2017 Top Dentist: Jeanette MacLean

Editorial StaffAugust 1, 2017
Share This
As profiled in the New York Times, Dr. MacLean is an advocate of silver diamine fluoride, a topical antimicrobial treatment that can arrest 80 percent of cavities; Photo by Steve Craft

Pediatric Dentistry

Dental School: University of Southern California

Years in Practice: 14

Do you think children are inherently afraid of going to the dentist, or do you think perhaps their parents inadvertently pass their own fears on to them?
Unfortunately, there are some parents who sabotage their child’s ability to develop their own impression of the dentist by over-sharing horror stories of their past dental work or using dentistry as a threat: “If you don’t brush your teeth, they’re going to give you a shot and drill your tooth.”

Are your children less fearful of dentists than the average kids because they have you for a mom? Do you perform their dental work, or does someone at your practice?
Average kids are not fearful of the dentist, and it makes me sad to keep perpetuating that myth. My children and patients are lucky to have me as their dentist and a national leader in non-invasive cavity treatments like silver diamine fluoride, an antimicrobial topical treatment that eliminates the need for shots and drills.

What drew you to volunteer work in Mexico, Belize and Costa Rica?
My desire to see the world and share my knowledge and skill with people that might otherwise not receive dental care. We sometimes worked under tents in areas with no running water or electricity. I remember families that walked three hours to see us. It was a very humbling and life-changing experience.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure meal or snack you’d never recommend to patients?
That’s not fair! I don’t deny my patients anything, but I teach them about everything in moderation.

You’re from the Valley, and attended Chaparral High School before going to NAU and USC for dentistry. Why did you come back to set up shop?
I am a proud Phoenician, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I love sunshine and the natural beauty of the desert.

What are your thoughts on the tooth fairy? Yea or nay?
A big YEA! And it doesn’t have to be money. The tooth fairy can be very creative, leaving little notes, treats or toys for the kiddies. Sometimes even fairy dust!

What’s the funniest thing a patient has said to you on nitrous oxide?  
“How did you get up there?” Because they thought I was on the ceiling.

If I wasn’t a dentist, I’d be…”  
My friends think I should be a party planner because I throw some pretty epic theme parties.


For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.