'Lego dentist' hopes to inspire creativity among pediatric patients

David Jadin, D.D.S., transforms waiting area into Lego lovers' paradise

Photo of David Jadin, D.D.S.

Lego lovers' paradise: Pediatric dentist David Jadin, D.D.S., uses his passion for Lego bricks to transform his practice's waiting area into a stimulating playground for his young patients. Photos courtesy of Dr. Jadin.

If someone had asked a young David Jadin, D.D.S., what he wanted to be when he grew up, he probably would have said a Lego designer.

While life may not have turned out exactly how he planned as a child, the pediatric dentist has found countless ways to bring his passion for Lego bricks to his Elm Grove, Wisconsin, practice, transforming it into a Lego lovers' paradise and a stimulating playground for his patients.

"I've played with Lego all my life, it seems," Dr. Jadin said. "If you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, depending on when you asked me, my answer would have been either to work for Lego or to be a dad. I didn't know then that pediatric dentistry and being the unofficial 'Lego dentist' was an option that would allow me to kind of do it all."

Photo of PlayWell Pediatric Dentistry waiting area

Play well: Lego bricks and models await patients in the waiting area at PlayWell Pediatric Dentistry, where they can make their own creations or interact with displays built by David Jadin, D.D.S.

The name of Dr. Jadin's practice, PlayWell Pediatric Dentistry, is inspired by Lego. "Play well" is the English translation of the Danish words "leg godt," which were combined to make the brand name for the famous bricks.

Dr. Jadin's patients can play well throughout his office's waiting area, where bricks and models await them. They can make their own creations or interact with displays Dr. Jadin has built. He has even motorized or attached lights to many of the displays, which his patients can bring to life with the push of a button.

While favorites such as Harry Potter, Olaf and Spider-Man are represented among his creations, so is dentistry.

Photo of Lego dentist minifigure

Makeover: David Jadin, D.D.S., transforms a wooden Lego minifigure into a dentist by adorning it with a handpiece and mirror he designed and built out of Lego bricks and a scrub cap, mask, gloves and booties he knit.

Dr. Jadin transformed a wooden Lego minifigure into a dentist by adorning it with a handpiece and mirror he designed and built out of Lego bricks and a scrub cap, mask, gloves and booties he knit. He also used Lego bricks to create a panoramic X-ray in a working light box and a small replica of the Solea all-tissue laser that he uses to help explain upcoming procedures to his patients. 

For the more keen-eyed kiddos, over 20 Lego minifigures of Dr. Jadin himself are mixed into the displays, offering a playful twist on "Where's Waldo?" in which his patients look for their favorite dentist.

"I'm Spider-Man, Buzz Lightyear, I'm landing on the moon, and I'm trying to have a chat with Cookie Monster about certain dietary habits," he said.

Photo of Lego minifigure of David Jadin, D.D.S., as Spider-Man

Super dentist: A Lego minifigure of David Jadin, D.D.S., doubles as Spider-Man in this playful twist on "Where's Waldo?" in which his patients look for their favorite dentist among his Lego displays.

Dr. Jadin is learning how to do stop-motion animation next, and he hopes to create some silly and educational videos using Lego bricks to bring the stories to life.

He said his patients are always excited to see what he has created for them at his office, and sometimes the youngest ones even throw a tantrum when it's time to leave.

"The environment itself does a lot to reduce anxiety. It's actually kind of sweet when the little ones cry to leave — much better than crying on arrival," Dr. Jadin said.

Photo of Lego replica of Solea all-tissue laser

Lego meets dental tech: A replica of the Solea all-tissue laser, designed and built by David Jadin, D.D.S., out of Lego bricks, sits in front of the real thing. Dr. Jadin uses the replica to help explain upcoming procedures to his patients.

Not only does he enjoy sharing his creations with his patients, but he also supports their own creative endeavors.

"I like to encourage and get excited with kids when they make something at my table or, better yet, when they bring something they made all the way from home to the dental office just to show me," Dr. Jadin said. "Hold everything because the next five minutes you are explaining every little thing to me about that creation because the most fun thing ever as a parent is seeing your kids be excited about something and watching them as they explain it to you."

Dr. Jadin may not work at Lego, but he did become something else he wanted to be when he grew up: a dad. He and his wife, Sarah, have three young children, and he shares his love of Lego with them too.

Photo of David Jadin, D.D.S., and son

Hands-on learning: David Jadin, D.D.S., and his son Ambrose play with Lego bricks at his pediatric dental practice in Elm Grove, Wisconsin.

Dr. Jadin strives to set an example for all the children in his life by doing what he loves.

"I hope to serve as a role model and bridge for kids. How I didn’t end up being able to work for Lego — few do — but that I’m still able to incorporate my passions in my work to make a job I already like even better," he said. "I love what I do as a pediatric dentist independent of all the rest, but fixing a tooth isn't really what gets me out of bed in the morning, but rather it's working with kids and getting to be a positive influence in their life."