A New Day for Dentistry: Meet Dr. Alexandra Otto

Family: Dr. Otto with her husband, Tim, and two fur-babies Rambo (golden retriever) and Bremer (Bernese mountain dog).

A New Day for Dentistry is a new ADA campaign that celebrates the Association’s vibrant community of dentists. It seeks to honor the dentists who power the ADA and commemorates the contributions dentists make to their communities and the profession every day.

Each month, the ADA News will profile one dentist who represents the diverse range of ages, career stages, practice paths and backgrounds that make the ADA what it is.

Meet Alexandra Otto D.D.S., member since 2009.

Location: Buda, Texas.

Dental school: Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry.

Practice type: Co-founder of a multi-location pediatric specialty practice called Kids Tooth Team Pediatric Dentistry.

Why did you choose dentistry? Looking back, it’s hard to articulate what my 21-year-old self had in mind when she applied to dental school, but I couldn’t be more grateful that she did. I knew I would like working with my hands and building relationships with my patients, but dentistry turned out to be so much more than I could have imagined. The ability to be in a profession that allows me to help and better the lives of the children I serve, be a leader in my community, and create jobs for some incredible people is an honor and privilege that I will never take for granted.

Why did you join the ADA? My experience in the American Student Dental Association introduced me to the importance and value of membership and leadership in organized dentistry, so it was a given for me to continue on to ADA membership once I graduated. Serving as a national vice president of ASDA, I had the opportunity to get involved with ASDA and ADA leadership early on, and it changed the course of my career.

What do you like most about your ADA membership? My ability to participate in the process at every level of the tripartite has been the most valuable part of my ADA membership to me. It’s important for me to be knowledgeable about the issues that affect my ability to own my business, operate my nonprofit organization and treat my patients according to best practices. These issues are different at the local, state, and national levels, so having an organized way to voice my thoughts to legislators and the public through the ADA at each of these levels is the biggest member benefit to me.  Outside of that, I love having an immediate network of colleagues to connect with. I’ve lived and practiced all over the place: Virginia, Colorado, Alaska and Texas. The first thing I do when moving to a new place is to get involved with my local and state components to meet other dentists in my area, find like-minded professionals to be a part of my referral network, and make new friends.

When I’m not in the office, you can find me: Enjoying the outdoors with my husband Tim and our two fur-babies Rambo (golden retriever) and Bremer (Bernese mountain dog). We love spending time on Lake Travis when we are home in Austin and take every opportunity we can to be in the mountains when we have time for a weekend away. I completed my pediatric residency in Alaska, and we fell in love with the state. We return annually to see our friends and be immersed in the Alaskan beauty. It’s definitely our happy place.

Favorite movie/TV show: We’ve recently been binging the last season of “Ozark.” We have one more episode to go.

What was your first job? I worked at Outback Steakhouse throughout high school and college as a hostess and waitress. I always say that I learned more about customer service from working in the hospitality industry than I ever did in dental school.

Fun fact about me: I am expecting our first (human) child this September!!  We are really excited to welcome a baby boy to our family in a few months. We haven’t told the dogs yet.

What does A New Day for Dentistry mean to you? Being a part of the new generation of dentists that are celebrated for the unique paths we have chosen in the profession. Success isn’t defined by “owning your own practice” anymore. It’s about work-life balance and pursuing your passions. The profession is finally coming around to realizing that practice ownership simply isn’t the right choice for everyone. I have friends that are incredibly happy and fulfilled in their career associate roles, love public health or academia, or are excited and challenged by the opportunity to be in a large-practice setting. I love that I can have a career where I can do a little bit of everything I love; practice clinical dentistry, run a nonprofit, build incredible teams, teach dental students and new dentists, own my own practice and be a mom. We aren’t a one-size-fits-all profession anymore and I love it.

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