Meet the newest doctor to join our group of pediatric dentists in Utah, Dr. Blake McDonald. He will be accepting patients in our offices in Bountiful and Taylorsville starting August 2.
Not only did we want to give him a warm welcome, but we’d also like to introduce him to the patients and families of our Redwood and South Davis pediatric dentist offices. Keep reading to learn more about our newest kids’ dentist to partner with our team.
Background on Dr. McDonald
Effort. Teamwork. Family. Dr. McDonald highly regards these three principles, and he looks forward to working with kids and families at our office to demonstrate his commitment. Kids love to call him Dr. McDonald. If you would like to learn more about Dr. McDonald, you can read his full bio here. Or, get to know him better by reading his answers from our Q&A session.
Q. When did you become interested in dentistry and why?
A. “My dad is a dentist, so it’s always been part of my life and an area I was familiar with. However, I did not see myself becoming a dentist as a young kid. In fact, when I first started college, I was still undecided on the route I wanted to go. After I took a very challenging Anatomy course, I realized I wanted to help people and work with the human body. So I was debating between medical and dental, but based on my goals in life, dentistry was the choice that won out. I decided to go into pediatric dentistry because I love the family aspect of the practice. Other fields, such as oral surgery, are one-and-done sessions. With pediatric dentistry, I can build long-term relationships with my patients, their parents, and even siblings. It’s also rewarding to see a family where one child has a great experience and then serves as a role model for their sibling(s).”
Q. As a father of three and a man who comes from a huge family with more than 30 nieces and nephews, you definitely spend a lot of time with children. How does this experience help you with pediatric dental patients?
A. “I talk to kids. All-day. Every day. I play with them. Hang out with them. Teach them. Chastise them, when needed. Being around kids is just so natural to me, I don’t have to try too hard or be fake with my patients. It just flows. I am blessed with the gift of being able to work with them and communicate with them well because it’s been my day-to-day routine for many years to be in the company of children.”
Q. What do kids fear more about the dentist, and how do you help ease their worries?
A. “The number one fear is the unknown. There are a lot of different smells, sights, and sounds in the office, and they relate shots and needles to vaccines and pain. I combat that and resolve their concerns by being upfront and communicating really well with them. I let them know there will not be any surprises. I show them the material, let them get comfortable with it. Through teaching and making it fun, their anxiety is lessened, and they usually enjoy the experience.”
Q. Do you have experience with special needs children, including autism and/or other disorders?
A. “I have several family members that have special needs. I have also been a youth group leader at my church for more than six years, which has given me a lot of experience with kids with a variety of special needs. Also, during my two-year residency work in pediatric dentistry, I was at a highly specialized clinic in San Diego where I worked with all types of special needs kids on a daily basis. It was common to work with four or more kids daily with special needs, including those with very rare diagnoses.”
Q. You speak Spanish, which is a great asset for the local community. How did you learn, and where have you practiced Spanish?
A. “I studied Spanish throughout high school and my college years. I also went on a two-year church mission in Chile after my freshman year of college. I wanted to improve my dental vocabulary during dental school, and since we didn’t have a class, I started one so I could teach others and learn it better myself. Then, during my residency in San Diego, I was able to perfect my dental spanish as about a third of all our patients spoke Spanish, and for most of them, that was their only language.”
Q. What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A. “I love turning kids around from hating dentists to liking dentists. There was one little boy in particular in San Diego that came into his first appointment in tears due to previous negative dental experiences. He was convinced he did not like the dentist, but after his first appointment he left saying that I am the best dentist he ever had! Winning over the parents is also key to helping the child relax. I love when the family is astonished at how well their child did, and they insist on bringing their other children to me as well. This is especially rewarding when the parent had a negative experience in the past.”
Q. What’s the best advice you give kids about maintaining optimal oral hygiene?
A. “Everybody knows that you need to brush your teeth. However, a lot of people do not realize that you wouldn’t really need to brush so often if you eat the right things. I emphasize diet and food choices. Eat your three meals per day, pick one snack in between, and be done. Whatever you do, do not snack all day.”
Q. What’s the best advice you give parents about their children’s dental health?
A. “Many kids establish their thoughts and feelings about the dentist based on their parents’ opinion. I advise parents to keep talking about dentists positively and give us a fighting chance. If they have had any negative experiences or horror stories, they should not tell their kids about it so that we can start out with a clean slate and fresh mindset.”