Dental school: UCSF School of Dentistry
Certifications and professional memberships: ADA/AAPD affiliate member
Current position: Area Dental Director of Massachusetts
Number of years working with Kool Smiles: Seven
Why did you decide to become a dentist?
Dr. Uh: I wanted to combine artistic skills with science. I also wanted to work with people and make a difference.
What made you choose Kool Smiles as your professional home?
Dr. Uh: I chose Kool Smiles after graduating dental school because it gave me a job, great benefits (including moving me from southern California to Houston, Texas) and an opportunity to build experience in dentistry.
I interviewed with another large group practice at the time, but did not feel comfortable after the working interview. Even during the working interview with the other practice, I felt pressured to produce and pushed to compromise care.
At Kool Smiles, I practice with the same principles that I learned when I was in school. I am not pressured to cut corners; instead I am encouraged to provide quality care. I love that I have the support every day to accomplish that. I have been lucky to be able to have built healthy habits as a dental provider. I have also been educated in enough compliance that I don’t know if I can work anywhere it doesn’t meet at least 95% of Kool Smiles’ compliance standards.
KS: Tell us about your career path at Kool Smiles, and what a typical day is like.
Dr. Uh: I started as an associate doctor in Houston, Texas and was promoted to the area dental director position. Personal circumstances moved me from Texas to New York, and I was worried that I would have to look for a new job. Luckily, an opening for a traveling doctor position became available for Connecticut and Massachusetts. I asked for the transfer within the company. Fifteen months after the transfer, I was again given an opportunity to take a leadership role as the Massachusetts Area Dental Director.
A typical day starts with emails and ends with emails and phone calls with my Area Business Leader or one of my doctors. If I am not in the chair, providing patient care, I am looking at various reports, visiting offices, checking in with or shadowing doctors, speaking with the staff, and observing patient care in the office.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the people I work with at Kool Smiles the most. Everyone, from Dr. Mayfield and Dr. Vieth to all the other doctors and people from Benevis (the organization that provides us with non-clinical administration support) are always very warm and supportive. I love working with the doctors in my region. They have become my extended family. I also love that I am making a positive influence on the community that I am working in. Kool Smiles is different from other national dental groups in that we truly treat each patient as an individual and not just a number. I love that I can always make the choice of doing what is best for the patient, and be supported by Kool Smiles in my clinical decision-making. I also love our positive, fun, family-oriented environment.
How do you see your work at Kool Smiles making a difference in the community?
Dr. Uh: Personally, I have seen families where parents are more educated and engaged after seeing us over several years. A lot of parents whose older children have had a lot of dental problems because of poor hygiene and diet are more proactive now about preventing caries in their younger children.
What would you tell dentists who are considering a career with Kool Smiles?
Dr. Uh: Give it a try! I started in Kool Smiles thinking that I was going to work only for one to two years to build experience. Seven years later, I still have fun every day and feel blessed to be compensated well. I have learned so much clinically and operationally from the experts we have at Kool Smiles. There are a lot of different opportunities and Kool Smiles is always growing and expanding in different ways. I don’t know where I will be in five to ten years, but I hope to continue to be a part of Kool Smiles family.