Growing Up to Be A Pediatric Dentist

Growing Up to Be A Pediatric Dentist

Dr. Sharine Thenard grew up going to a welcoming, comforting place for her dental care. That place was called Alameda Pediatric Dentistry (APD), and Dr. David Perry was her pediatric dentist. Sharine was so inspired by her experience that she went on to pursue a doctorate degree in dentistry from UCSF. Says Sharine, “I always knew I wanted to work with children. Whether during babysitting or teaching Sunday school classes, I learned I really enjoyed working with kids. Pediatric dentistry is a difficult route and takes longer than regular dentistry, but it was my first choice.” Dr. Perry knew of Sharine’s interest in becoming a pediatric dentist. He encouraged and assured her there would be a spot for her at his practice when she was ready. So, she went on to attain her specialty certificate and master’s degree in pediatric dentistry. After completing her residency at Ohio State Children’s Hospital, she came back and joined the practice where she herself had been a patient for so many years.

“It’s a surprising and rare fact that some of the staff who currently work for Alameda Pediatric Dentistry grew up as patients or brought their own children in for care.”

It’s a surprising and rare fact that some of the staff who currently work for Alameda Pediatric Dentistry grew up as patients or brought their own children in for care. Even more remarkable, there are several employees who have continued to work within the practice for over 30 years. One hygienist started out as a dental assistant, was inspired to go to hygiene school, and came back to the place she considered home. Another was a babysitter for Dr. Perry’s children, who then worked as a receptionist for many years and now helps manage the practice. Ninety-five percent of the staff have children and understand the struggle and all the juggling that goes along with parenthood. In fact, some staff members are pregnant right now with a whole new group of future patients!
Dr. Perry has been practicing at APD for nearly 50 years. While he has handed over the reins of running the practice, he still enjoys providing dental services to the children who come in for care. Sharine joined forces with her current partner, Dr. Mylinh Ngo, and together they have grown their practice to include four locations serving the San Francisco Bay Area. They have offices in Alameda, Oakland, Pleasanton, and now in Brentwood. The primary provider in the Brentwood location is Dr. Jennifer Sun. “Dr. Ngo, Dr. Sun, and I approach patient care in the same way—we are all very attentive and proceed with immense empathy. The children can feel it, and it makes a difference in their experience.

“Alameda Pediatric Dentistry has been providing unparalleled care for pediatric patients for over 50 years.”

“We gain a lot of experience treating children with different needs in residency.”

Prior to opening our Brentwood location, we had families that would make the drive from Brentwood to Alameda just to go to our office. They were thrilled to learn that we were opening up within their community and were a lot closer now. We had the opportunity to continue care for the patients of a retiring pediatric dentist who had been practicing in Brentwood for over 30 years. We felt that we could fill a very important need for the community, so we officially assumed dental care in this location on August 8, 2019,” shares Sharine. Patients can find this office in the John Muir Health Center, which also features many other pediatric health specialists.
Alameda Pediatric Dentistry has been providing unparalleled care for pediatric patients for over 50 years. Their offering of both on-site orthodontics and a fully equipped sedation center sets them apart from other dental offices in the area. But what makes them heroes to many parents in the special needs community is how they excel in their specialty of special needs dentistry. Says Sharine, “We gain a lot of experience treating children with different needs in residency. We have learned techniques and have different approaches we employ for each patient, as they are each special and unique. Some kids have trouble with sensory processing; we will dim the lights or offer toys with different textures so they can squeeze/ touch to alleviate stress. We talk to the parents about likes or dislikes and make a coordinated plan. Because we have a full array of services and every tool at our disposal, we can provide a complete array of treatment options: preventative, restorative, nitrous oxide, oral sedation, and even general anesthesia administered in-office or at Kaiser hospital.”

Another major accomplishment of this group is their doctors’ designation as board-certified pediatric dentists. This is no small feat. Out of all dentists, only 3% are specially trained pediatric dentists. Out of that group, an even smaller number are board certified. It is a huge, intensive process that is renewed every ten years. When you are placing your children into the care of this group, you are clearly placing them into the hands of highly qualified doctors and a team whose long-term life goals have lead them to serve you.

Patients come back for treatment generation after generation. Come visit and let your children tell you why.

Photos By Melissa Van Ruiten

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