Hi there, please tell us a little bit about yourself! Who are you? What do you like to do for fun?
Hello! By way of introduction, we are Daryn (Dr. Lu) and Edith (Dr. Q), 2 compassionate Oklahomans who love dentistry and how it allows us to connect and care for people. We enjoy traveling, exploring new cities, and feeding our food babies. We love being outdoors (shoutout to xyzal and claritin), cycling long distances, and perusing book stores, plant nurseries, and coffee shops. We love geeking out to movies, tabletop board games, and making new friends wherever we go!
Can you tell us what you do as Restorative Dentists for those who are unfamiliar?
With Dr. Lu as a former dental assistant and Dr. Q as a former dental hygienist, we've worked in a variety of different practice settings over the years. As general dentists, we've explored community dentistry on a dental van, non-profit clinics, private practice, DSO/corporate dentistry, and faculty at a dental school. We are embarking on a new adventure as small business owners and launching our dental concept in Edmond, OK called "LoFi Dental".
We love changing people's minds about dentistry! Dentistry can be intimidating, overwhelming, and sometimes downright scary. We work extra hard to craft the coziest dental experience possible.
How did you decide to pursue your specific career? What pivotal moments pushed you to where you are now?
Life tends to open doors for you when you least expect it. For Dr. Q, she always remembers her father's words that "your education is your inheritance" and that no one could ever take away what she learned over the years. With plenty of support from her family, friends, mentors, and even her hygiene patients, she decided to continue her education and return to dental school even going beyond and completing a 1-year residency in advanced surgical training.
Dr. Lu always gets a hard time about this but when he was in college, he was dating a girl (not Dr. Q hah) that said she wanted to marry a dentist. After shadowing, he felt that people in dentistry were passionate and dedicated to helping others which helped him fall in love with the profession.
Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off?
For predental students -- each state is different when it comes to regulations, but it can be very easy finding dental offices to shadow and possibly get hands-on experience. You'll want to focus on having a competitive GPA and DAT score before you apply, but don't let numbers/stats be the only thing that defines you. Seek opportunities to make yourself the most well-rounded applicant possible by finding volunteer opportunities that you love and connecting with mentors to help you understand if the dental profession is the right fit for you! While a career in dentistry can allow you to financially provide for you and your family, it can also be overwhelming as we deal with a lot of complicated and technical procedures for patients that may or may not have appreciation and value for your skillset. Dental school debt nowadays averages $300k so I always encourage dental school applicants to make sure you're doing it for more than just financial gain.
For dental graduates, the various practice pathways can feel extremely overwhelming.. so find a community that you can trust as you move through the various stages of your career. When you find your first associateship job, you may enjoy the lifestyle working for someone else or you can find yourself yearning for more as an entrepreneur. There are many opportunities to acquire practices, partner with other dentists, buy into large group practices, or start a dental office from scratch. There are so many DIY resources and forums for dental entrepreneurs so our best advice is to know get to know yourself and play to your strengths. If you are technical, you'll need support creatively as you market and connect with your community. If you are the creative-type, you'll need help organizing systems.
Over the years, we've found it's all about choosing your struggle -- there's no big picture perfect path.. it's all about what's the perfect path for you, your lifestyle, and goals. Being an associate was a struggle for us, and not being able to assume "responsibility". It led to a sense that whatever we did could help (or hurt) but it didn't truly matter at the end of the day. The small things added up and eventually, we made the decision to create something on our own. As (future) practice owners, we feel ALL the responsibility. As much as it wears us out, we LOVE that we can accept 100% ownership and if there's an issue -- we can directly impact it on our own timeline and priority.
We have a deep love for the profession so feel free to say hello to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Through our volunteer leadership involvement, we happen to know amazing dentists all over the country, and we're always happy to help connect!
There are many dental podcasts out there, but they tend to speak more about the nitty-gritty details about the technical clinical skillsets or the numbers-focused business of dentistry. A podcast we always recommend is "Radical Candor" and "Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast". If you are into the science of clinical dentistry, "Dental Digest" by Dr. Melissa Seibert is fantastic. If you are into the entrepreneurial side of practice ownership, "The Making of a Dental Startup" by Dr. Ashley Joves is excellent.
What are 3 character traits that would make someone excel in your field?
Empathy, humility, detail-oriented
Most satisfying & difficult thing about your job?
The most satisfying thing about dentistry is when we help people fall in love with their smile. People routinely come to us anxious and overwhelmed. We focus on taking whatever time necessary to ensure our patients feel heard and understood before we offer any recommendations. Dentistry is very personal and literally in-your-face, and we don't take that lightly. Out of all health professions, we have the best opportunity to create trustworthy and mutual understanding relationships with our patients. We love changing lives for the better.
What would you like to say to your younger self?
As hard as it is, don't compare your backstage to other's performances. It's impossible to know what it's like to live in someone else's shoes. It's a scary and challenging world out there so don't forget to be kind to others (and especially yourself) along the way. And don't forget to floss.
Best advice you've received/heard?
Be a part of something bigger than you, but better because of you.