Purchasing a new business. The Pearl River flooding. COVID-19 shutdown. Reopening during a global pandemic. I would never have imagined my first year of practice ownership to have this level of uncertainty.
On Friday, December 13, 2019, I was filled with hope, anticipation, and pride as I signed the line to purchase the respected practice, Simmons and Young Pediatric Dentistry. I was blessed to have worked with Heber Simmons, Jr and Joseph Young for over two years when I purchased the practice.
The time I worked with Heber and Joe felt like “residency 2.0.” They taught me about clinical dentistry, but the most impactful thing I learned was how to handle relationships. I watched how they interacted with their patients, patient families, staff, and colleagues. Shortly after beginning to work with Heber, he said, “You know, Emilee, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
This phrase resonated with me. I had recently graduated from the University of Florida, where I received an excellent education and clinical training. My head was filled with unending facts to pull from at a moment’s notice. Knowledge is necessary to be a successful pediatric dentist, but my patients need to know that I care about them. I will do my best to do what is best for them.
Building trust between the doctor and the patient is essential in obtaining a good patient-doctor relationship, leading to a healthy mouth.
New patient appointments are the perfect time to start building a good relationship. I like to go over the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry guidelines so that the parent and I are on the same page. We can also quickly catch “bad habits” to prevent oral health issues from arising down the road. I review the importance of brushing teeth in the morning after breakfast and in the evening before bedtime. I encourage flossing once a day and tips on implementing it into the patient’s daily routine. We discuss fluoride use and our feelings on this sometimes-controversial topic.
I like to hear about the patient’s diet and what the child enjoys eating or drinking during the day to see if the child is at higher risk for getting cavities. Lastly, the parents and I discuss habits: thumb/pacifier sucking, fingernail biting, teeth grinding, etc. If the parent has concerns about the child’s teeth, we talk about them at this appointment as well.
Many of the parents that I meet through these new patient appointments were patients of Drs. Simmons or Young when they were a child. Being a native-Jacksonian, I typically have connections with the patient families, whether by nearby schools, churches, or favorite restaurants.
Over the past year, it has been encouraging to watch the developments in Jackson. The District is in full swing, UMMC introduced a new children’s unit, and our office is located directly behind the Quarter, where The Quarterhouse will soon be introduced.
Our office recently underwent renovations. The new look has been enjoyed by both my staff and me and our patients. It is enjoyable being a part of the revitalization of my beloved hometown.
Dr. Simmons’ most famous phrase is “Leave the woodpile higher than you found it.” I hope to do my part in leaving the woodpile higher than I found it and am thankful for the opportunity to do what I love every day.
Dr. Emilee Milling graduated from Jackson Academy in 2005 and obtained her B.S. from Mississippi College in 2009. She graduated from UMMC School of Dentistry in 2014, where she decided to pursue pediatric dentistry at the University of Florida. Following graduation, she moved to Clinton with her husband and two daughters. Dr. Milling is a board-certified Pediatric Dentist working in Jackson. To schedule an appointment, call (601)982-8585 or email email@example.com.