Introducing Dr. Michelle Yang


World Of Smiles is thrilled to introduce pediatric dentist, Dr. Michelle Yang. On the latest episode of Mixed Dentition, she sits down with Dr. Stafford to tell us a little about her background and the path that led her to pediatric Dentistry.


Topics discussed in this episode:


• A little bit about Dr. Yang

• Living in New York

• Living in Hawaii

• The decision to move back home to Portland

• Honeymooning in Korea…with the in-laws!

• Why she became a pediatric dentist


Learn more about her residency program in New York HERE. And the Hawaii residency for pediatric dentistry HERE.


Listen🎧, Read📖, Watch📺! You can listen right here, or with a podcast app of your choice. You can also read the complete transcript below, or scroll to the bottom of this post for the video.


You can browse all previous episodes on Anchor and Youtube!




Dr. Stafford: Hello, Dr. Michelle Stafford here with World of Smiles and our podcast, Mixed Dentition. And today my special guest star is Dr. Michelle Yang. Welcome to the podcast, Michelle.


Dr. Yang: Well, thank you for having me. I'm very excited to be here today.


Dr. Stafford: Yay. And you are joining the World of Smiles team as of December of 2019. [crosstalk 00:00:26]


Dr. Yang: Yes, I am excited.


Dr. Stafford: Welcome to the team.


Dr. Yang: I'm super excited to join the family-


Dr. Stafford: Yay.


Dr. Yang: ... of World of Smiles in December.


Dr. Stafford: Excellent.


Dr. Yang: I have been looking forward to it.


Dr. Stafford: Yay. And, of course, you spell your name with two L's just like I do. So, we can be besties. So...


Dr. Yang: Michelle swears.


Dr. Stafford: Michelles. Great. So, let's learn a little bit about you, Michelle.


Dr. Yang: Of course.


Dr. Stafford: So, you lived here in Portland, and went to dental school at OHSU on the hill.


Dr. Yang: Yes, I did.


Dr. Stafford: And how was that?


Dr. Yang: It was great experience. I'm so sad the building is gone now.


Dr. Stafford: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Dr. Yang: But they moved onto to the beautiful waterfront area.


Dr. Stafford: Yeah.


Dr. Yang: And it's gorgeous.


Dr. Stafford: It is gorgeous. Have you seen the new dental school? It's quite a lot.


Dr. Yang: Yeah, I took a tour of it.


Dr. Stafford: Yeah.


Dr. Yang: And I was just like, "Well, I paid for that school."


Dr. Stafford: So, then after you graduated from OHSU dental school, what did you do?


Dr. Yang: You know...


Dr. Stafford: Where did your life take you?


Dr. Yang: Just like that kid, they always want to leave where they're from. So, I actually went to New York for GPR, which is a residency.


Dr. Stafford: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Dr. Yang: I did a year residency in New York up in the Bronx.


Dr. Stafford: Nice.


Dr. Yang: And that was an experience. I got yelled at on the streets, because I was walking too slow.


Dr. Stafford: Oh, no.


Dr. Yang: I got yelled at because I was coughing, I would sneeze. And this person next to me said, "Excuse me, lady, I don't have any health insurance. I can't believe you're coughing in my face."


Dr. Stafford: Oh, no.


Dr. Yang: So, I got yelled a few times. Definitely a learning curve. And then after a year, I was like, "Oh, New York is just too much." But I wasn't quite ready to come back to Portland, because... Just because. Just because I was still young then.


Dr. Stafford: Yeah.


Dr. Yang: So, I moved to Denver, and it was because it's top 10 sunniest cities in the US.


Dr. Stafford: That's right. I think I read that.


Dr. Yang: There, then Honolulu actually.


Dr. Stafford: Really? Denver, Colorado.


Dr. Yang: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Dr. Stafford: Ah, who knew?


Dr. Yang: So, I was like, "Okay, I'm going to move somewhere really sunny."


Dr. Stafford: Yeah.


Dr. Yang: And Portland, it's dreary and rainy. I wasn't ready for that. So, I was like, "Okay, let's move to Denver." So, I practiced there for four years, and I fell in love with seeing kids.


Dr. Stafford: Nice.


Dr. Yang: So, I said, "Should I go back to school? And, no, I'm too old. I don't want to do that." So, I was debating back and forth with that, and I decided to go back to school. And I got into a residency in Hawaii. Lucky me.


Dr. Stafford: Great, great.


Dr. Yang: So, I spent two years in Hawaii.


Dr. Stafford: Nice.


Dr. Yang: Doing my program. And after that, I was like, "I'm ready to go back home. I'm ready. I'm fully committed to Oregon again. I miss it. I miss people, I miss culture, food, just everything about it." So, I am so happy to be back.


Dr. Stafford: Awesome.


Dr. Yang: In Oregon.


Dr. Stafford: Well, I'm glad to have you back. So, I'm sure our audience would love to know what were some of the best parts about living in Hawaii for two years? Was it two years? Is that how long you lived there?


