As part of our ongoing effort to recognize the incredible work that those in the dental industry do for their patients and their communities, we’re pleased to announce the Smile Star award. Each quarter, we’ll highlight dentists, hygienists and office staff who have been nominated by their peers in recognition of their exceptional work.
It’s our pleasure to announce our first Smile Star, Dr. Suvidha Sachdeva. Dr. Sachdeva is a practicing dentist in Roswell, GA at Sunshine Smiles Dentistry, serving patients of all ages.
She completed her bachelor’s in dental surgery in India, went to dental school in Chicago and completed her doctorate in dental surgery from the University of Illinois Chicago. We asked her to share some of her backstory and her thoughts on the dental industry.
Even though I love the way that performing something like a root canal can help a patient get out of pain, being a general dentist is exciting. You can see many different kinds of patients and help to treat many different problems. One day I’m helping a patient with pain, the next I’m doing something cosmetic that will give a patient confidence in their smile. I’ve had elderly patients who don’t have teeth, and I’ve been able to change their lives by making dentures or partial dentures for them. It’s very exciting for me to come to work every day and be able to do different things.
I come from a family of doctors and physicians, and I when I was little, I thought that was what I wanted to be. Then one day, my mom had pain in one of her teeth that was so bad she couldn’t sleep. Medication didn’t help, so first thing in the morning, she went to the dentist and took me with her. She left that appointment smiling with no pain at all, and I thought, “Wow. That’s the profession I want to be in, one that can make people smile and bring them comfort right away.”
A typical day at the office starts with a team meeting to make sure that everyone in the office, from the dentists to the hygienists to the office staff, is on the same page with the patients scheduled for that day. We want to make sure we provide comprehensive care to our patients and address everything that’s going on with their oral health in one visit. I normally schedule longer procedures like root canals and crowns for earlier in the day or right after lunch, but we make sure to schedule anybody who’s experiencing pain or a dental emergency as soon as possible. One thing I really love is talking about dental hygiene with patients who have come in for regular cleanings. That’s a great way to build a relationship with them.
Funnily enough, I didn’t even know I was being assessed for that! When I was in dental school, there would be tests where we’d receive a full set of x-rays and treatment history, and we were challenged to come up with different treatment plans for hypothetical patients. I always really enjoyed these tests, even though my classmates would rather have focused on performing the actual treatments. I liked the challenge of planning comprehensive care for a patient while also finding treatment options that delivered immediate results and the confidence of a healthy smile. So I did my best on these tests and found out to my surprise that I’d been chosen for the award!
I think it’s very important in dentistry to stay on top of technology and to adopt tech that makes us more efficient and helps us take care of our patients. For example, digital x-rays, CBCT scans and internal cameras make it easy for us to show patients what’s going on in their mouth and help educate them. I’m always trying to learn more and taking continuing education courses to stay on top of changes.
The mouth is the gateway to the body. Dentistry isn’t just about oral hygiene, but also the detection and prevention of issues like cancer, diabetes and HPV. For all of my patients, after checking their x-rays and their teeth, I inspect the tongue, mucosa and other oral tissue. If anything pops out as being not right, I’ll refer the patient to a specialist. It’s easy and important for dentists to educate their patients and let them know when they might have an issue that needs to get checked or tested.
I think dentistry is a great field to be in. People will always need dental care, and as the United States gets older, screening for cancer or periodontal disease, which can lead to heart issues, will become more important.
One trend that concerns me is DIY dental trends and untested dental products promoted on social media like Instagram and TikTok. I’ve had patients come who have seen advertising online and ordered products that have led to issues like pain, sensitivity or joint problems. We emphasize to our patients that even if they don’t come to us, they should get their care and advice from a credentialed dentist, not from online.
Never stop learning, even after you graduate from school. It’s so important to grow and to learn, both for yourself and for your patients.
Always support and give back to the community. Being dentists, our strength is that we can take care of people, their smile, their confidence and help to get them out of pain. Just last month, my practice did a free dental day, taking care of problems for people who couldn’t normally afford care. Every year, we try to do free dental days and educate children in school about oral hygiene.
I enjoy all kinds of music. I love to sing and dance as well. My husband and I spend a lot of time outdoors, going on hikes, visiting beaches, traveling to the mountains. I try to stay active. It brings me happiness and helps me release stress. When I can combine my love of dance and staying active with something like a Zumba class, even better!
Thank you, Dr. Sachdeva, for all that you do for your patients and your community and congratulations on being chosen as our first Smile Star!
Do you know someone who should be a Smile Star? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the reason your nominee should win this award and their contact information.