It has been a blast working with Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry since we launched, and they have been a true resource to our audience by taking some of the guesswork out of children’s dental health. (And let’s be honest… by saying our kids can still have gummies if we promise to brush.) We loved sharing what to expect at your child’s first dental visit, but now we get to share who to expect at your child’s first dental visit. The more we’ve gotten to know Dr. Jeff, the more we’ve enjoyed recommending his practice to our readers. Birmingham Moms Blog community, meet Dr. Jeff Flannery.
At the end of high school and through most of college, Dr. Jeff was planning to be a heart surgeon. The career always fascinated him, and he was able to work in an operating room his senior year of college. That’s where he realized the schedule and lifestyle of the average heart surgeon didn’t align with one of his very important goals: to be a family man. Dr. Jeff and his wife Ellen were engaged at the time, and they got married shortly after graduation. Instead of going to medical school like he’d planned, Dr. Jeff took a detour that included teaching, coaching football, and working in an orphanage before deciding on a career path.
Dr. Jeff played football at Briarwood High School and then Samford University, and he was offered a coaching position at Briarwood once he had his degree. He was a Spanish teacher and football coach there for three years while Ellen worked as a nurse, but he always had healthcare in the back of his mind. It was when he and Ellen took a year to work as missionaries that he realized pediatric dentistry was something he wanted to pursue.
Since he spoke Spanish and she was a nurse, Dr. Jeff and Ellen joined Mission to the World where they worked in an orphanage for a full year. The two were “mom and dad” to the ten youngest residents, taking care of them from the time they woke up until they went to bed at night. It was during this time that Dr. Jeff realized just how much he loved being around kids. This was also when he saw the difference healthcare could make in their lives. A group of dentists visited to treat those living in the orphanage, and Dr. Jeff witnessed several children’s personalities change from one day to the next when dental pain was eased. It was apparent that dental health was a game changer for these kids, and that’s when Dr. Jeff knew he wanted to pursue pediatric dentistry.
Upon returning from Mexico, Dr. Jeff was accepted into the dental program at the University of Southern California (USC). He and Ellen moved to Pasadena where they started a family while Dr. Jeff was in school. He became a dad, earned his degree, and graduated at the top of his class while in California. After graduating Magna Cum Laude, Dr. Jeff was inducted into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon national dental honor society. From there, he completed his 2-year residency in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Dr. Jeff knew he wanted to be back on his home turf when he opened his practice, so he and Ellen chose to settle in Birmingham. When designing Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Jeff wanted it to be calm and beautiful. There is an amazing area for kids to play while they wait, and the open door policy puts kids and their parents at ease. When you see the space, you can’t help but notice it was designed with intention.
At the end of my interview with Dr. Jeff, I asked him for the big closer, the explanation of why he does what he does. “I love the challenge. I was an athlete growing up, and I was told many times I had ice in my veins. I love the challenge medically, but I also love the challenge of making sure kids who come in scared leave happy.”
Fun Facts about Dr. Jeff Flannery
- He’s fluent in Spanish, and one reason he chose USC was the opportunity to work with the Latino community of Los Angeles.
- He and his wife Ellen homeschool their five children.
- His favorite place to be is the outdoors – hiking, biking, or snow skiing.
- He’s a member of Briarwood Presbyterian Church and serves as a deacon.
- His daughters dance ballet with Briarwood.
- He and his family love going out for big breakfasts.
- He’s huge on tradition.
- He loves that his dental practice allows him to guard family time.
“I love the challenge medically, but I also love that it’s my job to make sure kids who come in scared leave happy.”