Why did I become a pediatric dentist? That question I can answer in my sleep because it’s just that personal for me.
I didn’t pick pediatric dentistry, it picked me.
This all came into light at dental school, while treating a seven-year-old patient by the name of Brittany. Treating Brittany was the most rewarding experience I had. She had a huge impact on me and taught me that a dentist has the ability to play an important role in shaping a child’s life. From that point on, it was pediatric dentistry for me all the way.
Before attending dental school at Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry. I was a Business major at Southern University in my hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I had aspirations of either becoming a lawyer (like my father) or an owner of my own business. But after a conversation with a good friend, plans changed.
I began to research about dentistry and soon thereafter I took a job at a local dental office, doing anything I could from sweeping the floors to fixing office computers. I did this despite my family’s strong desire for me to work in one of the family owned businesses.
While working part-time at this dental practice, I did a lot of observing. I found that dentistry was not just about fixing teeth but about engaging and interacting with people and forming relationships. It encompassed everything I envisioned for myself. I wanted to learn a unique skill set, own a business, and build relationships. That was enough to inspire me to change my major and pursue dentistry as my profession. And so I did.
Shortly after graduation, I was on my way to a pediatric dental residency program in Washington D.C. The night before I found myself on my knees, praying. I opened my eyes and realized a harsh reality, due to unforeseen hardships, now was not my time to pursue residency. With a great deal of disappointment, I decided to turn our truck in the opposite direction and instead we headed to Dallas. I remained committed to one day becoming a pediatric dentist despite these circumstances.
Dallas was where my wife’s family lived and seemed like an appropriate place for me to find work. I worked for a few years in the city and then went to the University Of Louisville in Kentucky to complete my pediatric dental residency.
An opportunity arose after residency to purchase my practice in the city of Corsicana, Texas. Within a year of operation, our practice grew immensely. There never was an initial vision of creating a multi-office group, but thru awesome support from the communities we serve, we found great success. Today we have three additional locations in Frisco, Greenville, and Irving called Texas Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics.
The name and concept really came about over pizza one night with my wife and two daughters. We started throwing names and ideas out there and between the four of us, Texas Tiny Teeth was born.
Between our four locations my commute can be very cumbersome, but at the end of the day, it’s always worth it. Having my amazing team makes it all worth it. Yes, there are sacrifices at times, but these sacrifices are justified when you are able to see the ties you have made with the community and the lifelong bonds you have made with your patients and their families. Life is good.
We’ve seen wonderful progress with the features and the overall functionality of YAPI. I say this to anyone who asks, I don’t do an office without YAPI, period.
Having YAPI for me is like having a handpiece, or any other of the necessities of running a dental office. It allows me and our office to be better at what we do, which is serving our pediatric patients and their parents.
We just can’t do anything as effectively without having YAPI. Dr. James Slaughter III
Ian works as the Content Manager for YAPI. He also oversees the blog and Behind The Smiles story and podcast series. In his free time he enjoys photography and videography. If you are interested in contributing to our blog or being featured in Behind The Smiles, reach out to Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org