Thoughts from a Mom with Dental Trauma: Why I Chose Shades Creek Dental


I’m one of those people . . . one who cringes at the thought of going to the dentist, who puts off appointments way too long, and who finally goes in for a cleaning with my stomach in knots. One of my first dental appointments as a child was really traumatic – and it stuck with me. Tack on years with a not-so-great pediatric dentist after that, teeth with deep grooves that are prone to cavities no matter what I do (thank you terrible family genes!), and that one time as an adult when a dentist drilled a tooth without Novocain, and you can imagine why the word “dentist” sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

              Me with my fellow BMB bloggers at our event.

So when our contributors were invited to an open house and dinner event at Shades Creek Dental, I actually considered not going. I love any chance to see my BMB blogger friends, but hanging out at a dentist’s office just wasn’t my idea of a good time. “Now Ericka . . . you do need to find a new dentist in Birmingham,” I told myself. “Maybe this will be an easy way to check them out, without the stress of an appointment!” I’d been driving an hour back to the dentist in my hometown for years, but that got a lot harder once I became a mom. I knew I was overdue for a cleaning, and I needed a local dentist! And so, I begrudgingly went.

     Shades Creek Dental’s beautiful waiting room       

Compassionate and Kind Staff

The very first thing I noticed about Shades Creek Dental was their beautiful office. The second thing I noticed was the kindness of their staff! Everyone was so warm and compassionate (during the event, during my first cleaning, and in every other interaction I’ve had with them!)

I never felt belittled for my anxiety, or dismissed. They were gentle, accommodating, friendly, and so kind!

            L-R: Kathy, Shanna, Dr. MacBeth, & Rhonda

Thorough Communication

This was three-fold for me. First, I love how upfront this office is with costs and treatment plans. I knew the cost of everything I would have done ahead of time, what my options were for discounts with their Dental Savings Plan, and I got a detailed treatment plan after my first cleaning. I was able to review everything I needed done and decide what I would do, and when.

During my cleaning, my dental hygienist also communicated really well with me. She explained everything they were doing and why (so that I understood what to expect). Again, this was great for someone who struggles with dental trauma/anxiety! She made sure to give me breaks and was so sensitive and understanding when I was struggling.

  One of the beautiful pieces of artwork at SCD 

Communication doesn’t just happen at the office, though! When I left my first appointment, I was given a card with Dr. MacBeth’s cell phone number on it “in case of an emergency”. Having never had a dental emergency, I doubted I would need it, but I put it in my phone just in case. I’m not the type to contact a doctor or dentist after hours. Several weeks later, though, I found myself all the way in Colorado, on a weekend, with terrible gum pain that was causing swelling all the way into my neck. (I’d gotten a popcorn kernel stuck in my gums, and cut my gums trying to get it out. Ouch! As a result, they were seriously inflamed.) Dr. MacBeth texted me back immediately, on a Saturday! He conferred with his periodontist for the best plan of action, and advised me to swish with a mixture of peroxide & water. After taking ibuprofen and trying other at-home treatments for several days, my swelling went down within hours of using the peroxide! Thanks to his advice, I was able to enjoy my trip! I was so thankful that he was only a text away when I needed him!

Cutting Edge Technology

I was also extremely impressed by the technology in this office. Their inter-oral camera is incredible – and the “live view” on the screen let me see what they were seeing in my mouth (which, again, helped me feel less anxious) and got great scans of my teeth. I was also amazed that they have a 3D printer for crowns – which means their patients are able to be fitted with a permanent crown in one day! Both of my parents have had temporary crowns chip, break, or fall off while waiting for their permanent crowns to arrive (because most dentists have to send them off and have them made, and install crowns over two different visits). They had talked about how painful and annoying the temporary crowns were, and how they had to wear them for weeks! I knew that if I needed a crown, I wanted to use a dentist who could fit me with my permanent crown right away!

           The 3D printer is viewable from the waiting room.

It turns out, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Just like my mom and dad before me, I am due for a crown! (And not the sparkly kind either . . . sigh.) As sad as this news is, I am thankful to know it can be completed in just a couple of hours all in ONE DAY, thanks to Dr. MacBeth’s 3D printer!

And so . . . my story continues. Stay tuned for Part 2 of my review of Shades Creek Dental, once I’ve been “crowned!” 😉 In the meantime – if you’re looking for a new dentist, I highly recommend that you consider Shades Creek!

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Just days after graduating from Auburn University, Ericka took a trip to Africa that changed her life forever. She discovered two unexpected things there: a passion for orphan care, and her husband Rusty! Together they founded The Sound of Hope, and have spent the past 10+ years working to provide holistic care to vulnerable children around the world. Though her heart (and time) is divided between other countries – she’s proud to call Birmingham, Alabama home! When Ericka & Rusty decided to grow their family through adoption, they never guessed it would take five heart-wrenching years to get their daughter home from Thailand. These days Ericka tries to soak up every moment of long-awaited motherhood to their beautiful little girl, Kate. Their Thai darling is growing up way too fast, and Ericka is mildly obsessed with over-documenting it all on Instagram and her blog! In addition to managing The Sound of Hope, Ericka and her husband run a video & photography business called RJackson Media. In her “free time" (do moms have free time?!) Ericka enjoys gardening, decorating, and DIY projects. She also loves singing, dancing, and acting – and was cast in her very first musical theatre role last year. She firmly believes that you’re never too old to try something new!