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Article Title Will Go Here Dr. Meg Shares Her Story of Falling in Love With Dentistry F I have always known that up all the expertise I could from Michael’s dad, Dr. Sumner Ling. I was learning from a highly respected dentist with 30 years of dental experience and knowledge, and Sumner even paid me for my help. This went a long way in paying back the loans I had to take out for schooling. I am forever grateful for Michael’s family. They were so amazing to me, even going so far as to let me stay with them each summer.
I wanted a big family. In fact, when I was asked to write a little blurb about my experience in dental school upon graduation, I wrote, “Thanks to my fiance,
Michael, who I’m going to have six kids with someday.” A few years and five kids later, my friends often tease me that I’m one away from my goal! (Side note: I love a good joke, so sometimes I tell people that we named one of our boys Phil. Some people believe me, and I can’t help but laugh. Can you imagine two dentists having a child named Phil Ling! Say it out loud, and you’ll get it.) I grew up in a super large family in Newfoundland. Even when money was tight, our family was still close. I had a younger sister whose developmental disability caused her to struggle with her dexterity, and because of this, she suffered from oral hygiene and dental health issues. I saw how my parents worked so hard to take care of her, and that ultimately lit a spark in me. I wanted to help families with disabilities, and dental school seemed like the perfect route for me. There’s no dental school in Newfoundland, so I found myself packing up my life and moving to Toronto, far, far away from any family. Luckily, I would soon create my own. I met my husband, Dr. Michael Ling, at dental school, and we would spend our summers in Brantford helping Michael’s father at his dental practice. Michael had grown up in his father’s practice, and his entire life was essentially a mentorship on dental work. So, while he was enjoying adventures with friends each summer, I was soaking
Early on, I always knew that I enjoyed specialty dentistry. I loved working with kids, older adults, and those with disabilities, and I always felt a strong connection to these patients. I understand how hard dental care can be for people with disabilities and how that burden can weigh on caregivers, along with the dozens of other concerns they have to manage. At the end of the day, I’ve learned that whether it’s a happy kid, an 87-year-old grandma, or a 20-something adult with autism, listening to the concerns of the patient, their caregiver, or their parents is one of the biggest pieces to helping our patients find relief and care. I love my job. To this day, I never think of it as “going to work.” In fact, at the time of writing this, I was fortunate enough to go back to work when my youngest child was just a few weeks old. I just love dentistry that much, and I care for my patients as if they were my own family. I affectionately call my younger patients “Dr. Meg’s kids,” and I have so many stories that always make me smile. One that still cracks me up is the 7-year-old who said, “I like you Dr. Meg, but it’s not my jam,” when I asked them if they had considered a career in dentistry. How does a 7-year-old come up with that!? This is just one of the many, many stories dentistry has given me, and I’m forever grateful that I have an opportunity to do something I love every day.
—Dr. Meg Ling
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