As a patient, have you ever wondered who your dentist is outside of a florescent lit sterile room? We want to take the opportunity to give you a deeper insight to who is performing your dental treatment, starting with our Salmon Creek office’s only dentist, Kristine Pham. Dr. Kris graduated from Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine in 2001 and joined our team shortly after. She immigrated to the United States from Vietnam at age seven. The first English words she learned in school were, “please, thank you, and bathroom”. She has very fond memories of her first Valentine’s Day in school and the treasury of valentines she received. She comically recalls being asked “how are you?” and thinking she was replying appropriately, stating, “fine; how old are you?” Fast forward a few years later, and she is a treasured member of the Wendel Family Dental Centre team. We know you will enjoy getting to know her better.
1. When you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?
This question caused her to sit back and think. Dr. Kris knew she wanted to do something in the healthcare field and dentistry ended up being the right fit. She is not a fan of public speaking to this day, and this field provides an opportunity for one-on-one interaction, which she prefers.
2. How long have you been a dentist and what inspired you to become one?
In high school she was assigned a project where she had to choose a career, and at the time, she had family graduating and struggling to find jobs. Her Aunt was a hygienist and told her “Kris, if you graduate as a hygienist, you will get a job”. She followed in her Aunt’s footsteps and became a dental hygienist. One day, she was inspired by watching a dentist perform treatment and thought, “I could do that”, and the rest is history. Another 7 years of school, including some extremely long days, and she has been providing treatment as a dentist for the past 13 years.
3. What do you enjoy most about your job?
“The people, the staff, they make my days easy. I love every single one. It takes a whole crew to run this place, it’s not just me. If it wasn’t for the front desk and my assistant, I wouldn’t be a good dentist.” Dr. Kris went on to tell me that she really does love dentistry and performs treatment on others, how she would want it performed on herself. The job brings new tasks every day, and she explained “I can’t see myself doing anything else”.
4. What is something you wish all patients understood about dentistry?
It was very apparent that she wished to bring perspective to patients about their dental health. She told me a story of a patient who was involved in a traumatic accident and came to her devastated over the state of his teeth. She explained to the family that he was alive and his teeth can be dealt with, and that many others in the same situation have not made it. This helped the family calm down about the trauma to his teeth and put it all into perspective. “It’s just a tooth and it’s replaceable”. It can be devastating to lose a tooth, but a dentist can help a patient solve this problem.
5. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
“I want to learn how to fly an airplane”. Dr. Kris is fascinated with flying and when I asked her if she could tell me something about herself that would surprise others, all activities included her desire to one day fly in the air; skydiving, bungee jumping, paragliding, parasailing…this girl has an adventurous spirit. For now her family is her priority and she’s keeping her feet on the ground. Maybe one day she will shock us and we’ll see this little woman gliding through the air.
6. What’s your definition of fun look like?
No doubt Dr. Kris is a family girl. Her definition of fun is her daughter, “She’s my world”, she told me. She loves watching her daughter who is currently learning how to roller skate.
7. If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?
The tears were coming and all she could say was, “Mom”.
8. What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?
Dr. Kris loves to bike and hike, but her favorite activity is traveling. A few highlights of her worldly travels include Santorini, Greece and the Sistine Chapel in Rome. She has been to the chapel twice and would love to see it again, minus the crowds. She hopes to travel to Australia and New Zealand in the coming years.
9. What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?
This question makes me laugh and made her think. She was a pretty well behaved girl growing up. She did tell me that the one day she skipped school in high school, she got caught by the Principal. I think he knew she was a good girl too, because he let her off the hook and told her that he would just pretend she was moving her car from one parking lot to another, instead of off campus.
I’m sure you enjoyed getting to know Dr. Kris. You can find her practicing dentistry 5 days a week at our Salmon Creek office.
Stay tuned for another dentist interview in the near future!
Wendel Family Dental Centre