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An Early First-hand Look at Dentistry Paid Dividends

Dr. Ashley Hoban, School of Dental Medicine Alumna of the Year, keeps kids smiling.

People  |  Oct 11, 2018  |  By Brian Sodoma
Ashley Hoban

Dr. Ashley Hoban says being allowed to shadow private practitioners was a key moment in her career. (Casey Jade Photography)

Editor's Note: 

As part of UNLV's Homecoming festivities, the UNLV Alumni Association will celebrate the accomplishments of graduates at its annual reception and awards ceremony Oct. 18. You can stream the awards ceremony live here.


Dr. Ashley Hoban (’09 DMD) is the founder of Summerlin Pediatric Dentistry. The School of Dental Medicine Alumna of the Year took on the sole ownership of the practice shortly after graduating from residency in 2011.

Tell us about a moment when someone showed you unexpected kindness. How do you pay it forward?

I have a great family friend, Dr. Ben Maze, who is also a dentist. He took me under his wing as soon as I decided I wanted to go to dental school. He would use his connections to allow me to shadow private practitioners early on while I was still applying to dental school.  He has been supportive and encouraging every step of the way. His guidance helped to cultivate my passion for dentistry and instilled a drive in me to help others. I strive to make him proud every day.

I try to pay this mentorship forward by encouraging anyone I know who is interested in health care to consider pediatric dentistry. Knowing first-hand what it’s like to be a student applying to dental school and looking for valuable experiences, I also allow students and residents to shadow in my office. This gives me the opportunity to hear from them one-on-one and learn about their hopes and dreams. And then I try to assure them that following their dreams and passions is the right thing to do.

Open Wide

Hoban opened her practice at a time when the local and national economy battled the headwinds of the Great Recession.

She returned to UNLV School of Dental Medicine in 2011 as an associate professor on a part-time faculty appointment. She provides lectures to pre- and post-doctoral dental students, leads shadowing opportunities that enable students to observe the real inner workings of a dental practice. She helps pediatric dental residents prepare for their written board exams and has volunteered during the Give Kids a Smile event, which is hosted at the school.

Hoban also serves on the board of directors for Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Southern Nevada and has dedicated her practice to improving dental care for all children, especially those with special health care needs. She earned Incisal Edge magazine’s 40 under 40 accolade in 2016, serves as the Nevada Trustee for the Western Society of Pediatric Dentistry, and was past president of the Nevada Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. She is board certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.