Credentials, experience, and associations are extremely important aspects to look for in a pediatric dentist. What makes one stand out from the other? WHO they are. Our Doctor Spotlight series allows our tiny patients and parents to get a glimpse into the doctor's lives. This month meet Dr. Cecilia Hwang. Come get to know us!
Dr. Cecilia Hwang attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) receiving her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree with distinction. As a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, she is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and many others. Her own fears of the dentist as a child lead her to choose a career in pediatric dentistry.
Why did you decide to focus on pediatric dentistry rather than general dentistry?
I always knew I wanted to focus on one area of dentistry. In dental school, I found pediatric dentistry to be the most fun and rewarding. Dentistry can be such a serious profession, but I could be my silly self in pediatric dentistry. After choosing to do all my extramural rotations in pediatrics, including a month at the National Children's Hospital in D.C., I knew I had chosen the right career path. There is never a dull moment when you are working with children.
Do you have kids?
My husband and I have two wonderful boys, Evan (age 7) and Owen (age 4). Evan is into all things science and robotics. He is my problem and puzzle solver. Evan can solve the Rubik's cube in under one minute! Owen is my sweet one. He is full of hugs and kisses for me every day. He is also my fun-loving crazy child.
What are some of your "tricks" to help ease kids' fears about their dental visits?
Distraction! Children love stories, especially when they are made up with crazy details. Just today, I gave a little girl a Shopkins tooth (a filling) that "glows in the dark" because hers had "sugar bugs" on them. In pediatric dentistry, it's all about explaining things in terms that kids can relate to, even if they make no sense to grown ups.
What's the best part of your day?
The best part of my day is also the craziest part of my day. It is that hour between getting home and eating dinner when I am cooking dinner/helping with homework/packing lunches for the next day all while looking for the missing Lego pieces. I love making special lunches for the boys that are both nutritious and cute. It's a time where I can unleash my creative and artsy side.
What's your favorite kids' show?
There are too many to list. I prefer the ones that teach children something rather than nonsense and silliness. Special Agent Oso, Super Why and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood are regulars at our house. Can you tell I have a preschooler? My nerdy side loves The Magic School Bus and Popular Mechanics for Kids.
What's your favorite color?
Lilac - which also happens to be the color of dentistry.
Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, what’s your favorite sweet?
I am not much of a sweets lover. For special occasions, I love a good cake. Our family also enjoys homemade smoothies and bubble teas.
Have you always wanted to be a dentist? If not, what did you want to be as a kid?
Yes. When I was very little I wanted to be a teacher, but I've wanted a career in dentistry since I was 13 or so.
Do you have a role model or a mentor? Why do you look up to them?
"Women are weak but mothers are strong.” - Julie Otsuka
My mother is my role model in so many ways. I look up to my mother for her dependable work ethic, patience and unconditional love for her children. There have been many hardships in her life, but she always comes out stronger because she is a mother. I would be lost in life without her.
What is your favorite sports team?
I always root for the home teams - the Tar Heels, Panthers and Hornets. Other than that, I don’t really watch sports.
Finish this sentence: When I was a kid______.
When I was a kid, I cried myself to sleep at my first sleep away camp. It was a school trip, and someone took a photo of me. Unfortunately, the photo made it to the yearbook. It still comes up as one of the main conversation topics at family dinners. I would love to share the photo, but the yearbook has been "misplaced.”