Townsend-area resident Dr. Paul Christian began his dental practice in Middletown in 1999. He recently was elected president of the Delaware State Dental Society, which is celebrating its 150th year. He and his wife, Joanne, also have served as foster parents to more than 30 children over the years.
Q What are your duties as president of the DSDS?
A The Delaware State Dental is the state's leading advocate for oral health. As president this year, I represent our 435 licensed dentists at official meetings of the American Dental Association, headquartered in Chicago. The ADA and the Delaware State Dental Society represent the profession in legislative questions in both Washington D.C. and Dover. Our society is also actively involved in providing for the underserved in Delaware. Each February, we sponsor a volunteer day known as "Give Kids A Smile." We have treated hundreds of children over the last 10 years.
Q You started your career in dentistry a little late in life, correct?
A I graduated from college with a degree in accounting, and took a job in downtown Baltimore for a few years. With the support of my wife, I decided to quit my job and become a dentist. I took a few courses at the local community college and then commuted to Temple for a year before moving to Philadelphia. I wanted to do something medical related, but not be a physician. And, I wanted to be "in-control" of my own business. I enjoy working with my hands, and I enjoy the one-on-one doctor/patient relationship still possible in dentistry today.
Q How did you and your wife become foster parents and what has that experience been like?
A We first investigated becoming foster parents in Philadelphia. My wife was the main force in us becoming involved. We knew we could provide this safe-haven, and we felt it was a need. Joanne and I have witnessed the worst and the best of "the system." We have hosted/fostered many special children, and have worked with dedicated social workers at the Delaware Department of Human Services. I believe we have been a source of stability and safety for the children who have come to us.