Up Close & Personal With Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry’s Newest Dentist, Dr. Claire Walker!

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Meet Dr. Claire Walker!

It’s no secret that we are BIG fans of Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry! From losing baby teeth to handling cavities and everything in between, this long-standing BMC partner has shared a plethora of helpful info to guide us as we navigate our kids’ dental health. Be sure to check out some of our former posts to read up on all the topics we’ve covered. Today, we are thrilled to introduce the newest OMPD team member, Pediatric Dentist Dr. Claire Walker!

A native Alabamian, Dr. Claire grew up just down the road in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Her studies first led her to Auburn University, where she graduated with a degree in Biomedical Sciences in 2016. Having decided in college that she wanted to pursue dentistry, she then completed dental school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and graduated there with the class of 2020. In her final year of dental school, she was honored with the Humanitarian Award, as well as the award for the Distinguished Student in Pediatric Dentistry within her class. These honors, coupled with her interest in working with children and children with special needs, fortified her desire to pursue further education in pediatric dentistry. That’s when she headed to a two-year residency program at the Dental College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia, to specialize in pediatric dentistry. At the end of her time there, DCG awarded Dr. Claire with the Dr. Connie L. Drisko Dental Resident Professionalism Award, an award that recognizes a resident who demonstrates professionalism, technical skill, and compassion. Talk about impressive!

Dr. Claire not only has extensive education and training in the field, but she also has a great passion for working with children. We were excited to chat with her about what inspired her to become a pediatric dentist, her approach to working with children, and why she chose to join the great group at OMPD!

  • What led you to pursue pediatric dentistry as a career?

Given that my mother is a pediatrician, she had a strong influence in my initial interest in medicine and pediatrics. I started my studies at Auburn University interested in medicine then quickly changed to dentistry after working at a pediatric dental office during summer breaks. Seeing the potential for creating patient relationships and assisting treatment is what inevitably drove me to choose this as a profession. Now, as I treat children, I feel beyond fortunate to work with such positive and inspiring young patients.

  • What are the main differences between pediatric and general dentistry?

Some general dentists are certainly equipped to see children, however, many will refer treatment to pediatric dentists. Pediatric dentists are specialists trained with behavior management, pediatric procedures, traumatic injuries, sedation options, hospital dentistry, and are more involved with the growth and development of the child. 

  • How do dentists stay abreast of the latest developments and changes in the field?

Technology is constantly advancing, so it’s important to continue to learn the latest techniques. I prioritize safe and effective treatment and aim to remain up to date with modern dentistry to offer the best outcomes for my patients. I encourage parental involvement and hope educating families will lead to a brighter, healthier future. 

  • Why is it important for parents to seek dental care for their kids?

It’s important for parents to seek dental care for their children at a young age since habits that are established early determine a child’s future oral health. Dental visits also inspire children to get involved in proper oral hygiene as they grow more independent.   

  • If children are afraid when they come for a visit, what are some approaches you might take to help calm their nerves?

When a child is afraid, I have learned to listen to their concerns or fears about the visit. At that point, I try my best to reassure them by explaining what to expect and showing them some of the instruments. This typically takes away the fear of the unknown and gives the child an understanding of the end goal. Telling stories or singing songs can be a great distraction! This can keep them from focusing on the procedure or anticipating certain sensations. I also like to get children involved by having them raise their hand when they need a break or being a “helper” by sitting still. Every child has different needs, and we do our best to appropriately tailor our approach with each stage of development.  

  • What led you to join the OMPD practice?

I felt led to join the OMPD team because of the patient-centered care. High quality care is a priority, and both parents’ and patients’ needs are heard and addressed. The team at OMPD goes above and beyond to individualize care and to ensure every patient feels known when walking in and out of the doors.   

  • What’s a fun fact you can share with us?!

I knocked my front tooth out in cheerleading when I was younger! Going through that trauma is a large reason that I chose to become a dentist and take care of kids that have been through similar experiences. 

It’s great to meet you, Dr. Claire! If you have any questions or would like to schedule a visit for your child, contact the Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentist office today. We know you’ll be in good hands!

We love working with Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry! This is sponsored content.

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