Skip to content

205: Interview with board-certified pediatric dentist & founder of Diversity In Dentistry Mentorships, Dr. Laila Hishaw

Hishaw headshot 2021

Dr. Laila Hishaw is a thought leader and change agent for diversity in dentistry, and authority in children’s oral health. After earning her dental degree with honors in Pediatric Dentistry from UMKC School of Dentistry, she specialized in pediatric dentistry at UT Health—San Antonio.  She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.  Hishaw’s demonstration of professionalism, leadership, and service to others has been recognized by two prestigious honorary dental societies, the American College of Dentists,  and the  International Colleges of Dentists. She currently serves on the ADA Task Force to Eliminate Barriers for Underrepresented Minorities into the Dental Profession and volunteers on the Board of Directors for Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation and the Arizona Dental Foundation.  She is an alumna of the ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership.  

Dr. Hishaw is the founding partner of Tucson Smiles Pediatric Dentistry and was featured on Discovery Health Channel for her role in diagnosing a rare disorder in her patient. Her book, Cavity Free Kids: How to Care for Your Kids’ Teeth from Birth Through Their Teenage Years, is an Amazon bestseller.  She is a national speaker on pediatric dentistry, DEI and belonging, and topics relevant to women in healthcare.  She has been published in Thrive Global, the Journal of Dental Education, Incisal Edge, Spear Digest, and the ADA News with multiple interviews on podcasts and panel discussions worldwide.

In 2018, Dr. Hishaw founded the national nonprofit, Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships Inc. to encourage Black and other students from historically underrepresented groups to consider careers in dentistry through mentoring from middle school to dental school. The organization has been featured in Yahoo! Finance, Black Enterprise, and The ADA News.

As a wife, mother of three, dentist, and social entrepreneur, Dr. Hishaw is passionate about sharing her tools and experiences to aid her colleagues and emerging leaders in dentistry toward success in every aspect of their lives.  She lives in Tucson, Arizona with her family and her rescue pets, Stormie & Miles.  For more information on her passion projects, please visit

Join the Hive to Earn CE

Our self-study courses offer the opportunity to earn continuing education credit by listening to specific episodes of our podcast, and then taking an online quiz for certification. 

Episodes You May Enjoy

Dr. Grace Yum has quietly become one of the highest-profile pediatric dentists in Chicago and beyond.

She is in a small pool of less than 5% of all dentists who become certified in pediatrics. She also founded and built Yummy Dental and Orthodontics for Kids into a leader in its category. In this Podcast, Dr. Yum shares pearls of wisdom based on her experience that are designed to help moms be successful in their medical careers and in their lives more broadly. She interviews a rotating cast of experts who give invaluable advice from a variety of perspectives: fashion stylists, lawyers, CEOs, nutritionists, skincare experts, parenting experts and more. Along the way, Dr. Yum shares the secrets to her success in balancing motherhood and her growing business interests in dental, real estate and beyond. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn Radio or iHeartRadio as well as follow MDIB on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel to get all the latest updates on future episodes!