Interview with Dr. Frannie: a Dentist Driven by Compassion
Let’s welcome Dr. Frannie to our team and learn what makes her a kind and fun-loving kids’ dentist.
A pediatric dentist is an important person. They have the tools and education to make children comfortable and at ease during their very first dental trips. As you and your kids see your pediatric dentist year after year, they become a family friend.
The first few years of dentistry are crucial, as they are the formative years in your child’s oral health. It’s wonderful to have their first few years be in the hands of kind and skilled pediatric dentists.
Let’s get to know Dr. Frannie through her meet-the-dentist interview. We’re excited to have her join the team.
Dr. Frannie, at first glance, looking into someone’s mouth might seem like an odd profession. What first inspired you to become a dentist?
I went on a mission trip to Honduras with a group of dentists while in college. I always knew I wanted to work in the medical field, but until that trip, I didn’t know dentistry was for me. I was immediately drawn to the profession because you were able to identify a problem and alleviate a patient’s pain or discomfort rather quickly compared to other forms of medicine.
I loved the intersection of science and artistry while in school. Dentistry, although very technical, allows me to be creative when solving problems related to a child’s growth and development.
What do you love most about being a dentist?
I love being able to watch my patients grow up. Getting to know families and their stories makes each day so fun and different. Also…having Disney movies playing all day is pretty amazing!
What is your favorite part of being a dentist for kids?
My favorite part of being a pediatric dentist is helping a child feel accomplished and proud of themselves after a procedure. Lots of things we do in our office can seem scary at first glance, but working with a child to overcome those fears and anxieties is so rewarding!
Dr. Frannie, what has been your favorite advancement in the field since first starting?
Having studied nutrition science in my undergraduate degree, I am thrilled that a child’s diet and how it affects their oral health has become more prominent in research. Different foods, vitamins, and minerals can all benefit our oral health differently. I love educating parents and patients alike on choosing foods for growing strong, healthy teeth and bodies.
What is one of the most interesting things you have learned recently?
I am a big reader and LOVE historical fiction. I recently finished a book about a women-run resistance group during World War II that rescued Jewish children and led them to safety. It was a crazy story and I couldn’t believe how brave those women were!
What problematic dental trends and gimmicks do you see in mainstream society today and why are they harmful or dangerous?
Having a “perfect smile” is a trend that many patients want as soon as possible. I’ve seen many patients who have used untrained orthodontic services and at-home clear aligner companies before they are truly ready for orthodontics.
Working with a pediatric dentist and orthodontist to determine the right time and type of treatment for your child is important to ensure a healthy occlusion. Our occlusion, the way our teeth come together, can affect how we eat, talk, and even breathe!
Dr. Frannie, you must see teeth, gums, and mouths in all sorts of conditions. What do you really think when a patient presents with untreated tooth decay, gum disease, cosmetic imperfections, or other types of damage?
My first emotion when seeing a child with oral disease is empathy! Having infections from cavities is painful and can affect their daily life while trying to listen at school, eat their lunch, or play with their friends. Once the child’s oral health is restored in our office, small changes in lifestyle, oral hygiene, and diet are usually all that is needed to keep up a healthy mouth. Helping a family create those habits is my favorite part of the process!
What is the most memorable case you’ve ever treated?
My favorite case I’ve treated was with a little girl who was congenitally missing all teeth in the upper right maxilla beginning from her central incisor and ending with 2nd primary molar. Her Mother told me that she would never show her teeth when smiling. Together, with several specialists, we were able to create a custom appliance for her to wear that replaced all the teeth she was missing. She now has a complete smile!
Patients often feel sheepish when talking with their dentist about making cosmetic changes. How do you feel when a patient asks you about cosmetic dentistry? What tips do you have for helping them start the conversation?
Small cosmetic changes to a child’s smile can make a huge difference in their confidence! We have many options ranging from changing the color of teeth (with ICON or traditional whitening), the shape of teeth (composite bonding), or the orientation of teeth (correcting anterior crowding or crossbites).
I love when patients bring up these individual wants and needs to me during appointments. It is a time where we can get creative with solutions that are tailored to your child specifically. This area of dentistry is always changing and even small adjustments can make a world of a difference!
Dr. Frannie, how do you handle patients who have dental anxiety or a phobia of the dentist? Do you have advice for what parents can do to help put their children at ease before and during their visit?
A huge component of the extra training pediatric dentists undergo revolves around the emotional needs of a child during a dental appointment. The instruments and processes we use can look and sound scary!
Before appointments, parents can focus on positive reinforcement with their child. Reminding them how proud they are of their child for being a good listener and for being brave! Good things to always avoid talking about with younger patients would be using words like “shot,” “needle,” and “drill.”
Once at the office, we offer a range of helpful tools, like watching their favorite movie or show, using nitrous oxide, or even trying non-invasive interventions until the patient feels safe enough to complete treatment in the office.
Many parents will put off dental visits for their kids just to avoid receiving a lecture on their dental parenting. What would you say to a parent who feels guilty and hopeless that they have “ruined” their kid’s teeth by avoiding treatment for so long?
Parenting is tough! My goal when helping families establish a dental home with us is to be a guide for their future healthy habits, and not place any blame! Although a parent may feel these emotions before even visiting us, I hope when they leave our office they feel empowered by the plan we make for their family.
What are one or two things you wish all of your parents and kids knew about dentistry and oral health?
It’s not just “sweet treats” that cause cavities! All forms of carbohydrates can cause tooth decay—especially crackers, chips, cereals, and juice!
Dr. Frannie, What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions about dentists, pediatric dentists, or the industry in general?
The biggest obstacle I face every day is patients thinking everything will “hurt” when they see us! Making a child comfortable and feel safe is the main goal during any cleaning or procedure.
Dr. Frannie, what is your guiding philosophy in caring for and treating your pediatric patients?
My guiding philosophy when caring for pediatric patients is to prevent cavities! I try to empower families by providing them with the tools they need to better care for their child’s teeth. Preventing cavities, fillings, and crowns is my gold standard.
What is one piece of dental-related advice you often give to parents and their children?
Focus on brushing your child’s gums as well as teeth! Plaque loves to hide in the space between our teeth and gums and this can be a common cause of cavities.
The tooth fairy is granting you one wish to make any magical-powered dental tool you can dream of. What would it be?
A magic wand that makes cavities go away!
Dr. Frannie is looking forward to meeting you and your kids.
Dr. Frannie is passionate about dentistry and excited to work with your kids. Come into the office to meet her and the rest of the team. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Frannie, fill out this online form or give us a call during business hours.