Dr. Michelle Kelman, Pediatric Dental Center just won a Totally Awesome Award for Beaming Pediatric Dental Office in Los Angeles. We recently spoke to her about her experience as a business owner, the best advice she’s ever received and more. Hear what she has to say below!
Red Tricycle: Your community recently voted you “Beaming Pediatric Dental Office” – what do your customers value most about your business?
Dr. Michelle Kelman: <y team and I absolutely love working with kids and everything about pediatric dentistry; we really respect and admire our patients. We see infants, toddlers, and kids all the way up to teens bound for college and try to connect to them on every level so they feel comfortable with us. We understand that bringing your child to the dentist can be pretty nerve wrecking, and so we make every effort to assure that the appointment is fun and easy on the kids and educational for the parent.
RT: What do you want people to know about your business that they don’t already know?
DMK: I’ve always viewed pediatric dentistry as a sub-specialty of pediatric medicine. Having healthy teeth is not just about your child having a “pretty smile” but about keeping the body healthy! In addition to caring for the oral health of the healthy child, my practice treats children with a variety of medical, developmental, and emotional concerns. All of my registered dental hygienists and assistants are trained in pediatric oral medicine and oral development. I am on staff at Cedars Sinai Hospital, where I also treat in-house patients and perform procedures as needed in the hospital operating rooms. I believe in a team approach and am always in communication with my patients’ pediatricians and other specialists.
RT: How did your business get started and what was the motivation?
DMK: I knew from my very first day of dental school that I wanted to become a pediatric dentist and be an essential member of the child’s pediatric health care team. However, after my residency training, it was hard for me to find the “perfect fit.” I wanted to work in a practice where I could treat both the well and medically compromised child, where every patient felt like family, and where my patients would think “Wow, going to the dentist rocks!” Now, with my own practice and my excellent team, I have records and guitars on the walls, dancing in the hallways, and non-stop singing and smiles!
RT: Tell us, what do you start your morning with: 1. coffee 2. tea 3. mimosa 4. water 5. all of the above.
DMK: My team and I always start the day with a strong coffee, and because of all of the singing we do here we drink a lot of warm water with lemon. However, I must admit that after the occasional screams and bites, a mimosa would be nice!
RT: What is the most awesome thing a customer has ever done for you?
DMK: There was a parent whose child was unfortunately very medically compromised and unable to sit well for treatment. We managed to get it done and the parent sent the whole team a massage certificate with a lovely letter stating how grateful she was for our “amazing patience and incredible flexibility.”
RT: What is your biggest pet peeve as a business owner?
DMK: My biggest pet peeve is when ordered items don’t arrive on time.
RT: How do you keep your stress levels down?
DMK: Good music throughout the day really helps! Also, I feel so lucky that we are not just a working team but are all girlfriends– we have group lunches, hikes, and always celebrate one another!
RT: What’s your secret superhero power as a business owner?
DMK: I think my superhero power is my ability to “Keep Calm and Carry On” through screaming, biting, and all the other “fun things” that happen in pediatric dentistry. As the owner, keeping calm under pressure (from patients and parents) is essential. The patients come first; everything else is handled calmly.
RT: Tell us, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received (as a parent or business owner)?
DMK: My older sister once said to me “Look, just handle it.” I’ve applied this to both parenting (I have a two and four year old) and my practice. I really try my very best to avoid panic and drama, look for solutions, and get things done.
RT: How about the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?
DMK: “”It will all work out on its own.” I don’t believe that. I believe that when there is a problem or a challenge, you must look for a solution.
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Photo credit: Holly Shuter