We’re incredibly proud to share that over the summer we welcomed a new dental associate, Dr. Michelle Afonso. Dr. Afonso is a Tampa native and is a recent graduate of the University of Florida College of Dentistry. She’s spent time in our office shadowing Dr. Saylor over the years and is a great fit with our team and our patients.
Dr. Saylor had the chance to sit down with her recently and learn more about her journey to dentistry, her education, and her goals for the future. We’ve included highlights from their conversation below.
Interview with Dr. Michelle Afonso:
Dr. Saylor: For starters, could you share a little bit about yourself?
Dr. Afonso: I’ve lived in Tampa my whole life – I attended Alonso High School and then stayed in Tampa for my undergrad at the University of South Florida. I then went off to the University of Florida for dental school. We are both Bull Gators, which I think is cool and just another similarity we have. I graduated from the UF College of Dentistry in May 2023 and started at the practice full-time in June.
Dr. Saylor: What are you experiencing right now as a young professional?
Dr. Afonso: I am really enjoying working as a dentist. The transition from school, where you have all these ideas and goals, to now seeing patients every day and interacting with the staff – it’s more than I could have dreamed of. I understand dentistry because I learned that in school, and now I have the incredibly rewarding opportunity to provide people with a service that betters their life.
Dr. Saylor: What made you want to become a dentist?
Dr. Afonso: Very early on, I knew I wanted to help people, so I looked into the healthcare field. It was probably middle school when I homed in on dentistry. In high school, I started visiting dental offices and I got to see people coming in with pain or concerns. The dentist was offering solutions that same day and resolving their issue by the end of the appointment. That ability to make such an impactful change so quickly really drew me in.
Dr. Saylor: What made our practice more appealing than others?
Dr. Afonso: Joining your practice was like coming home because I had already spent so much time with your team and really enjoyed it. I love the staff and the family environment, and I am fully onboard with your practice philosophy. We’re always focusing on what’s best for the patient, which feels like we are doing good every day. That makes you happy to come to work. There is a clear difference in your practice and other more corporate dental offices.
Dr. Saylor: What goals do you have for yourself as a dentist in the next five years?
Dr. Afonso: I am looking forward to continuing my education and learning more advanced dentistry, so I can provide more comprehensive care. Diving into digital dentistry is also at the top of my list, as well as growing my patient pool and becoming a part of the community.
Dr. Saylor: What do you think is coming down the road in our profession that will be the biggest benefit to the patient?
Dr. Afonso: Digital dentistry and moving past the analog ooey gooey impression that people are used to. It opens a new world for the patient because its more comfortable and allows us to be more precise.
Dr. Saylor: What is the most challenging thing you come across every day?
Dr. Afonso: I’m detail oriented and want to be prepared so, when something pops up unexpectedly, that is a challenge for me right now. Being able to analyze, diagnose and come up with a treatment plan in an emergency is something I’m hoping to improve on. To have the knowledge base is a great start, but you never know what people will come in with.
Dr. Saylor: What are you really enjoying right now in terms of dentistry?
Dr. Afonso: Right now, I’m really enjoying crown and bridge work. Preparing a crown really appeals to the part of me that is detail oriented. Prepping the crown and being able to make it look like nothing was done is really rewarding. I want to build my skills to the point where you don’t know which tooth has a crown because it flows so well with the others.
Dr. Saylor: Why should people come to you as a dentist?
Dr. Afonso: Everything I’ve learned up to this point is to and provide comprehensive care. I’m very patient-centered and try to communicate with my patients as much as possible so they feel comfortable. If you have any concerns about seeing the dentist, I’ll try and address those concerns.
Meet Dr. Afonso
As you can see, Dr. Afonso is a natural fit with our practice. She’s been well received by our patients, and we look forward to introducing her to more patients as they come in for regular dental cleanings and cosmetic dental appointments. We trust that as you get to know her, you’ll love her as much as we do and will come to ask for her by name.
In need of dental care in the Tampa Bay area? Call our office to schedule a consultation. We’d be happy to discuss your dental needs and create a treatment plan that works for you.