Dr. Carlen Palmer Blume of Blume Pediatric Dentistry continues caring for San Antonio’s kids with cutting-edge technology, ever-expanding education and motherly compassion.
The setting Texas sun cast a warm, golden glow onto Dr. Carlen Palmer Blume’s pediatric dental practice. Though it was the evening and all other staff had left, there was Dr. Blume steadily working on the tasks of tomorrow to forge a brighter future for her patients and staff. As the practice owner, she could leave promptly, but rather than let tomorrow stay ahead of her, Dr. Blume exemplifies leadership by putting others before herself. It’s this dedication to her craft, passion for her patients, and overall zeal for continually growing that defines both her, her practice and staff.
While she was born in Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, Dr. Blume’s parents hail from Gaffney, South Carolina, and she too has personally always considered that her home base, despite her many moves. As fate would have it, her father’s job brought Dr. Blume to Texas.
“Kids let you love them and sometimes they even love you back!” -Dr. Carlen Palmer Blume
“My dad worked for General Motors for 37 years, so we moved a lot. Once we settled in Humble, Texas, we stayed there so I could complete middle school and high school,” Dr. Blume recalled.
Whether by osmosis or coincidence, Dr. Blume herself was, and is, true to the town’s name, humble. Despite having an impressive list of accolades and admirable distinctions, Dr. Blume remains approachable, comforting and inspiring. Though dentistry wasn’t always her primary goal.
“In high school, I loved to dance and really wanted to be a dancer on Broadway! Originally, I was accepted into the business school at University of Texas hoping to get a degree in marketing. Actually, I wanted to still use my love for art and design things and market them myself,” Dr. Blume shared with a warm smile.
That class made me realize that medicine was the path for me, it was just about figuring out which part” -Dr. Carlen Palmer Blume
While she undoubtedly could have been successful given her perseverance, the dentist-to- be’s mother advised her to study a field that would be practical and yield better results in the long-term. During this same period, Dr. Blume was taking an anatomy and physiology course at Humble High School, and through this she learned about herself and the path she should take.
“We did things like dissect pigs and cats, and I thought I would hate it. In fact, I was enthralled by it. That class made me realize that medicine was the path for me, it was just about figuring out which part,” Dr. Blume recounted.
Yet the question remained, what path would she take? Cardiology? Internal Medicine? Orthodontics?
The decision was actually fairly simple. Dr. Blume had had her share of oral surgeries and four years of braces that prodded her to ask more questions about dentistry and solidify her intent to specialize in her future profession. Indeed, Dr. Blume expressed that she felt she could employ her own experiences as a beginning to communication and as a guide.
“I began working for my orthodontist during the summer and changed my major at the University of Texas,” Dr. Blume shared proudly.
After graduating with honors from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and minor in zoology, Dr. Blume went on to complete dental school, graduating in 1999 from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio with her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and cum laude honors. While in dental school, Dr. Blume joined the U.S. Navy, propelling her to the rank of Lieutenant upon graduation.
“The Navy is actually quite advanced when it comes to following recommendations, guidelines and documentation…Now I use those skills to keep up with the changes in policy and guidelines as it pertains to taking care of patients and documentation” -Dr. Carlen Palmer Blume of Blume Pediatric Dentistry
The program Dr. Blume was a part of was a special program, unlike typical scholarships, where enrollees were paid akin to enlisted members with bonuses for notable academic achievements, like making the dean’s list. Following dental school, then-Lieutenant Blume attended Officer Indoctrination School (OIS).
“It’s baby boot camp, but it was hard enough for me! When my husband, a Marine, makes fun of me, I tell him things that are hard for us are only relative to our own experience!” Dr. Blume shared jokingly.
While in San Diego, Dr. Blume completed her first residency in Advanced Education in General Dentistry with the Navy. For seven years, from 1999 to 2006, Dr. Blume served in the Navy, and it was during her service that she treated and met her future husband of 15 years, Don Blume. Her husband Don, then a Marine Corps flight student, was actually a patient of then-Lieutenant Blume; today Commander Don Blume is a flight instructor in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
After seven years of service, Dr. Blume separated from the Navy at the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Though it has been some years since her service, she strongly feels that her time in the Navy has had an influence on how she manages her practice and is able to interact in the realm of organized dentistry.