Dr. Yang: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, the best part of living in Hawaii was to live in different islands.


Dr. Stafford: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Dr. Yang: Because our program was very lucky. We had a chance to move to different islands, and practice there for a few months.


Dr. Stafford: That's awesome. I know you were telling me that you moved, what, every three or four months?


Dr. Yang: Yes.


Dr. Stafford: Wow. That's pretty intense for two years to move that much.


Dr. Yang: That was a great experience. It was an honor to be part of their community, and serve those kids who are in need. It was just amazing experience. So, I lived in Big Island, Maui, Lanai, and Oahu.


Dr. Stafford: Wow.


Dr. Yang: So, four different islands.


Dr. Stafford: That's awesome.


Dr. Yang: So, that was the best part. Just being part of the community was the best part.


Dr. Stafford: Oh, that's great.


Dr. Yang: Of course, the beach, and everything else.


Dr. Stafford: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Did you have a chance to do much snorkeling, or watersports while you were there?


Dr. Yang: Oh, lots of snorkeling, and seeing turtles that were this big.


Dr. Stafford: I'm so jealous.


Dr. Yang: Just everywhere you go.


Dr. Stafford: That's awesome.


Dr. Yang: But no sharks.


Dr. Stafford: Oh, that's good. Never saw a shark in that whole time?


Dr. Yang: No.


Dr. Stafford: That's good.


Dr. Yang: Thankfully not.


Dr. Stafford: That's good.


Dr. Yang: But lots of hiking too.


Dr. Stafford: Ah, great.


Dr. Yang: So, you could do lots of things in one day. So, you could get up first thing in the morning, go up hiking, come down, go to the beach, and then after that, if you're a little bit bored, you can't go golfing in the afternoon.


Dr. Stafford: Wow.


Dr. Yang: Yeah. All kinds of activities you could do.


Dr. Stafford: That sounds pretty great. Were you ever tempted to stay there?


Dr. Yang: Yes. I'm not going to lie, it's a paradise. And, of course, when you're in a paradise, you want to be in it, and you want live in it too.


Dr. Stafford: But you were engaged at the time.


Dr. Yang: I was engaged at the time.


Dr. Stafford: And your fiance probably didn't want you to stay.


Dr. Yang: You're right. Okay. And he was practicing in Oregon, and he said, "I'm not moving to Hawaii."


Dr. Stafford: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Dr. Yang: And I said, "Shoot. All right, I love Portland and Oregon anyway, so I'll move back. Not because of you, but because I love Portland."


Dr. Stafford: And also get your man. [Crosstalk 00:05:50].


Dr. Yang: Yeah.


Dr. Stafford: And you got married recently?


Dr. Yang: I did.


Dr. Stafford: Congratulations.


Dr. Yang: Thank you. Just got married in September. I've been with this... My other half for nine years, and we just got married.


Dr. Stafford: That's great.


Dr. Yang: In his back backyard. So, there was a cute little wedding. Thanks for asking.


Dr. Stafford: Yeah, and then where did you guys go after? Do you mind sharing?


Dr. Yang: Not at all. So, my family is from Korea, and I wanted to show my in-laws and Peter, my other half, Korea. So, I took them to Korea, and had them meet my relatives, and my parents. And I saw my aunties and uncles that I haven't seen for 20 years.


Dr. Stafford: That's so great.


Dr. Yang: It was so good to see them, and it was great for them to meet my family too.


Dr. Stafford: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Dr. Yang: And they had a great time.


Dr. Stafford: Oh, that's so wonderful.


Dr. Yang: Yeah.


Dr. Stafford: I'm like, "Oh, when are you going to Korea again, and can I come?"


Dr. Yang: Oh, of course, you are welcome to. As long as you're okay with staying in 300 square feet.


Dr. Stafford: That's all right. I will sleep on the floor if I go travel to Korea.


Dr. Yang: Okay.


Dr. Stafford: I heard it's beautiful.


Dr. Yang: It's so fun. The food is amazing.


Dr. Stafford: Yeah.


Dr. Yang: The culture is amazing. Just great. Come, yeah, go. Just come bring your boys.


Dr. Stafford: What's your favorite Korean dish? Oh, I'm really putting you on the spot. And can you make it to share with me?


Dr. Yang: Absolutely. I love cooking. I'll definitely bring any food that I make.


Dr. Stafford: Love it.


Dr. Yang: To the office. My favorite food... I'm going to have to pick just a staple, a Korean staple food. Kimchi.


Dr. Stafford: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Dr. Yang: I do like the pickled cabbage.


Dr. Stafford: I do too. A little spicy.


Dr. Yang: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Dr. Stafford: Yeah.


Dr. Yang: A little kick.


Dr. Stafford: Yup, I like that.


Dr. Yang: So, I like some stews too. I like barbeque. I guess everything.


Dr. Stafford: This is why I like you. You love to eat also.


Dr. Yang: All the time.


Dr. Stafford: I love it. I love it. So, tell us more about your hobbies, what you like to do?


Dr. Yang: Oh.


