to come all the way to East to get dental care.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and then what got you into dentistry overall?

Speaker 2:

So dentistry that is something that luckily, I know from the very beginning that I want to be in the health related fields either medicine or dentistry and I think dentistry was a better choice because it was a shortened training and it was in general. I think having a family and being a dentist is easier than being a doctor because you don't have any calls, and I like it because it has. It's really art and science. Like you do a lot of hand work, so that part I liked too.

Speaker 1:

Now you said you always knew you were going to be in the medical field or in dentistry. How did you always know, and how you I?

Speaker 2:

mean I guess that some comes with enjoying the field, enjoying being a practitioner and also enjoying science. I really enjoyed the science classes. Anything related like biology, physiology, those kind of pathology, those kind of subjects really interest me.

Speaker 1:

Now, how did you get started? When you started, your own practice Was that hard Initially, it was really hard, or?

Speaker 2:

some of the biggest struggles Because you know the way. In dental school there is no teaching about opening your own business. It doesn't matter what kind of business it is, you just whether you have an erasal on or you know dentistry is business, is business and you don't have any training on it. So a lot of things you have to start from scratch and you have to learn to try an error. So I would say initially it was hard because I also didn't buy anybody's practice. A lot of dentists or other you know doctor may go become an associate for a couple of years and then you know they basically buy into practice. So the infrastructure is there. For us it was zero. So you know, building it up the business side of it was initially challenging Now, but I learned to try an error.

Speaker 1:

I was gonna say. So what would you say is the most difficult? The building of the team, recruiting new patients, keeping patients.

Speaker 2:

I would say building of a team, and that's, I think, necessarily across the dentists, at least you know, a lot of people say the same thing Building the team and learning to get you know. Hire the best team and teach them, I think that was the most challenging.

Speaker 1:

What are some things that you're doing now to keep?

Speaker 2:

good talent, of course, experience experience kind of you know you learned from your trial and error so I can tell I'm very, very proud of our team. We have a very supportive team. We went from, you know, having one front desk and one assistant and then eventually one assistant and one full time. We went to having, like you know, seven or eight employees. Okay, so the team that we have right now there are very supportive of each other, they cover each other and one of the things that I think, of course, going through the interview and bringing for working interview and giving them time to kind of see if they're the right person definitely makes a big difference. I guess this is one thing. I don't know how, but over the years you just know who is a better fit.

Speaker 1:

Now you say you're going to give them time to see if they're the right person. What do you mean by that?

Speaker 2:

So I can tell you, nowadays, even in the interview process and even bringing them through working interview, we kind of know how do you know, how do I know I mean, this is like I don't know how to say it I don't get intuition, okay, intuition, yeah, definitely intuition, definitely intuitively, you know who's the right fit for you. You know, I just generally look for employees who you know they support each other. I don't, like you know environment that they just gossip. I want them to be respectful and to basically support each other and they're our friends. My employees are friends. A lot of them are really having a good relationship and I want them to be basically comfortable. I want that, to you know, our office to be their second home. So I think in our office we respect each other, we have a friendly relationship and you know, some places they're really tough on their employees. I think we basically kind of give them leave, give them space, yeah, and that's work well for you. Yes, I would say so.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome.

Speaker 2:

And I also want them to care about, of course, the. You know patients to be friendly, so we have some very, very friendly assistant and friendly front desk and you know generally, you know good people. Yeah, no, I love them, so I am very proud of them.

Speaker 1:

In terms of marketing and growing your patient base. What's been some key takeaways that you've learned over the years?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so you know, over the years we've tried many, especially in the beginning. When you start and you have like one or two patients a day, then you go sometimes to 40 patients a day. So of course the business has grown. But we always, you know I paid attention to the marketing side, especially in the beginning, and I hired, you know, some people to work on that. But at the same time, basically, board of mouth is like if you do a good job, if you care for your patient, then you know they're going to bring their family members, they're going to bring, they're going to tell their members. So that is always the best for marketing. But in the beginning we basically went to the community. Whenever there was, you know, fairs and stuff, we were present. We went to school and some of those plans we still do, some of those programs we still do, like, for example, in February, which is a dental month, we still go to schools.

