Dr. Dana Truesdale, owner of Innovation Dental Center, serves others inside and out of her dentistry practice. Truesdale’s patients come to Bolton Hill and Harbor East in Baltimore to receive a plethora of procedures ranging from preventative to cosmetic dentistry, but Truesdale’s inspirational journey begins just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana in a small town called Vacherie.
“I was 12 years old when I decided that I wanted to be a dentist. It was because I had a great relationship with my dentist,” Truesdale said.
She felt that becoming a dentist was something that she could achieve despite not seeing a Black dentist at that time. The comprehensive dentistry practitioner and mother of two eventually earned her doctorate of Dental Surgery degree from Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry located in Nashville, Tennessee. Truesdale has been a dentist for 20 years.
“I know how I felt when my smile was corrected. I used to have perfect teeth on bottom and spaces on top and so I know how it changed my life to make a difference. I wasn’t getting teased anymore, and just feeling gratitude, I wanted to be able to reproduce that for other people. I got into it (dentistry) because of the way it made people feel when the work was done. To this day it is still gratifying to me,” Truesdale said.
The dentist who creates new smiles is a Major in the U.S. Army National Guard. She takes time to mentor others one-on-one when opportunities arise. While serving in the U.S. Army National Guard, Truesdale was deployed to Afghanistan in 2018. She provided dental care after patients experienced trauma.
When Truesdale is out of uniform, she still retains parents’ teachings of giving back. She has been volunteering since she was a teenager.
“I grew up in the church. My mother (Claudette Aubert) was a pastor. At the time she was not, but my father (Elton Aubert) was in politics. He’s been elected an official for 24 years. I had to do a lot of community service because of them,” Truesdale said, reflecting on her family’s giving legacy.
Truesdale added that her parents host a food pantry.
“ I still go home to help with the food pantry in Louisiana several times a year,” she explained.
Truesdale continued her community service through being a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and even Meharry.
“I’ve never stopped. I’ve always found a way to serve in some capacity,” Truesdale explained.
Truesdale’s helping spirit has extended to individuals in the Baltimore area. She recently hosted a group of 40 young mentees who came to her dental practice to take a tour, discuss entrepreneurship and her journey.
“They like me, a lot of times, have never seen a female dentist, let alone a Black female. That was very important that they saw me,” Truesdale said.
She added that she once taught some of the young ladies who visited her in children’s church. Years ago, the dentist served as a youth minister.
“Now they’re growing up and they’re all going to college. They belong to a group in the church called Queens in Transition,” she added.
Dr. Michael Freeman of Spirit of Faith Christian Center is Truesdale’s pastor. His wife is DeeDee Freeman. Truesdale said that Pastor Freeman donates financial dentistry assistance to individuals in need every year. Truesdale performs dental work herself and usually matches Pastor Freeman’s donation.
Truesdale attends patient’s basketball games and takes time to mentor future dentists. She also believes in connecting people to each other and providing resources.
“I’m building my own community, meaning if you know that you have support, you do better. When somebody’s watching, you move a little better, right? So, I just need to let them know that ‘Hey, I see you,’” Truesdale said, referring to her mentees.
The skilled dentist knows what it takes to rise above obstacles. Truesdale explained that she experienced being on welfare and getting pregnant before dental school.
“It was the darkest time of my life, but it was the most humbling time in my life,” Truesdale said.
She reminded that helping just one person by giving back can be impactful.
“You’re never too busy to help one person because you never know how you can impact the trajectory of that person’s life, even if it’s just a word that you offer,” she said.
Please visit www.innovationdentalbaltimore.com to learn more about Innovation Dental Center.