This blog post is dedicated to getting to know more about Dr. Essenmacher!
Dr. E, tell us a little about yourself and your family?
I’ve been here in NM for 16 years and I can’t imagine living anywhere else! My husband Jesse and I have two small children – a 4-year old boy and a 2-year old girl – and they keep us very busy when I’m not at the office. We love getting out and enjoying all the family-friendly activities in Albuquerque like Explora, the Botanical Gardens, or just taking a walk to the park. We also love to cook, and actually our last name means “food maker” in German! My husband is the expert at the savory dishes and I like to make dessert!
How did you become interested in dentistry?
When I was a child and young adult, I didn’t have very good experiences at the dentist or the doctor’s office. Most of my providers were cold and seemed to be in a rush. I didn’t consider dentistry as a career at all until I was in college and had one medical provider who really turned around my thinking with her compassion, gentleness and interest in me as a person. I researched the different options in medicine and finally settled on dentistry. I was attracted to the artistry factor of creating a beautiful smile. I also liked that I could provide the type of compassionate environment that I missed out on as a kid, while also developing relationships with my patients that can last for decades.
Where did you go to dental school, and what have you been doing since then?
I went to dental school in San Francisco at the University of the Pacific. It was a great school and a wonderful experience to be able to live in the Bay Area. But my husband and I missed New Mexico! So after dental school we came back to Albuquerque and completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency at UNM. During that time, I was able to receive training in implant placements, sedation dentistry, and other surgical procedures. After that, I worked in public health for a couple years in Tierra Amarilla, NM. Then in 2015 I purchased my practice from another dentist, Mark Walker, who was moving out of state.
What is the most common misconception about dentistry that you encounter in your office?
The most common misconception is: If my teeth don’t hurt, I don’t need to see a dentist (or I don’t need to make it a priority to see a dentist). The problem with that thinking is that a small cavity is not noticeable to most people, and neither is gum disease until it gets to be severe. By the time a tooth hurts, the problem is almost always advanced and requires more extensive treatment. So having regular exams and cleanings and treating the problems while they are small will help prevent more costly and time consuming treatments later on.
What are some reasons a person won’t go to the dentist?
One of the biggest ones is fear. We hear from patients that they had bad experiences in the past and that keeps them from going to the dentist again and they live with discomfort, broken teeth and other dental issues. Dental anxiety is a very common issue, so it’s something that our staff is trained to handle. We listen in an accepting and non-judgmental way and help patients become comfortable by going about treatment at an easy pace and giving them a sense of control.