Speaker 2:

We are, you know, our brand is Tooth Fairy. So we're the Tooth Fairy Dentist. That's a concept because we start seeing patients, you know, kids from age one, so those are the ages like up to five, six. The Tooth Fairy concept is really important for them. So this is our brand. We're the Tooth Fairy Dentist in the Western Northern area. So you know we have actually a Tooth Fairy, so we go, you know pretty closely, but literally every day we just see this to us and we Our tooth fairy was a very pretty girl. She goes to the basically elementary schools. We've gone through daycares, preschools and early age, like kindergarten, first grade, in the tooth fairy clothes and then we kind of teach the community about dental hygiene, about dental experience in general it happens at your first visit and also diet. So these are the things that we go out to the community to focus on Education, basically hygiene and diet and a dental office experience, because there's a lot of scare always about going to the dentist.

Speaker 1:

So when you're hiring, do you look at them and say would they make a good tooth fairy? No, kidding.

Speaker 2:

No, no, no. I have been the tooth fairy myself in the beginning, but now I have other people who are doing the tooth fairy. No, that's not part of the criteria.

Speaker 1:

Okay, good, you don't have to look like a tooth fairy to work. In terms of some of the things that you wish, more parents knew the top three things you wish parents knew before.

Speaker 2:

So one of the main things that parents need to know is they need to bring their kids to the dentist at age one. So a lot of times, even the pediatrician and the general dentist because I'm a pediatric dentist, so I be specials and kids seeing young kids at age one all the way to like usually 18, 20. So a lot of parents don't know that they need to come to the dentist early, they start late and a lot of parents do breastfeeding and bottle feeding longer than it's healthy for the teeth or they don't know how to. For example, they put their babies to bed when there is a lot of teeth not brushing the teeth and so a lot of these babies, starting at age as early as one and a half, they start getting cavities and that's called baby bottle tooth decay or nursing decay.

Speaker 2:

So those are the things that we can prevent by educating them. So we always tell them if you would like to do breastfeeding is perfectly fine, you just want when their teeth are present. You basically need to brush the teeth at night and don't do any feeding in the middle of the night. So that is something that we can teach them, educate them about how to do it. So it's not about the breastfeeding, it's about the timing of breastfeeding. So just imagine like a one and a half year old or a two years old come in with five to ten cavities sometimes. So this is very preventable and a lot of the community general dentists, pediatrician they tell the parents to take your kids at three, but really the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry wants them to come at age one.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So first thing is bring your kids in at age one.

Speaker 2:

That is really important. That's what I, we teach the community, we talk about in our school visits. We tell parents of older kids to bring your other kids at age one. It is the recommendation of American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so got it. That's the first tip. Do you have one or two other tips that you wish more parents knew?

Speaker 2:

So that is the first thing, because when you start early we can focus on prevention. I want to say 50 to 60% of the kids these days don't even have cavities. They don't even know what a cavity is. You know, my generation probably had few parents generation had more and their grandparents have dentures, you know. So they had no teeth by the time they were 40 and 50. So I think this is really important to educate them. The other things is starting brushing early. So a lot of times parents may think these are baby teeth, they're going to fall, but in fact the baby molars fall at about age 12, 11 to 12. So they have to start brushing them early. As soon as the teeth come in, they have to be start start the brushing.

Speaker 2:

I always say treat your kids teeth like your teeth. You don't drink milk at that time. They shouldn't be drinking milk at bedtime. They should be drinking milk before bedtime. You brush your teeth before you go bed. The same thing with your one year old, one and a half year old and two year old. So brushing is important at nighttime before going to bed and in the morning before breakfast. So that's number two that I would recommend, and usually about two and a half three. I would recommend flossing too, so that's another thing that we often time don't do for our kids.

Speaker 1:

Now, do you have any tricks on flossing your two to three year old?

Speaker 2:

I did it for my daughter. We have flossers that are really easy to use. They can just, you know, tie the floss around it and I would say it doesn't take more than 20 seconds. You basically, you know, have them stand in front of the mirror, do the bottom ones, especially between the molar, tilt the head. Tilt the head. Do the top ones. That's as easy as that. It really takes 20. But it goes a long way of not getting certain type of cavities.

Speaker 1:

And do you recommend your kids doing that by themselves or you're doing that?

