By: Rich Adams
Dr. Sydney Learman practices dentistry with her father, Dr. Michael Learman, at Learman Dentistry in Bay City. The Bay City Western High School graduate earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine in May 2016 from Northwestern University.
Why did you decide to practice dentistry?
Family has always been a driving force when making any of my decisions, even when it came to my career choice. My dad began his career in general dentistry in the basement of my grandpa and uncle’s law firm, then built the current practice from the ground up when I was in high school. Many of our patients have watched me grow up with the practice. One of the special things about going into a family practice is watching the generations grow up in the practice, and you can’t replicate that in a corporate environment.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a dentist?
I love being able to make a difference in the confidence of someone through their smile. With so many ways to aesthetically change someone’s smile to replacing missing teeth, I can make a huge difference in their quality of life.
I also work a lot in pediatric dentistry, which is something that just sort of fell into my lap when I first graduated. I’m grateful for Dr. Elizabeth Picard and her team at Tri City Kids for giving me the chance to work with a lot of children. It’s extremely rewarding to be able to give children a good experience in the dental chair because it translates into adulthood, saving those patients a lot of heartache in the future.
What is the most challenging aspect of dentistry?
Unless patients are in pain, most don’t understand or value the need for treatment. Educating patients on the impact their oral health can have on their systemic health is always a little challenging. For instance, research shows the bacteria and inflammation in periodontal disease is associated with heart disease. Instead of thinking of dentistry as a luxury medicine, think of it as a necessary part of your health care.
How are you involved in your community?
Just like I love family, I love my community. When I’m not practicing dentistry, I’m helping prepare my Miss Great Lakes Bay Teen for the Miss Michigan’s Outstanding Teen scholarship program held every year in June. I’ve had the pleasure of being the director for five of these young ladies over the years. This program is often a stepping stone for young women that continue on to one day compete at Miss Michigan, a preliminary to the Miss America scholarship program
This past year I’ve also had the pleasure of being a mentor to a young girl who resides down in the Flint area at Whaley Children’s Center. Not only was she able to share a little bit of her background and her upbringing with me, but I also got to share our hometown with her. She spent the Fourth of July up here in Bay City enjoying our Fireworks Festival, something I’m super-proud to show off being a Bay City native.