Dentist Jessica Miskavige: ‘I always want to make patients feel welcomed’
Dentist Jessica Miskavige knows the importance of quality dental care – and how to keep patients smiling.
It’s what attracted Dr. Miskavige to Western Sierra Medical Clinic, the second Federally Qualified Health Center where she has practiced.
“I like the impact you can have on the community,” she says of clinics like Western Sierra that ensure residents – regardless of their income or insurance – have access to much-needed health services such as dentistry.
Dr. Miskavige joined Western Sierra in April 2022, moving after four years at an FQHC in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
The decision to move was based largely on one thing: “My family loves to ski.”
Now, Dr. Miskavige lives in the Truckee area with her husband, a physician, and their three young children.
“We wanted some mountains somewhere,” says Dr. Miskavidge, who grew up in North Dakota. “It kind of fell into place perfectly.”
Dr. Miskavige can embrace her profession and enjoy her outdoor passions while practicing at Western Sierra. She is one of three dentists based in the Grass Valley clinic.
“That was one of the things that appealed to me” about Western Sierra, she says. “We have so many providers.”
Dr. Miskavidge works closely with her colleagues, including primary-care providers. She often educates patients that health care issues must be addressed, whether it’s dental work or the need to visit a primary-care provider. For example, a cavity that is ignored can become a much-larger health issue.
“Education can be very impactful,” she says.
But making a connection with patients – and quite often their parents – can be difficult. Compassion and understanding goes a long way.
“I listen to their concerns and treat them like a family member,” she says. “I always want to make them feel respected.”
Of course, many of her patients are focused more on the obvious – the visit to the dentist.
“My heart really goes out to the kids,” says Dr. Miskavige, who treats mostly children at Western Sierra. “I always want to make patients feel welcomed … and comfortable in the dental chair.”
Dr. Miskavige always had an interest in health care and was pre-med, earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology. But the “creative aspect combined with science” attracted her to dentistry.
“I wanted to do something procedurally based,” says Dr. Miskavige, who earned her Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 2018.
Soon after, she joined Spectra Health, the FQHC in Grand Forks, N.D. Plenty of cold and some snow, but the lack of nearby mountains for downhill skiing made her family look at moving to the Tahoe region.
In addition to downhill skiing, she enjoys hiking, running and cooking.