Speaker 2:

No, I would. The idea, usually the recommendation is until they learn to write cursive, which they don't do anymore anyway, but that's usually it used to be about nine, Okay, so I would always recommend to let the tell the kids to let your parents brush for you. Okay, so I would recommend that they do it. Kids can just experiment with it, but the parents have to brush. Okay, the parents really have to brush, Otherwise the brushing is not going to brush and floss and usually you know, you'll know when you don't do it anymore they're going to kick you out of there. Yeah, so I think I would say nine, 10. So that's something that they have to do, at least the nighttime, Okay.

Speaker 2:

And of course, another you know recommendation I have would be the diet. You know, I would tell parents to stay away from sticky candy anything that you know stick to the grooves of the teeth, and also lollipops, fruit rollops, and if they want to have treats, it will be better for them to have things like chocolate cake, ice cream that melts and doesn't stick to the teeth. So this is the diet. So chocolate's okay.

Speaker 1:

Cake's okay.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and by okay I don't mean that they should have chocolate every hour, but if they want to I mean, kids are kids they have to have their fair share of sweets yeah. So if they have something, they want to have something treat I recommend to parents we constantly talk about, because my belief is educating the parents, my belief is prevention. I want parents to be able to prevent having cavities, not to get cavities and treat it, and these are by easy steps. So I always tell them not to buy Costco size supply of candies and juice. Juice, I think, has a lot, a lot of sugar. So we show them how much sugar is actually in a bottle of you know juice box, which is a ton and a lot of you know other candies. We have like samples that we show them. There's, like I want to say, in a bottle of juicer could be as many as like 10 or 15 packs of little packs of sugar. Oh man, yeah. So we show them.

Speaker 2:

We, actually we in pediatric dentistry. There's a cause concept called tell, show, do tell them, show them. If you want to work with children, they have to. You have to tell them. You can't just start them. Have to tell them, show them and then do it. So we kind of have these samples of you know the amount of sugar, different things and posters and stuff. So we let the parent know and we just basically talk about it to cut down on the sticky candy juice and you know, milk, certain type of milk like chocolate milk, vanilla milk. And I always tell them if you want to give them treats, just buy in a small amount. Don't have like a huge supply, because if you have them the kids are going to have, they're going to eat it all. So that's my thing, they don't get cost.

Speaker 1:

Simphona In terms of where you see your business in the next five, 10 years.

Speaker 2:

You know, our business has grown a lot because we have been the only pediatric dentist in, you know, Western Loudoun. I would think it's going to continue to grow, but we have a solid yes. Yes, I would want to stay small. I think a lot of people you know when they get their mid-career, they may expand. Actually, my goal is to stay small and focus on our quality of work rather than, you know, growing big and going to a bigger space. Basically, yeah, that's always a challenge.

Speaker 2:

It is a lot of challenge, a lot of stress, and I think, I think I'm very happy where we are.

Speaker 1:

Okay, good, western Loudoun is great yeah.

Speaker 2:

And I think, as I said, I have a good team. We have a team that are, you know, being loyal, and I think that loyalty comes because they feel respected and they I mean I've asked them, but that's my feeling that a lot of our staff has stayed with us for a long time.

Speaker 1:

It makes a big difference with your clients. Yes, our patients as well.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and we have some part-time, part-timers, so we work with people schedule. Some people want to come two days a week, some people want to come three days a week. Some people want to come, you know, have a full time and basically the teams support each other. For example, if somebody you know has a sick or can't come to work, for whatever isn't the person who's part-time, it's going to support them, and vice versa. Yeah, that's wonderful. So that's something that I think we haven't had the need to call for. You know those agencies that you know you can hire tents.

Speaker 2:

We don't need to do that, because the staff themselves support each other.

Speaker 1:

They work with each other. Now if, to wrap things up, if you were to give one message to the world right now, it could be completely unrelated to pediatric dentistry, but just or it could be related to it what would your one message be?

Speaker 2:

I mean I would stick to pediatric dentistry and I would just stick to educating them about dental hygiene. And diet Eat healthy, Eat healthy. There we go. And you know, eat less sugar, and that's something that I have to do myself too. All of us do. All of us have to kind of cut down on sugar because a lot of diseases in the future could be, you know, consumption of too much sugar.

Speaker 1:

Dr Mona, thank you so much for beinga guest on the podcast. I so appreciate your time and expertise.

Speaker 2:

Thank, you very much for having me here, of course.

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