Full Circle

HDC Helps Former Mentee Dentist Become the Mentor

For Dr. Myoung-Wook Kim, learning from others was at the very start of his journey to becoming a dentist. An English literature major in South Korea, he traveled to the US as an exchange student. In his required science course, Kim discovered a surprising passion for the subject. That one class led him to major in biology at the University of Wisconsin, and there Kim began shadowing dentists and medical professionals in order to find the right career fit within the sciences. Dr. Kim recalls the intersection of his lifelong love for the arts and his newfound interest in science, "I was always interested in art. Then I worked in dental offices, and dentistry was like art work. The cosmetics and carving and everything—and making things beautiful—it completely worked out for me."

"I want to be successful so I can help other doctors. I hope to inspire doctors and team members."

Dentistry also proved to be the perfect setting for his sense of humor. "I like to joke around with the patients a lot," Dr. Kim explains. "Nobody likes the dentist. I try to make them comfortable. I don't jump into the dentistry right away. I always get them good and relaxed, and a lot of patients like that. It makes a good relationship with the patients."

Myoung-Wook Kim, DDS
Myoung-Wook Kim, DDS
practice at Neibauer Dental Care - Oxon Hill and is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.

As Dr. Kim continued his education at the University of Maryland Dental School, he sought further learning opportunities through hands-on experience and the mentorship of others. "I worked as a clerk in oral maxillofacial surgery," Dr. Kim remembers. "By pursuing clerkship, I had lots of oral surgery experience." He also had the benefit of learning from those ahead of him on the career path. By the time he graduated in 2008, Dr. Kim's hard work had earned him the Maryland Society of Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons Award.

After two years of military service in Korea, Dr. Kim joined the Waldorf office of Neibauer Dental Care. Dr. Kim reflects on the mentorship he received from more experienced colleagues early in his career, "With six full-time doctors in the office, I had support. I got to hang around with them a lot. They each gave me different perspectives and treatment philosophies." When Neibauer Dental Care affiliated with HDC in 2011, Dr. Kim knew HDC’s doctor-led business model and mentorship program would be a great fit for the practice and for him. "I never had any doubt," Dr. Kim recalls, "and now I see the results."

"With six full-time doctors in the office I support. I got to hang around with them a lot. They each gave me different perspectives and treatment philosophies."

With opening a new Neibauer Dental Care office in Oxon Hill, Maryland in Fall 2012, mentorship has come full-circle for Dr. Kim: "I am currently training another dentist who will open a new office next year, and now I am a mentor dentist in HDC's mentor program." The student who once shadowed is now the doctor being observed. With his trademark humor, Dr. Kim tells his shadowing students, "Know your limits. The worst thing you can do is try to be a 'hero-dontist'." Instead, he urges young doctors not to try to do it alone, but to learn how to take care of challenges and complications by connecting with a mentor doctor and taking advantage of HDC's continuing education. Dr. Kim's ultimate goal is to continue growing and reaching out to share with others, "I want to be successful and stronger so I can help other doctors. I hope to inspire doctors and team members."