How Well Do You Really Know Your Dentist? We’ve got the scoop on Dr. Umang Patel.
Many of our patients have been coming here for years – generations even! If that’s you, we hope you would say you know us pretty well. It’s part of that feeling of family we’re always talking about. But we’re often the ones asking the questions to keep you feeling right at home, and we’re welcoming new patients all the time too. Every once in a while, it’s important to even out the feeling of familiarity by sharing some information about ourselves.
We first posted fun facts about Dr. Umang Patel about six years ago when we added the Palos Heights practice. Since then, there have been some changes, like adding Dr. Sheikh to the practice and adjusting our practices to adapt to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Other things remain intact, like Dr. Patel’s love of Star Wars, the Chicago Blackhawks, and his patients. But we wanted to share more, so we channeled our inner journalists to get more of the scoop.
Q&A with Palos Heights Family Center Staff Member Dr. Umang Patel
Things are going very well! The big update is that Dr. Sheikh, Dr. Arora, and I have all received our COVID-19 vaccinations! So have a number of other staff members. This, as well as the state-of-the-art safety and sanitation practices we’ve been using since last June, gives us real peace of mind, confidence, optimism that we are protecting our patients and ourselves. We barely felt a thing!
Q: You said before that your mom’s tooth loss at a young age was the inspiration behind your interest in dentistry as well as some of the more advanced dental procedures like dental implants. We’d love to know more about that. Was your mom able to get implants? What was the effect on her life one way or another?
Yes, we were very fortunate that my mom was able to get dental implants when she lost all of her teeth in her 40s. It literally changed the trajectory of her life to be able to function fully. Try to imagine your life without teeth, and not being able to chew, smile, or speak properly.
The change affected the whole family. It not only made us all happier, but it’s also what made me want to be a dentist. I was only 12 years old at the time. I had always known I wanted to help people and was already drawn to the health and safety-related professions. When I saw the impact of the implants, it was a done deal.
You might wonder if I am my mom’s dentist, and the answer is yes! That’s not always the easiest thing to do, but it’s part of what helps me know just how to treat all my patients like family. For mom, I always want to be sure she has the latest proven technology, the most comfort possible, and treatment options that work for her. It feels good to take care of mom.
Q: Besides helping people, what is it that makes you a good dentist?
Well, I love the creative problem-solving aspect. I also find research to be fascinating, and it’s exciting to keep up with technology, which is always evolving. That’s the fun part. The tricky part – and a part I put a lot of thought and care into – is waiting until the technology is proven before getting too excited about it. I like being the 3rd-generation adopter.
Clinical choice is serious. I want you to know you have options, and that I’m up on the latest and greatest, but I also want you to know that I will never “experiment” on you. Like I said before, I wouldn’t recommend anything for my other patients that I wouldn’t recommend to my own mother!
Q: What about your kids? Last time you said they were too young to know if they wanted to follow in your dental footsteps. Have they taken a bite of that apple yet?
It’s still a little early to say. My son seems to be more inclined toward something like engineering than a medical profession. My daughter once said that she wanted to be a dentist because she wants me to work for her so she can tell me what to do. I wouldn’t put it past her, but we’ll see. I’d certainly be proud to have her as a boss!
Lately, I’ve been playing lots of tennis, more than ever. And I enjoy playing anything that lets me hang out with the kids. For example, I had the chance to coach girls basketball. I love that kind of thing. What I don’t love is e-learning. I know you can all commiserate. It’s been one of the bigger challenges of the past year for all of us.
Outside of sports and school, the family loves trying new foods. Like many others in the past year, we’ve gotten into baking bread, but that turned into making our own pizza, almost every Friday. We’re into gardening too. We grow a lot, from kale and carrots to tomatoes and peppers. The only thing we’ve failed so far has been okra, but the rabbits thought that was juuuust fine.
Q: How about other forms of entertainment like books and movies?
I absolutely love reading and podcasts. My latest book is Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert, and I love anything by Malcolm Gladwell. My latest favorite podcast is Against the Rules by Michael Lewis. We’re all still really into Star Wars. We’re not fans of Groogo, but we do like Baby Yoda. The Last Jedi was terrific, but come on, does anyone believe it’s really over? We say no way.
Q: Let’s wrap it up with the question of the year. What did 2020 bring or teach you?
I learned that you don’t need to be so busy. Keeping it simple is nice. I truly appreciated the extra family time, as well as more time to do volunteer work. We made the most of it! I do really miss traveling though and have been feeling a certain wanderlust. I grew up in Canada, and my extended family is still there. I really miss them. This summer, we’re hoping to do the Great American Roadtrip to see all the national parks. We’re feeling optimistic and grateful.
That’s a wrap on our chat with Dr. Patel. Keep an eye out next month for a Q&A with Dr. Nina Arora, and in case you missed it, check out our Q&A with Dr. Saba Sheikh.
Time for a Visit?
Come on in and ask your own follow up questions! Dr. Patel and the rest of the Palos Heights Family Dental staff would love to see you. Just give us a call at (708) 448-7588 or fill out this form.