Today we’d like to introduce you to Kenya Hoover
Kenya, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I came to the US when I was 11 years old with my Mother and Brother. As immigrants, we did not have much, and my mother often worked three jobs to help support us. When I was not taking care of my brother, I often struggled with school. Trying to adapt and learn a whole new language was very difficult. I always knew that I wanted to be a dentist, even from the time I was much younger. After Highschool, I did not think I could make it into Dental school due to my previous struggles and so I decided to go to Dental Assisting school. I thought it would be the best option to get me close to something I loved. All it did was make me want to be a dentist even more. I decided to return to Brazil so that I could go to dental school. Once I graduated from Dental school in Brazil, I returned to the US to be closer to my family.
However, being a foreign-trained dentist, I was unable to practice in the US. I decided that I would do anything to be able to practice the profession I loved. I obtained my license as a dental hygienist and worked in the field while I studied to go back to school. After many years of studying, I passed the dental boards and was accepted to Nova Southeastern University. Over the next three years of hard work, I obtained a certificate in Operative Dentistry and a Master of Sciences in Dentistry. I decided to continue at Nova and taught for a year as an Associate Professor. Afterwards, I moved to Orlando, FL and spent four years working for a dental corporation before opening my own practice in April 2019.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I do not believe I ever had a smooth road. I faced many challenges along the way, from financial hardships to language and educational barriers I faced as a child. Dental programs for foreign-trained dentists very competitive, often having three to four open spots a year with applicants numbering in the hundreds.
We’ve been impressed with NuLife Dental and Med Center, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
At Nulife Dental and Med Center, we want to be a one stop office for dental and facial aesthetics need. I wanted to build a place whose entire focus was on people, not just their teeth. I wanted my patients to always be heard, their concerns, their expectations, and their fears. I wanted to take my time with them, to put them at ease, and educate them on what is really going on so that after they leave my office, they can have to knowledge to improve their oral health. Our guiding principle is to provide comprehensive treatment, focusing on their immediate needs and their overall health. We want to treat our patients like family in a comfortable and relaxed environment.
Can you share something surprising about yourself?
How much I truly love being at the Dentist’s office since I was four years old. No one in my family is in the medical field and they certainly do not love going to the Dentist, but I did. That is where I would go to get all my baby teeth taken out. I even love the way it smells in a dental office. Or that I have done it all in the dental office. I have been a dental assistant, a dental hygienist and now a Dentist.
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