New dentists share their go-to activity for National Mental Health Awareness Month | American Dental Association

New dentists share their go-to activity for National Mental Health Awareness Month

Q&A: Maintaining mental wellness

Photo of Dr. Piers mountain biking

Outdoors: Dr. Christrian Piers, right, on a mountain bike excursion with his friends. “Being active is really important to me for clearing my mind and getting outdoors helps to fill me with a sense of calm, positivity and appreciation for the world around me and my opportunity to participate in it,” he said.

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, which raises awareness on the importance of mental health and wellness.

According to Mental Health America, a community-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting the overall mental health of all, this year’s theme is “Back to Basics” to provide foundational knowledge about mental health and what people can do if their mental health is a cause for concern.

The New Dentist News asked several early career dentists to take us back to basic with this question: “In observance of National Mental Health Awareness Month, what is your go-to activity or most effective way for maintaining your mental health and wellness?”

Christian Piers, D.D.S.
Asheville, North Carolina


Trail running and mountain biking (either alone or with good friends) are two of my favorite ways to maintain my mental wellness. Being active is really important to me for clearing my mind and getting outdoors helps to fill me with a sense of calm, positivity and appreciation for the world around me and my opportunity to participate in it.

Photo of Dr. Sheth
Dr. Sheth

Meha Sheth, D.M.D.
Westfield, New Jersey

Through the course of my career, especially over the last few pandemic years, the best way I've found to maintain my mental health and wellness is to seek social support. It's often as simple as a phone conversation with my parents, dinner with my fiance and friends or a conversation with my mentor. Sharing what's on my mind with those I love and trust almost always makes me feel unburdened, energized and more productive overall. Everyone's support system is a little different, so don't be afraid to branch out - it really helps!

Photo of rack of lamb

Recipe: Dr. Triet Vuong made a rack of lamb with sumac and preserved lemon gremolata. “Since the pandemic started my go-to activity has been cooking which I’ve found to be quite relaxing and meditative,” he said.

Photo of Dr. Vuong
Dr. Vuong

Triet Vuong, D.D.S.

Seattle

Dentistry can be very mentally taxing so on my days off I like to have a creative outlet that isn’t at all clinical or administrative. Since the pandemic started my go-to activity has been cooking which I’ve found to be quite relaxing and meditative. For obvious reasons, my friends, family and staff have all been very supportive of this hobby.

Photo of Dr. Finley
Dr. Finley

Trent Finley, D.D.S.

Kansas City, Missouri

After one full year on energy drinks and four hours of sleep to get me through my second year of dental school, I resorted to healthier living as a way to “gain” more energy. As dentists, we use our bodies and put them through a lot as we work on patients. With three kids and another one on the way, I have to keep my body in shape to keep my energy high and serve my patients and my family. By working out five to six times a week and eating more fruits and vegetables, I feel rejuvenated and am able to manage my stress a lot easier than I used to.

Photo of Dr. Seifert on a trip

Holiday: Dr. Valerie Seifert and her husband relaxing during Labor Day weekend at The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington.

Valerie Seifert, D.D.S.

La Porte, Indiana

I take frequent vacations; often just a long weekend away. A few times a year, I close the office for a full week and make sure my staff takes a break too. But even daily, I find it very important to turn off and give myself breaks from the work. For me that means leaving the office at lunch and going home for leftovers, a few chores or some Netflix. Even with a great team and days with lovely patients, my outgoing but introverted brain gets exhausted.

Photo of Dr. Wiggins
Dr. Wiggins

LaJoi Wiggins, D.M.D.

Charlotte, North Carolina

During the first two years of my career, it became apparent how much I neglected my mental health. As a new dentist, I was faced with a moment in which I was unable to turn a blind eye to it anymore and began investing in myself as much as I have invested in others, especially my patients. I decided to take time to rediscover my passions and found much joy in Pilates, massage therapy, and meditation. I also downloaded an app that sends positive affirmations that helps me to remain centered and in a place of gratitude.

Photo of Dr. Nguyen
Dr. Nguyen

Jessica Nguyen, D.D.S.

Forest Lake, Minnesota

In the morning, I wake up and make sure I don't stay in bed. I look in the mirror and look at what I love about myself (loving yourself is important). I pray in the morning to thank God for my day and ask him to help me throughout the day. When I am done with serving patients, I go home, listen to music, and sing my heart out. My go-to activity is spending time with family and friends by eating good food and watching movies. Life is short, so we got to live it to the fullest potential — I do this by making others happy through laughter each day and spreading positivity and joy.