Birmingham Mom Collective has the best partnerships, and I love getting to know them better through interviews. I had the pleasure of speaking with one of our partners, Dr. Quyen Vu Ying of Liberty Park Children’s Dentistry, recently. Besides being a small business owner, she’s also a wife and a mother with a fascinating story of her own.
Dr. Ying is a first-generation immigrant from Viet Nam. She moved with her family at age nine to Charlotte, North Carolina. She left home at age 16 to attend the School of Science and Math in Durham, North Carolina, before heading to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for her undergraduate studies.
From Pre-Med to Dental School
Originally on the pre-med track, one day she attended a talk by a dentist that forever changed the course of her life. There Dr. Ying realized dentistry could offer her a family-friendly schedule, plus her prerequisites for medical school would transfer perfectly to dental school. She then shadowed dental offices and fell in love with her new career choice (which would, in turn, lead her to the love of her life)!
Love is in the Air
After graduating with highest honors from UNC at Chapel Hill, she received her Doctorate of Dental Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. While there, she met her future husband, although their relationship didn’t blossom until after dental school. (Funny side-note: when they first met, her future husband planned to do pediatric dentistry, and she planned to do oral surgery. But they ended up flip-flopping! Now she’s the pediatric dentist, and he’s the oral surgeon!)
Of all the students in their dental class from Penn, only two matched in Boston for residency. Can you guess who those two were?! And the rest, as they say, is history! They got married and had their first son while in Boston.
Moving Back to the South
After Boston, Dr. Ying and her young family moved to Portland, Oregon, where their second son was born. While in Portland, she worked only with special needs children, especially those with sensory processing disorder, those on the autism spectrum, and children with cerebral palsy.
Before long, Dr. Anthony Morlandt from UAB Hospital began recruiting and advocating for Dr. Ying’s husband to move to Birmingham. For most people, a move from Boston to Portland to Birmingham would be quite the culture shock. But Dr. Ying jumped at the chance to move back to the South and raise her family here. She says Birmingham reminds her of a young Charlotte (quite the compliment)!
The Importance of Community
Dr. Ying credits the easy transition to Birmingham to two women.
With such a short time to find a home in Birmingham, Dr. Ying turned to realtor Kim Maddox. The two became fast friends. Kim is a businesswoman and a mom herself. She understood all of Dr. Ying’s needs (including working around nap times and answering all her school questions since Kim’s kids attended the same school). Incidentally, Kim’s husband is also a dentist–such a small world!
Sarah Morlandt (wife of Dr. Morlandt mentioned above and a Birmingham Mom Collective contributing writer) and her entire family were also instrumental in welcoming the Yings to Birmingham. Sarah continues to be a great resource for Dr. Ying as a mom of four.
Heart for Children
Even before becoming a mother, Dr. Ying has always had a heart for helping children–especially those who need a little more reassurance and care. She has participated in many dental outreach trips including treating special needs children in rural villages in Da Nang, Viet Nam as well treating children with cleft lip and palate in Oaxaca, Mexico.
She uses her compassion and draws from these experiences to make all her pediatric patients feel at ease. Her patients have the option of dimmer lights, bean bag chairs, and other options to make the trip to the dentist easier for kids (and their parents).
In fact, her entire team is skilled in making your child’s trip to the dentist a success!
Dr. Ying also offers what she calls “happy visits” where parents can bring their kids to come tour the office before even making an appointment to ease any anxiety of going to the dentist.
She also meets with expectant mothers looking for a pediatric dentist just as moms do when finding a pediatrician before their baby arrives. She offers advice on how to treat an infant’s gums even before teeth erupt. Good oral health begins early!