Natalia Lamonaca

As a small child, I always wanted to become a dentist. My parents provided me with dental tools so my days were spent playing pretend dentistry in my dolls' mouths.

Aug 1st, 2012
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Natalia Lamonaca, RDH, MDH
Atlanta, Georgia

Cover photography by Thomas Fahey

As a student: As a small child, I always wanted to become a dentist. My parents provided me with dental tools so my days were spent playing pretend dentistry in my dolls' mouths. I enrolled at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah in dental hygiene education program in 1992, mainly as a pre-dental study. After completing the program (in 1994), my true passion evolved: dental hygiene.

Daily support: The single most important person in my life is my darling husband of six years, Franco Lamonaca. He has been my rock. I was diagnosed with recurrent stage 3 malignant melanoma on the right side of the neck, which resulted in me having radical neck dissection surgery in January 2010. The surgery excised 37 lymph nodes in my neck, compromising my right arm's strength, flexibility, and mobility. Franco took excellent care of me through the healing months. He also encouraged me to complete graduate school and obtain my master of dental hygiene degree from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

About me: Health and fitness have always been key elements in my life. Within the last three years, I have been working on improving my running. I've run the 2011 New York marathon, five half marathons, several 10k's and a handful of 5k's.

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