Dana S. Greenwald

Not long before Dana Greenwald graduated from dental school, it hit her. “I realized I didn’t enjoy working with adults, but I loved working with kids,” says Greenwald, who has practiced for 22 years, the past 20 of them in Friendship Heights in Northwest Washington, D.C. “The rewards are just so much greater.”

Young patients might run up and hug her leg or send her drawings that show they’re thinking about her. “I know I’m not going to get that from a 38-year-old,” says Greenwald, whose patients call her Dr. Dana. And adults aren’t going to have their fingernails painted or their arms (temporarily) tattooed when they go to the dentist as her patients do.

There are special challenges in caring for children, of course. “Sometimes kids aren’t able to articulate what they’re afraid of,” Greenwald says. She wins their trust with the “tell, show, do” approach: “You tell them what you’re going to do in very simple terms.”

Amy Nadel’s daughters, 15-year-old Lucy and 12-year-old Molly Smith, have been going to Dr. Dana since their first dental checkups. “She handles each visit with a wonderful sense of humor and does a great job of putting her patients at ease,” says Nadel, a Bethesda resident.

Nadel recalls that when Molly was little, she insisted on sitting on her mom’s lap for checkups, but Greenwald’s staff stopped the practice “in a firm but friendly way.” The fact that Molly doesn’t dread visiting the dentist, her mother says, “speaks volumes about Dr. Dana and her staff.”

5225 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite 604, Washington, D.C., 202-966-0045, www.pediatricdentaldc.com

Other Top Vote Getters: Amy Light (Morgenstein & Levy PA), Ricardo Perez (Orlando Pediatric Dental Care), Roya Pilcher