“The Navy is actually quite advanced when it comes to following recommendations, guidelines and documentation…Now I use those skills to keep up with the changes in policy and guidelines as it pertains to taking care of patients and documentation. It has also helped me participate in organized dentistry!” Dr. Blume explained.
Currently, Dr. Blume serves as the Legislative Committee Chair and Immediate Past President of the Texas Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. In her roles, she has had the opportunity and responsibility to speak with state senators and representatives about issues regarding the oral health of kids in Texas. Through her work in organized dentistry, Dr. Blume is able to stay current and consult groups like the Health and Human Services Commission, among other specialties.
“We are trained to give full-picture, oral health advice…Kids allow us to treat them as a whole person” -Dr. Carlen Palmer Blume
Following her service in the Navy, Dr. Blume worked as an associate dentist and completed her second residency in Pediatric Dentistry though the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 2010. Indeed, Dr. Blume’s inherent interest in psychology drove her specialization.
“We are trained to give full-picture, oral health advice. We aren’t just looking at whether or not you have cavities, we are looking at your care, habits, diet gum health, and the health of all the other structures in and around the mouth. Kids allow us to treat them as a whole person,” Dr. Blume shared.
Coupled with this comes the relationships. Naturally, treating children can be potentially be difficult, as with any patient, but dentists like Dr. Blume focus on building a trusting relationship with their patients that leads to years of growing with one another, akin to a second family. From convincing children to join sports programs, to encourage healthy activities, to mentoring children to dream and strive for grander achievements than they may have ever thought of, Dr. Blume’s patients are close and dear to her.
“I just love to hear about their stories, hobbies and school, among other things. We get to sing songs together and I really get to help them learn about being healthy. Kids let you love them and sometimes they even love you back!” Dr. Blume said with a warm smile.
The safety and overall health of her patients is the key focus of Dr. Blume. Indeed, the practice’s mission statement espouses her goal to “provide excellent and informative care to our patients and their families.” Utilizing state-of- the-art tools and incorporating technology, Blume Pediatric Dentistry is able to offer patients exceptional service with easy, contemporary, digital communication methods.
The practice is able to offer white crowns and fillings, in addition to more traditional choices, as well as the fastest-speed digital film available to minimize patients’ exposure to radiation, coupled with the most appropriate shielding agent for patients.
Alongside this, Dr. Blume employs the Isolite tool. The Isolite allows Dr. Blume to reduce the amount of local anesthetic needed to complete a procedure, and it simultaneously grants the ability to work on half the mouth at a time, rather than limit the treatment to quadrants. The Isolite grants improved visibility, which naturally improves the quality of care, while also reducing patients’ gagging.
With cutting-edge technology, abundant compassion and an admirable list of accolades, Dr. Blume is undoubtedly one of the finest pediatric dentist in San Antonio. Indeed, Dr. Blume passed both her oral and written board exams to be a board-certified pediatric dentist on her first try.
While many reputable dentists practice around the city, to carry the title of board-certified pediatric dentist is a notable distinction. Board certification requires that dentists maintain an additional level of continuing education every year, above the norm required to maintain a dental license, and unsurprisingly, Dr. Blume continues to go above and beyond the established requirements for board-certified pediatric dentist. The distinction of this lies in the fact that children are different than adults. Their physiology and medical management is inherently different.
“I wanted to be sure I was being extra safe when dealing with a child. In those two years[of pediatric residency] I learned there was a lot I didn’t know. My whole philosophy of treating children changed. I do almost everything different than I did in 2008,” Dr. Blume said speaking on the importance of board certification.
With a growing number of patients and an enthusiasm to restructure her practice space to provide a more entertaining environment for her little patients, Dr. Blume is looking forward to her eventual relocation in September of 2017. A mother of two, to Clara and Briggs Blume at 12- and 10-years-old, respectively, Dr. Carlen Palmer Blume is focused on enhancing and enlivening other children’s dental experiences. Possessing an inherently remarkable work ethic, compounded by her commitment to continue furthering her skills and education for the sake of her patients, Dr. Carlen Palmer Blume and the staff of Blume Pediatric Dentistry will undoubtedly continue to grow and care for the children of the Alamo City.
For more information visit www.blumedentistry.com or call 210.614.3334. Blume Pediatric Dentistry is located at 8221 Fredericksburg Road in San Antonio, TX 78229.