Former Music Teacher Becomes Pediatric Dentist

Getting to know Dr. Herce

Why is the social work component important in dentistry?

Every family that walks into our clinic has a story.  As doctors, we take pride in being good historians when it comes to dental problems and underlying medical conditions.  However, we often fail to fully appreciate how these conditions occur within a broader familial, cultural, or even societal context.

Working in concert with Eastman’s Sr. Social Worker Lenora Colaruotolo during residency has allowed me to develop a more nuanced understanding of the many challenges certain families face when trying to access care and has also increased my awareness of resources that are available to those in need of assistance.  Ultimately, it has led me to a place of greater compassion for the people we serve and a more genuine appreciation for those who overcome obstacles to visit out clinic. 

Why do you want to be a pediatric dentist?

As a pediatric dentist, you have the unique opportunity to maximize your impact as a community health advocate in your ability to engage an entire family and capitalize on

photo of Dr. David Herce

Dr. David Herce

teachable moments early in patients’ lives.  I was also a music teacher before this and have worked with young people my entire adult life, so it’s as though I’ve never left home.

How did you become interested in dentistry?

Dentistry was the perfect blend of longitudinal patient relationships and hands-on-healing.  Not having to leave teaching behind has been wonderful; the only difference is I talk to people about their oral health instead of notes and scales.  Also, as a classically trained orchestral percussionist it’s great to use my hands every day.  The instruments are a little different, though.  

Describe your experience with Eastman Dental.

           Challenging.  Rewarding.  Exhausting.  Worth every second.  We have a wonderfully balanced pediatric dental residency program at Eastman.  There is a strong didactic component that provides you with the requisite background knowledge to make evidence-based decisions and a day-to-day clinical life that, simply put, will build your chops.  Generous faculty.  Dedicated staff.  Talented co-residents.  I’ve grown as much personally as I have professionally in these last two years. 

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