Meet Our Doctors

Dr. Grace Yum

Pediatric Dentist

  • On-staff at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
  • Other dentists and pediatricians refer their most challenging cases to her.
  • Kids love her!

Dr. Rupal Naik

Pediatric Dentist

  • She has been published in four dental research papers.
  • Very gentle and has a heart for non-profit dental organizations
  • Kids love her!

Erin Petrik, DDS

Pediatric Dentist

  • Passionate about educating the community about the importance of oral health
  • Dedicated to building lasting relationships with her patients and their families
  • Kids love her!

Dr. David Avenetti

Pediatric Dentist

  • In his free time, he enjoys spending time exploring Chicago and traveling with his wife, Crystal.
  • Faculty member and the Pediatric Dentistry Residency Program Director at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry.
  • Kids love him!

Dr. Keyur Shah


  • Graduated #1 in his dental school class at the University of Toronto.
  • One of the most talented and gentle people we've ever met.
  • Kids love him!

Dr. Mariah Zach

General Dentist

  • Dedicated to maintaining healthy, happy, beautiful smiles.
  • Highly advanced knowledge of innovative dental technology.
  • Parents & Kids love her!

Dr. Michael Higgins

Dental Anesthesiologist

  • On faculty at University of Illinois Medical Center
  • Former president of the American Society of Dental Anesthesiologists
  • Kids love him!

Grace Yum, D.D.S.

Dr. Yum is a mother and a certified pediatric dentist, a certification achieved by only 5% of all dentists in the U.S. She has quietly become nationally recognized in her field. Dr. Yum has appeared on the TODAY Show on NBC nationally and on NBC Chicago as a repeat guest. She has also been featured nationally in Parents Magazine, Parenting Magazine, on Yahoo! and locally in Chicago Parent Magazine, which described her as one of the best and most fun pediatric dentists in Chicago.

Dr. Yum is on staff to perform surgeries at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, where she also received her pediatric training. During her education, Dr. Yum earned her Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University. She was then awarded her doctorate from the University of Maryland, home of the first dental school in the world.

Dr. Yum invented Dr. Yum's Dental Products for Kids, including its innovative first product, the patent-pending Dr. Yum's Baby Teeth Cleaners, available on, which helps prevent cavities in baby teeth starting as early as six months of age. Parents quickly and easily swab a special all-natural xylitol solution on baby's teeth, morning and night, to prevent plaque from sticking to teeth

Dr. Yum routinely receives referrals of even the most challenging cases from pediatricians and other dentists. She is proud to have earned a range of professional accolades and the respect of her professional peers. In her practice, she is committed to state-of-the-art equipment and procedures. She also takes pride in the Yummy Dental and Orthodontics experience and facility, which is in an inviting, state-of-the-art, custom-developed space, carefully designed with her pediatric patients and their parents in mind.

Kids love Dr. Yum. Her patients and their parents often tell her that they would never want to see another dentist. Many drive long distances to see her.

Dr. Yum and her team offer a range of complimentary services. Dr. Yum and her team offer a range of complimentary services. Dr. Yum offers complimentary Yummy Baby Exams for children under one. We also offer complimentary Yummy Smiles Ortho Evaluations. Feel free to ask us more about those options.

Dr. Yum stays up-to-date on the latest advancements in the field of pediatric dentistry by being active in numerous of professional organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Illinois Society of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and the Chicago Dental Society.

Dr. Yum believes very strongly in the power of philanthropy. She donates her time regularly and routinely is invited to speak in leading Chicago schools, in front of mommy groups, and to groups of dental residents.

Dr. Yum is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area; she grew up in Glenview and went to college in Evanston.

Have a question for Dr. Yum? Dr. Yum enjoys getting questions and requests for advice from parents - feel free to email her directly any time at - she'll look forward to hearing from you!

Rupal Patel Naik, D.D.S.

Dr. Naik is gentle and compassionate. Her goal is to provide top-end dental care and a comforting experience for children.

Dr. Naik is also highly trained by some of the nation’s top dental educators. She received dual graduate degrees at University of Illinois as a Doctor in Dental Surgery and a Master of Science in Oral Sciences. She completed two additional years of training in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Southern California and Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. While in residency she won the national American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry OMNI research fellowship, awarded to only 3 people in the country!

She is a Board Certified Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and stays on the cutting-edge as a member of the following organizations: College of Diplomates, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, Illinois Society of Pediatric Dentists, Illinois State Dental Society, and the Chicago Dental Society.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, cooking, and practicing hot yoga. And with a baby girl at home, you can count on her to know what it’s like to be a parent.

David Avenetti, D.D.S., M.S.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Avenetti is very happy to be part of the Yummy Dental & Orthodontics team. While most people know him as Dr. Avenetti, kids normally refer to him as “Dr. David.” He was hand-selected by Dr. Yum to join her team and is deeply committed to providing the highest possible quality dentistry and excellent customer service so that children and families enjoy coming to the dentist and value good oral health.

Like Dr. Yum and other doctors at Yummy Dental & Orthodontics, Dr. Avenetti is part of the small pool of less than 5% of dentists in the United States who have successfully completed advanced specialized training in pediatric dentistry.

