Elevating excellence and equity in dentistry through mentorship and inclusion strategies.
Unlocking potential and creating pathways to success for a brighter future in dentistry.
Dr. Laila Hishaw is a board-certified pediatric dentist and holds distinguished Fellowships in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry which places her in the elite company of less than 3% of pediatric dentists, and both the American and International College of Dentists. She is an owner of Tucson Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in Tucson, Arizona, founder of the national nonprofit, Diversity In Dentistry Mentorships, and alumna of the American Dental Association Institute for Diversity In Leadership. For two decades, she has been creating smiles and touching the lives of children from Southern Arizona to Barquisimeto, Venezuela. Her compassionate nature and clinical expertise have gained the respect of her colleagues to select her as Tucson’s Top Dentist™ featured in Tucson Lifestyle magazine every year since 2012. Nationally and in select markets around the world, she was recognized on Mystery Diagnosis (Discovery Health Channel) for her role in diagnosing a rare neurological disorder in one of her young patients.
Growing up as a competitive figure skater in Kansas City, Missouri, she decided to pursue a degree in Sports Medicine at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.
But as fate would have it, she followed in her father’s footsteps to become a dentist, attending the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Dentistry where she graduated with a Doctorate of Dental Surgery with Honors in Pediatric Dentistry.
Thereafter, Dr. Hishaw completed a two-year residency specializing in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center–San Antonio, one of the most respected programs in the country.
Dr. Hishaw enjoys every opportunity to serve in her community, furthering the public’s education on children’s oral health. She has given presentations to area health professionals, as well as lectures and presentations across the country to her fellow colleagues. Dr. Hishaw’s areas of expertise are laser frenectomies for newborns to aid in breastfeeding, and tooth whitening in children.
She has co-authored research articles on tooth whitening in professional dental journals worldwide. She plays an active leadership role in the Arizona Dental Association as a House Delegate for Southern Arizona. Dr. Hishaw served as Anesthesia Evaluator for the Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners, during which she helped determine if dentists demonstrated the knowledge and experience required to safely sedate patients in their dental office.
As a mother of three and an owner of multiple dental practices, work/life balance has been the proverbial challenge. As a contributing author of the Amazon Bestseller, Mommy Dentist in Business: Juggling Family and Life While Running a Business, Dr. Hishaw shared the lessons she learned to create balance by acknowledging the power of her village who provides the support she needs. By mentoring young female dentists, she hopes to inspire the next generation of powerful young ladies who wish to lead full careers and manage families to see themselves in her and not give up on their dreams.
Dr. Hishaw also believes representation matters and that children will want to emulate that which they see in their lives. She prides herself in serving as a role model to children and teens to nurture and bring up the next generation of leaders in our field. After discovering black dentists make up only 3.8 percent of all dentists in America, a spark was ignited in her to do all she could to change that statistic. Her passion has turned into her legacy project, Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, to educate both parents and caregivers of young people of color, with an emphasis on Black youth, of the rewarding benefits the profession of dentistry has to offer to them and their community. It is her goal to empower youth to explore dentistry early in life, setting them on the right educational path to be successful candidates for dental school and ultimately becoming valuable leaders in dentistry. To continue this movement, net proceeds from her Amazon-Bestseller, ‘CAVITY FREE KIDS: How to Care for Your Kids’ Teeth From Birth Through Their Teenage Years, go towards programming for Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships, Inc.
She is a proud member of many civic and community organizations:
- Jack and Jill of America, Inc- An organization of mothers dedicated for raising the next generation of African-American leaders while enhancing the lives of all children.
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.-The first intercollegiate historically African-American Sorority.
- M.A.R.I.A. Mothers Against Racism in America, Founding Board Member-A support group of mom micro-activists committed to dismantling racism through education, supporting those affected by racism, and striving for more diversity, inclusion, and social justice.
Cultivating her friendships keeps her both grounded and uplifted. Dr. Hishaw’s greatest joy is spending time with her husband, Dr. Alex Hishaw, an academic physician and researcher in neurology and their three children. As a family, they love traveling, playing video games, and are self-proclaimed #1 Star Wars Fans.