Dr. Amanda Hoffmeister is not only a dentist — she also has a passion for promoting eco-friendly dentistry and educating people online.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, Amanda came from a medical family. She naturally gravitated towards science and a career in healthcare.
Amanda was 14 when she first knew she wanted to be a dentist. Growing up, her family’s dentist happened to also be her best friend’s father. Amanda and her best friend always joked that they would grow up to be dentists together, and here she is today, an accomplished pediatric dentist.
Amanda completed a 3+3 program — three years of undergraduate studies and then three years of dental school to earn her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree — at the University of the Pacific.
She completed a two-year pediatric dentistry residency and now works in a private practice dental office as a pediatric dentist. She has been a dentist for almost 10 years.
Amanda was drawn to working with children since she had prior experience in settings like camps and babysitting. As a dentist, she adores educating kids about their oral health and helping them to establish healthy habits.
Amanda’s favorite thing about her job is definitely her patients. She loves when her young patients tell her that they are excited to go to the dentist. It is common for kids to be nervous to go to the dentist, and Amanda aims to ensure that all of her patients have a comfortable experience.
There is one patient Amanda remembers who first came into the office when she was 6. She was nervous about going to the dentist, hiding behind her mom and afraid to let Amanda work on her teeth.
Amanda took extra steps to work with the girl and her mother to ensure that she was comfortable.
“We had her come in before we even started to do any [dental] work on her,” Amanda says. “She started to get to know us at our office and it was really beautiful to see how she eventually would walk in by herself.”
Amanda slowly introduced the tools she would be using and her young patient was able to get through her visit and have her cavity filled.
“She was so brave, and she still sees me [currently],” Amanda says. “Whenever she comes in now, she is so excited. She gives me a hug, and it’s just so cute that she’s now comfortable at the dentist. It makes our job so worth it.”
When she is not in the office, Amanda volunteers her time teaching at the Dugoni School of Dentistry at the University of the Pacific, specifically in its pediatrics clinic.
Amanda works with dental students who are learning dentistry for the first time. She also teaches these students about sustainable dental practices, a topic she is very passionate about.
Last year, one of the students started a sustainable dentist club and asked Amanda to speak. Then, other schools in California started to reach out to her as well about speaking at their clubs.
Education is a huge part of why Amanda started her Instagram page: to help parents at home with their children’s oral health when they are not in the dentist office.
“It’s a fun way to continue educating my patients and parents outside of the time that they are in for their one to two dental visits for the year,” she says.
Like many content creators, Amanda started building her social media presence in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when dentists were seeing very few patients.
“I was like, ‘How can I still help people?’” she says.
She discovered that there was a welcoming dental community online and she began posting educational content.
Amanda is interested in sustainable living and applying this to dentistry. She found that there was not much information online about sustainability in dentistry, and she wants to change that.
Her page started as a way for her to accumulate research she was doing to present to her boss to start incorporating sustainable practices at their office.
Now, the page has evolved to a place where she can educate parents and patients and inform the dental community about sustainability efforts within dentistry. She is approaching two years since she first started her page, and she has almost 4,000 followers.
She promotes sustainable oral hygiene practices — like using a biodegradable toothbrush rather than plastic — at her office and on her social media.
Amanda enjoys talking to patients about these sustainable options and hopes to see a shift to more eco-friendly dentistry in the future.
Amanda’s two easiest tips for having more eco-friendly dental habits include:
- Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth.
- Switch to a bamboo toothbrush rather than plastic, as bamboo is biodegradable and compostable.
Although Amanda is completely qualified as a dentist, she often still receives comments like, “Are you old enough to be a dentist?” or “We only want to see a male dentist.”
“Women came before me that allowed the path to be open to me [to go] to dental school, so then it was surprising when I got into dentistry, there was still sexism and ageism,” Amanda says.
Amanda has had great female mentors that have helped her overcome these obstacles and shift her perspective.
One of them has told her to remember that as a pediatric dentist, she is the patients’ advocate. It is her job to ensure that they are comfortable and receiving the care they need, even if it means that the patients’ parents do not want a young, female dentist treating their child because of their own biases.
“That’s also why I like teaching, so I can be there for people who may feel like they are in a similar situation, so I can pass that wisdom down, too,” she says.
Amanda has been able to use her dental skills and knowledge outside of her typical office setting and participate in philanthropic events.
She has volunteered with the California Dental Association (CDA) for CDA Cares, a program that allows volunteer dentists to open up grounds for free dental care to anyone who needs it throughout California.
“That’s where my heart is — just helping people,” Amanda says. “That’s why I went into dentistry, so getting to help other people outside of my daily practice is so rewarding.”
In the next few years, Amanda hopes to become a mother. She will continue to practice dentistry and help her patients, “one mouth at a time,” she says. Amanda also hopes to keep spreading information about sustainable dentistry and possibly write a book about these practices in the future.
“As a working professional, I think there’s so many different hats you can wear,” she says. “For me personally, I find that my biggest ones are being a dentist and being an educator.”