Q & A with Dr. Ernest Ponraj
1. Why did you want to become a dentist?
I was never the type of person that grew up knowing exactly what I wanted to do or be, but very early on in school I knew that I wanted to work in a field where I interacted with people. I have always loved working with my hands and solving problems. Dentistry as a profession has helped me use these skills to help people in all walks of life. There are so many complexities with the mouth, teeth, and smile, and using the knowledge I’ve gained to help people is very rewarding. I ended up finishing college as a fine art major with a specialty in portraits. What does this have to do with dentistry? Making subtle changes to patients teeth can make a big differences in their lives and gives me the same type of joy as when I finish a work of art.
2. What is your dental philosophy in regards to treating patients?
The question I always want my patients to ask me when they aren’t sure about treatment or what they should do is “What would you do if I was your mother, father, or other family member”. That is the way I always try to present to my patients, I go about treating you as if you were one of my family members. My goal as a practitioner is to give you all the options and necessary information for you to make an informed decision about what is best for yourself.
3. What makes your office different than most dental practices?
I want my office to be a place where you are treated fairly and feel truly cared for. I like to get to know all of my patients on not just a clinical but personal level as well. If you would just like to sit down for a conversation with me, I would gladly take to time out to answer any questions you may have.
4. What are some of your favorite procedures to do?
Every year I like to bring something new to my practices. Learning new skills with the latest technologies is something that I get excited about. Cosmetic work is something that I especially enjoy doing because it gives me great feeling transforming a patient’s smile. Digital dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and placing Implants are procedures that patients can share my excitement about.
5. What are dental products that you recommend?
I’ve been doing more research in ways to prevent caries and helping patients that have good hygiene but aren’t able to prevent cavities from forming. CariFree is a product that helps control the PH of the oral mouth to prevent cavities. Prevident and Clinpro are other prescription strength fluoride toothpastes that help with demineralization and preventing future cavities. I like to offer high end, medium, and lower priced products that all people can afford to keep their mouths feeling extra clean. Some of the toothbrushes that I have available are the Oral-B electric brushes, Burst sonic brushes, and regular soft bristle brushes as well.
6. I’m scared of the dentist, how can you help with keeping my anxiety to a minimum?
Many people are scared of me even before they sit in the chair. It is something I learned very early on. Usually there is a traumatic experience in their lives that has contributed to this fear. I don’t ever force treatments on any patients if they are not comfortable with what is being done.
7. What’s the best piece of advice you can give your patients?
Keep up with your regular visits. You would be surprised by how many patients only go to the dentist when something hurts. While we will gladly resolve your emergency visits. There are many times these emergencies could have been prevented by performing minor treatment during regular recare visits. So my advice is to enroll in regular recare to prevent major treatment from occurring in the first place.
8. If I have an emergency can I get to see you?
Most people feel bad calling me outside of my business hours. I not only don’t mind it but encourage people to call me if there is an emergency they have. If I can’t help you at the immediate time I will find someone that can. I make it readily available to call my direct cell phone if you can’t reach me at the office.
9. Do you see all types of patients?
We don’t discriminate from seeing all types of patients. From little kids to older patients and all ages in between. I also participate with a group of head and neck trauma patients. If there are some with special needs or extreme anxiety I can point them to right place to get treated. All are welcome at our offices.
10. What do you like to do outside of dentistry on your days off?
Most time on weekends and outside the office you will find me with my wife, 2 girls, and 2 dogs. I am a huge DC sports fan, and love artwork and eating out. You can find me most of the times watching movies or tv shows and working on a home project in my spare time.