My name has always raised eyebrows. So distinctive. So mysterious. And also, a little funny sounding.
In English, “Nguyen Nguyen” is generally pronounced "Win Win”. In Vietnamese, it is more complex. The Vietnamese language has 6 intonations, resulting in words being spelled the same but having different pronunciations and meanings. A trained ear can hear the subtle differences. For example, the word "ma", can be pronounced 6 different ways with 6 different meanings. Those two simple letters together can mean “mother”, “horse”, “ghost”, “but”, “grave”, and “rice seed”. As you can imagine, mixing up the intonations can get you in trouble, especially if you accidentally call your mother a horse.
My first and last names may be spelled the same, but with the intonations, they are different words with different meanings. My first name has a deeper inflection, and means "a wish". My last name has a more wave like, musical tone. It comes from centuries of kings and wars. Those feuding lords make an episode of “Game of Thrones” seem tame. During the ancient times, people changed their last names to “Nguyen” to either avoid prosecution or to gain power. This caused the name to multiply, resulting in an estimated 40% of Vietnamese people sharing this name today.
Almost 30 years ago, I came to the United States as an orphaned child. My parents sent my brother and me on a sardine like boat to escape war-torn Viet Nam. We lived with 6 other rowdy orphans in a small sponsor family home. They wanted to make our names easier to pronounce. So they thought long and hard about what best to brand us. My brother was called "Tom". I was called "Jerry". "Tom and Jerry". If "Nguyen Nguyen" is weird, being named after a violent cartoon cat and mouse duo cannot be much better. Needless to say, I kept my uniquely memorable name instead.
“Why Nguyen Nguyen? Why do my patients choose me as their dentist?
My patients trust me. Because of my diverse background, I enjoy relating to people on a personal level and getting to know their family and history. My patients are confident that I only have their best interest in mind. They appreciate that I am their partner in great dental care. I am an educational resource, an advocate for not only my patient’s smile but also their overall health. I am a dental nerd. I keep ahead of all the dental technology, enjoying long hours of advanced dental education. I am proud of my surgery skills, and my patients are assured that they are in the best hands. They love that I strive to be mindful of their wishes and will protect them from experiencing unnecessary pain.