I’m so excited to be writing our very first Hamilton County Pediatric Dentistry blog post! I’m hoping this blog becomes an amazing resource for parents. I plan to cover multiple dental health topics ranging from first dental visits to fillings and everything in-between. But before I get started on pediatric dentistry education, I think it’s more important to explain why I do what I do.
Dentistry wasn’t always my passion. In fact, you could say I fell into dentistry by accident. I was a senior in college trying to figure out the rest of my life when I was assigned a business project for one of my classes. I was required to observe office dynamics within a local business, so I asked a pediatric dental office if I could shadow their team for a few days. I quickly realized that dentistry (more specifically, pediatric dentistry) was something special. I spent less time shadowing the team and more time shadowing the doctor. I realized pediatric dentistry was a balancing act between medical skill and creativity, education and entertainment, encouragement and humility, patient care and business ownership. It forced quick thinking, redirection, concentration, artistry, laughter, and hard work all rolled into one. I remember thinking, this is it. This is for me. I didn’t fall in love with teeth (silly question, but I’m asked that a lot). I fell in love with the relationship between a pediatric dentist and the patient. I fell in love with the opportunity to connect with families over several years of treatment. I fell in love with the flexibility business ownership offers a wife/mom.
Flash forward to my residency at Indiana University / Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana. I had a personal medical appointment scheduled with a doctor on one of my very few “off days” from school. Unfortunately, my doctor was called out of the office, so the team apologized for the inconvenience and asked if I would be willing to see the nurse practitioner. I agreed, and this single decision shaped my life as a practitioner. I wish I was more poetic to adequately describe the compassion of this particular NP. She was so very genuine, kind, thoughtful, warm, welcoming, and understanding. She listened first, asked questions later. She got to know me. She asked about my family. She asked about school. She smiled. She thanked me for my time. I remember going home that night and telling my husband that I would spend the rest of my career trying to deliver the same care. When I opened my business, I made a commitment to myself and to my team that patients will ALWAYS remain the top priority. Not production. Not money. I want my patients to feel like a part of the family.
Now flash forward to business ownership. When I purchased the practice, I didn’t realize how invested I would become in my team. I knew that I wanted to be a good boss, but I had NO CLUE what that truly meant. I assumed that maintaining a place of employment and issuing paychecks was enough. Wrong. It took about a year of practicing and some humble pie to realize that my team deserved as much, if not more, of my time and attention. My team is made up of people, individuals that have beautiful, complicated, interesting lives outside of the office. They have personal goals, professional goals, and spiritual goals. They have emotions and fears. They have ideas, good ones! Want to make the best of your business? Invest in your team. I think anyone can be a boss, but only a few can be leaders. Once I came to this realization, I made a commitment to myself and to my team that I will always strive to be a leader and not a boss.
So now I move into this unique position of dentist-owner-leader-wife-mom-friend role. I have a patient family, I have a work family, and I have my own family… And I’ve committed excellence to all three. During my first few years of practice, I struggled to find the balance. I couldn’t figure out how to give 100% to each of my three “families” and I was drowning trying. I found my balance when I shifted my focus. Dentistry is my job, but Hamilton County Pediatric Dentistry is my platform. My calling is service and HCPD helps to make things happen. This office gives me a chance to serve patients and their families through compassionate medical care, emotional support, and genuine concern (the initial motivators that led me to this field of work). This office gives me a chance to serve my team through job growth, continuing education, financial security, and friendship. This office gives me a chance to serve my community through involvement, education, and outreach. This office gives me a chance to serve my family through example (my kids are always watching), financial support, and flexibility. This office is so much more than an address to practice dentistry, it’s a place to change lives. Really. I mean that. When you set your focus on something bigger, something extraordinary, everything becomes simple. Serve others and you will never drown, for they will lift you when your legs are tired. HCPD is my platform, and I’m honored to serve. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Lots of Love and Gratitude,
Dr. Laura Juntgen
Laura Juntgen is a pediatric dentist in Carmel, Indiana and owner of Hamilton County Pediatric Dentistry. She is a native Hoosier, born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She completed her dental school training at Case Wester Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Juntgen then returned to Indiana for her pediatric residency and board certification. She is an active member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, Indiana Dental Association, and Indiana Society of Pediatric Dentistry. In her free time, she is an active member of her church and CrossFit community. She enjoys working out, community service, and spending time with her family.
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