Dr. Stafford: Besides cooking.


Dr. Yang: Besides cooking?


Dr. Stafford: Trying different restaurants...


Dr. Yang: And eating, and traveling, and meeting new people. I like to bike a lot.


Dr. Stafford: Oh, great.


Dr. Yang: And also snowboard in winter time. I just got this e-bike.


Dr. Stafford: Fancy.


Dr. Yang: And it makes a huge difference in a way you can cover a lot bigger area in the same amount of time.


Dr. Stafford: Nice.


Dr. Yang: So, we just bike around, like in Portland.


Dr. Stafford: Right.


Dr. Yang: And that's what I do.


Dr. Stafford: Nice.


Dr. Yang: And I walk my dogs.


Dr. Stafford: How many dogs do you have?


Dr. Yang: I said dogs, but just one.


Dr. Stafford: I was like, "I thought you had one."


Dr. Yang: I want to have one more, but...


Dr. Stafford: You want one more. Yeah.


Dr. Yang: To have my imaginary...


Dr. Stafford: What kind of dog do you have?


Dr. Yang: I have a chocolate labradoodle.


Dr. Stafford: Oh, okay.


Dr. Yang: And he's a sweet little thing. He doesn't really act like a dog. He doesn't really smell things, which is kind of odd.


Dr. Stafford: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Dr. Yang: He always makes eye contact with you. And there's the, "Oh, you're Michelle. Okay."


Dr. Stafford: Your dog does that?


Dr. Yang: Yeah.


Dr. Stafford: So funny.


Dr. Yang: He doesn't smell things, which is just really odd.


Dr. Stafford: Oh, that's funny.


Dr. Yang: But it's really funny. I love having him having him around. He's really fun.


Dr. Stafford: Nice.


Dr. Yang: He's sweet.


Dr. Stafford: That's really great. So, Michelle, we learned a little bit about who you are personally, but tell me, what do you love about pediatric dentistry? What made you take the plunge and go back to school?


Dr. Yang: Right. What do you not like about kids?


Dr. Stafford: I know.


Dr. Yang: Everything. But the turning point was there's one year that I had a pixie haircut.


Dr. Stafford: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Dr. Yang: Okay. So, I walked in and saw this cute little kid. She was maybe five, or six, and she was all ready to get her treatment started. Okay, and I told her like, "If anything bothers you, you just raise your left hand." And it's like, "Okay." So, we're all ready to go, mouth prop in and everything, and she just raised your hand like this. And I was like, "Yes, sweetheart?" Like, "Oh, I have a question." It's like, "Okay, let's take everything out, and let's answer your question." So, we take everything out. And then she said, "Are you boy or a girl?" And I was just like, "This is it. I love it." I love kids. They don't lie.


Dr. Stafford: They don't.


Dr. Yang: They're just brutally honest.


Dr. Stafford: Yeah.


Dr. Yang: So, I was just like, "This is it. I'm never going to go back to seeing adults."


Dr. Stafford: Yup.


Dr. Yang: I want to go back to school.


Dr. Stafford: That's awesome.


Dr. Yang: And pursue this.


Dr. Stafford: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Dr. Yang: And I want to be the best at treating kids.


Dr. Stafford: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:10:33] And it's so much fun.


Dr. Yang: That was a turning point. It is so much fun.


Dr. Stafford: That's awesome. I know, I have those kids too that I remember before I went to pedo school that are just so cute. And you think, "Oh, yeah, this is what I want to do for my life."


Dr. Yang: Yes.


Dr. Stafford: And my career. Yeah, it makes it fun.


Dr. Yang: So fun.


Dr. Stafford: It's so fun. And every day, they say something that you're like... Mm-hmm (affirmative). Never ask a kid to guess your age. Ever. Because they will say something that's like, you're like, "Oh, no." Before I learned this lesson, asking they were like, "I don't know. How old are you? Like 65?" And I was like, "Oh, man!" And I think I was thirty at the time. And I was like, "Oh, kid, stab me in the heart."


Dr. Yang: Oh, man. So funny.


Dr. Stafford: But sometimes it goes the other way. How old do you think I am? What are you like 17? Oh, not quite, but I love you.


Dr. Yang: See, they're just such a loving...


Dr. Stafford: Yeah.


Dr. Yang: People.


Dr. Stafford: So much fun.


Dr. Yang: Yeah. So much.


Dr. Stafford: Well, we're excited for you to join the team.


Dr. Yang: I am beyond excited. Words cannot describe how excited I am.


Dr. Stafford: Going to be a great addition to our family here, and I... Would you like to share anything else about yourself, Michelle, before we wrap it up?


Dr. Yang: I am excited.


Dr. Stafford: Yay.


Dr. Yang: Yay.


Dr. Stafford: Hooray. Awesome. Well, again, this is Mixed Dentition today with Dr. Michelle Stafford and Dr. Michelle Yang. And please come in soon and meet our new Dr. Yang. Thanks for watching. Remember, fill the world with smiles.


Dr. Yang: Thank you.




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