When Dr. Craig was studying as an undergraduate at Pacific Lutheran University, she sat down with a spreadsheet and mapped out what she would like her life to look like in the future. At the time, she was majoring in economics and considering medical school. She determined that she loved being involved in people’s everyday lives and working with her hands.
“While I could have ended up in a biotech lab or as an economist, something would have always been missing,” shares Dr. Craig. She decided to explore the career of dentistry. Her grandmother had a close friend who was a dentist in the neighboring town of Tenino. A Centralia resident for more than 20 years, Irene Hunter was happy to offer Maureen Craig a part-time position as a dental assistant in her general dentistry practice. Hunter also knew Maureen as a student of her husband’s at W.F. West High School in Chehalis. Craig worked as an assistant and found that she loved dentistry and working with families.
“She is a very smart woman and picked up the skills very quickly,” says Hunter. “She was a joy to have in the office.”
Dr. Craig enrolled in dental school at the University of Washington and graduated in 2011. She completed advanced education in general dentistry and returned to her roots in Lewis County. Irene was thrilled to welcome her back to her practice in Tenino, this time as a fully accredited dentist. Dr. Craig loved general dentistry and became very involved in the dental community while working in Tenino. She especially enjoyed her work with the Thurston County Oral Health Coalition (TCOHC). The coalition is a partnership between dentists, community agencies, private citizens and the health departments in Thurston, Lewis and Mason counties. During Dr. Craig’s time at the TCOHC, the partners worked together to improve dental care for the area’s children. They had determined that a program providing sealants at school could be very effective at improving oral health. The coalition was also working on solutions to improve the oral health of pregnant woman.
Dr. Craig loved her practice and the interaction with the student population through her work at TCOHC. “I realized that the cases that I enjoyed the most each day involved the kids,” she states. It was at that point that she made the decision to return to the University of Washington to complete a pediatric dental residency. Maureen’s parents, only half joking, wondered if she would ever actually make any money working as a dentist. Returning to school was a significant sacrifice in both time and money, but she has no regrets.
Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry is growing and looking forward to welcoming Dr. Maureen Craig to their team of pediatric dentists this summer. Dr. Craig is currently completing her residency in pediatric dentistry at the University of Washington and will be moving to Olympia this month. She joins three pediatric dentists and a talented dental team specializing in dental care for children.
While Craig has enjoyed her time in Seattle, she is eager to return to the South Sound. “Olympia is a really great town,” she says. When she met with the partners at Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry, she knew that she had found the place she wanted to stay.
“There is a great group of people that are always striving to do their best,” says Dr. Craig about Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry. “I can learn so much from doctors Rowley, Ruder and Shavron, they are truly masters in pediatric dentistry.” The impact that Small to Tall Dentistry has on the community outside of their dental practice really made an impression on Craig. “Maureen’s interest in community involvement will mesh well with the philanthropy that the Small to Tall team already shares with the community,” explains Dr. Rowley.
In addition to participating in dental-related community events, Small to Tall supports dozens of organizations including, the Hands On Children’s Museum, Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County, South Sound Reading Foundation and local schools.
Dr. Craig hopes that her experiences around Washington can help the practice even further utilize the resources available to patients and their families, including those at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Ben Ruder met Dr. Craig several years ago when they served on the board of the dental society together. “Dr. Craig exhibited an energy and desire to engage the community and improve oral health for those with less access to dental care,” Dr. Ruder shares. “These are attributes that I also share and found admirable. I know she will be a great fit and we are thrilled to have her join us.”
Dr. Craig is looking forward to meeting people in the local area. She enjoys running in local 5K races, most recently participating in the Capital City Marathon five-mile run. “I love the Pacific Northwest and try to spend as much time as possible outdoors,” says Dr. Craig. “Hiking and backpacking in such a beautiful place is refreshing to my spirit.”
For more information on Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry or to make an appointment call 360-459-5885 or visit their website.