Doctor Spotlight: Dr. Janyn Baird, DDS

Position: Traveling Dentist
Location: Abilene, TX
Dental School: Howard University College of Dentistry

What inspired you to become a dentist?

I’m from Trinidad, where children didn’t really go the dentist. There were dental nurses and I had such bad experiences with them – I was terrified. When I went to college at Howard, I was in medical school and I went to the dentist and had my wisdom teeth removed. I had such a great experience as a patient. It changed my view – you can be a dentist and not hurt people.  I knew I wanted to do that.

Who was your super hero growing up?

Batman, because he didn’t have superpowers. He had gadgets and his intelligence. It was cool to see him be self-made. It made me think, I could be like Batman!

What made you decide to apply for the dentist mission trip?

I’ve always wanted to do a mission trip and help people who are in need. Access to care is an issue I am very passionate about. I went to dental school and saw how many people around the world were not getting regular, good dental care. I work at Kool Smiles so that I can be in underserved areas that otherwise wouldn’t have access to care. I want to be the person who helps solve that problem.

How do you plan to live out the Kool Smiles mission on your trip?

I want to provide competent care. Even if it’s just fillings and extractions, I want to provide it in a way that is comfortable and makes each person feel valued as a patient.

What is a fear you have or a challenge you expect to face going on this mission trip?

My biggest fear is finding a patient that we can’t help. We’re probably their last resort. I am hoping I can help every patient I see.

What’s a final piece of advice you have for people trying to make a difference in the world of dentistry?

Every person matters. It can be overwhelming to look at the statistics of access to care and lack of insurance. You might feel like one person can’t make a difference, but you can. I can change a lot of lives. You can make a difference. One drop in the ocean actually does count.

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