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A Family Affair

For pediatric dentist Dr. Julianne Kane, her patients are as close as kin — and the establishment of a “dental home” is the first order of business.

BY KRISTIE CERUTI

IT’S NO SURPRISE that perseverance is one of the core tenets that animate Dr. Julianne Kane, a pediatric dentist in Somerville, New Jersey. In August 2011, just two weeks after she had purchased her practice, it was flooded by Hurricane Irene. “We were closed for eight weeks,” Dr. Kane says, “and it took years to recover.”

Determined to make a virtue of necessity, Dr. Kane used the disaster as a chance to build a new practice from the ground up, a project that came to fruition in September 2015, when the team at The Children’s Dental Center saw their first young patients in the new facility. “I was so proud to open the doors to a fresh new space,” says Dr. Kane, 38. “There’s something invigorating about making your vision a reality.”

Both for success in pediatric dentistry and a high quality of life, Dr. Kane lives by the following trio of maxims. Well, quartet of maxims, actually: “Always use a rubber dam,” she adds with a laugh.

Dr. Julianne Kane’s Three Top Tips for a Pediatric Practice — and a Fulfilling Life

PERSEVERE. ALWAYS. “Growing up, I was lucky to be surrounded by amazing people. My parents pushed me to dream big and see no boundaries. They motivated me to make my dreams a reality and have the work ethic to back it up. Giving up was not an option. This strong theme affects me every single day.

“This is also why I connected well with my pediatric residency director, the late Dr. Silvia Perez-Spiess. She was an amazing educator, and a living example of the type of dentist I needed to become. She set a high standard, and I just wish she were here today to see her legacy in action.”

CREATE A “DENTAL HOME” FOCUSED ON PREVENTION. “The idea of the dental home has changed dentistry for the better. Establishing one for a patient is critical for the future of dentistry, as it allows dentistry to shift focus from a surgical to a medical model.

“Pediatric dentistry should be focused on supporting prevention in children to give them the best chance of remaining caries-free for a lifetime. This guidance needs to start early, which is why creating a dental home by age 1 is critical to prevention.”

TREAT YOUR PATIENTS LIKE FAMILY. “As a child, I always had excellent dental experiences. Making pediatric patients comfortable and relaxed during procedures is beyond fulfilling. I get it, now that I’m a parent, how anxiety-producing it can be to have dental treatment. The leap of faith children will take with you once you take the time to explain your intention always impresses me.

“Nothing is better than a patient giving a high-five after a procedure. Actually, even better is that I love hearing parents talk about how excited their children are about going to the dentist.”