He is also a faculty member and the Pediatric Dentistry Residency Program Director at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry. In his role, he lectures and teaches courses, supervises residents and dental students in clinic, serves in numerous leadership roles, engages is service activities, and participates in federally-funded research projects.

He is also on staff at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System where he works with residents to provide dental care for patients in the operating room setting.

Dr. Avenetti is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist (Diplomat) through the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. He completed his pediatric dentistry residency at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. During his residency, he concurrently earned a Master of Science in Dentistry and was selected to participate in one year of advanced training to earn Master of Public Health Degree. In his free time, he enjoys spending time exploring Chicago and traveling with his wife, Crystal.

Keyur A. Shah, D.D.S. (certified orthodontist)

Dr. Shah is an unusually talented and gentle orthodontist. He was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. At the University of Toronto, he was valedictorian of his dental school class. After dental school, Dr. Shah completed his residency at Loyola University Medical Center. Next, he completed his orthodontic specialty at the University of Manitoba, where he was awarded a master’s degree in orthodontics.

Dr. Shah enjoys keeping up on the latest advancements in orthodontics and is involved with many professional associations including the American Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association, Illinois State Dental Society, Chicago Dental Society, Illinois Society of Orthodontists and the Midwestern Society of Orthodontists.

Outside the office, Dr. Shah enjoys spending family time with his wife who is a native Chicagoan. He is a huge fan of exercise and sports. He is a proud supporter of all Chicago teams, especially the Chicago Bears.

Dr. Shah offers complimentary orthodontic evaluations.

Mariah Zach, D.M.D.

Dr. Mariah Zach is a general dentist, whose gentle touch caters well to the dental-wary, making you feel comfortable in our chairs. Dr. Mariah has found a good home here at Yummy Dental, because she enjoys working with children and adults alike. Her primary goal for all of her patients is creating and maintaining healthy, happy, beautiful smiles.

Dr. Mariah is a life-time Temple University fan having completed both her undergraduate degree in Biology, and her Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree at Temple. After finishing her DMD program, she attended a general practice residency at St. Peter's hospital in Albany, NY. Her residency focused on comprehensive general dentistry in a hospital setting, often involving medically complex patients.

As a life-time learner, Dr. Mariah stays up to date on the latest dental technology through CE courses all across the country. She is an active member of the American Dental Association, the Illinois State Dental Society, and the Chicago Dental Society.

Dr. Mariah is new to Chicago, having recently moved from Philadelphia, where she practiced in a private dental office. Most of her free time is spent exploring her new city. She also enjoys good fiction novels, yoga, and traveling. With a love for food, she will gladly accept any restaurant recommendations.

Dr. Michael Higgins

Following dental school, Dr. Higgins completed a hospital General Practice Residency in New York, after which he was then accepted into the anesthesiology residency at Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Chicago, 1980-82. Since completion of his anesthesia training, Dr. Higgins has practiced dental anesthesiology, providing office based anesthesia care throughout the Northern Illinois area.

In addition to his private practice, Dr. Higgins is a long-standing faculty member with the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Illinois Hospital Medical Center, and holds the academic rank of Associate Professor of Anesthesiology within that department and the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Dr. Higgins is a regional and national lecturer and is published in the area of Anesthesiology of Dentistry. Dr. Higgins has remained very active at all levels of the dental society. On the local level, he served in Mediation & Peer Review for the Chicago Dental Society, as President of the Northwest Suburban Dental Society, on the Chicago Midwinter Lecture and Exhibits Committees, as Program Chairman of the Chicago Midwinter Meeting, and as Chairman of the Members Group of the Chicago Dental Society. On the state level, Dr. Higgins is pleased to have served on the Publications and Legislative committees and other numerous committees of the Illinois State Dental Society (ISDS), as a member of ISDS Board of Trustees, Program Chairman of the ISDS Leadership Conference, Program Chairman of the ISDS Annual Session and a delegate to the American Dental Association. In addition, Dr. Higgins is proud to have represented the profession as President of the Illinois Dental Society of Anesthesiology, the Illinois State Dental Society, and the American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists. Dr. Higgins is a Fellow of both the American and the International College of Dentists. He is board certified with the American Dental Board of Anesthesiology and the National Board of Anesthesiology. He is a fellow of the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology.

Dr. Higgins is a native of the Chicago area and resides in Palatine with his wife, Mary, and their three children- Ryan, Lindsay and Mitchell. He enjoys spending time with his family as well as boating, fishing, and gardening when he can find the time!

Dr. Erin Petrik, DDS

Dr. Erin is very excited to be working with great patients and families at Yummy Dental & Orthodontics for Kids. She strives to make each appointment enjoyable and easy for the kids and their parents. She understands each child is unique and tailors each visit to connect with her patients.

Dr. Erin is a life-long Midwesterner. She was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and earned her DDS in Chicago at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. She completed her residency training at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

Dr. Erin understands how important it is to continue learning and keep current with modern dentistry. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Chicago Dental Society, Illinois State Dental society, and the American Dental Association.

Dr. Erin is very happy to be back in Chicago, her "second home". In her free time, she likes to stay active by running or biking by the Lakeshore.