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Ernie Nehrer


Top Dentist


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Dental School:  University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry, 2012
Pediatric Residency: University of Southern California, School of Dentistry, 2014
Years in Practice: 9

Why did you choose to pursue pediatric dentistry?
During my externship in dental school I had the opportunity to provide care at a children’s clinic.  I quickly realized this was the style of dentistry and the atmosphere I wanted to work in.  I enjoy the fast pace, the educational aspect, and creating that first, great dental experience for our young patients.  There’s no better feeling than helping a frightened child get through his/her dental appointment and even looking forward to his/her next checkup.

How do you help patients overcome dental anxiety?
With every patient I try to find that one topic, whether it’s their favorite Disney character, an upcoming trip, or what they learned in school today, that sparks an interest, gets them talking and ultimately relaxes their anxiety.  Gaining trust from a young patient is challenging yet also very rewarding.

What do you enjoy in your spare time?
During the quarantine last year, I discovered the joy of vegetable gardening.   With our abundance of sunshine here in Arizona, we actually have two growing seasons (Spring and Fall).  Nothing like reaping the fruits of one’s labor.  Combine this with a little cooking and I’ve got my dream of farm-to-table living!

You have served as the President of the Arizona Academy of Pediatric Dentistry for 2 years, what did you learn from that experience?
I was involved in Organized Dentistry starting back in dental school, so it felt natural to continue serving my colleagues as I started working professionally.  I enjoyed coordinating Continuing Education seminars and keeping our members up to date on the latest news in our industry.  I saw this as an opportunity to give back to the profession and hopefully inspire other young dentists to want to do the same.

You have done a mission trip to Guatemala twice, what have been your biggest takeaways?
The main takeaway from both trips was the value in obtaining a world perspective.  Leaving the comfort of my home and interacting with people from different cultures is a great lesson in humility: despite our differences in culture, language and material possessions, all humans are the same.  We have the same basic needs: the need to be known, loved, cared for and to know our lives have meaning and purpose.

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