Dental School/Year Graduated: University of Florida, 1997
Years in Practice: 19
As a physician with both dental and medical degrees, you specialize in trauma-related facial reconstructive surgery. Are most of these patients the victims of car accidents? What are the types of injuries you treat?
Many of our reconstructive surgery patients have been victims of motor vehicle collisions, work-related accidents [and] gunshot wounds, as well as cancer, infection and tumor-related defects. I treat all types of facial hard and soft tissue defects and injuries, regardless of the cause.
You are involved in clinical research concerning Bisphosphonate Induced Osteonecrosis of the Jaws (BIONJ). Can you explain what this is and how you’re studying it?
In 2005, [when] I was serving as an associate professor at the [University of Miami], we were seeing a significant number of patients referred to us from surgeons nationwide with exposed painful bone in the jaws. After performing many trials, we found an association with bisphosphonates – which are [drugs] taken for osteoporosis and prevention of certain cancers.
Medical aid work is a huge part of your life. How do you decide where to devote your time and talents?
I have traditionally picked underserved and impoverished areas worldwide and especially prefer to help victims in areas frequently affected by natural disasters and catastrophes such as Haiti and the Dominican Republic. I like to give back to our community at home as well… for my training courses, I only treat patients in need locally in Arizona or nationwide that have significant financial hardships to receive completely free smile makeovers every month.
You went to dental school in Florida and frequently return to your alma mater to teach. Why is being in the educational sphere particularly fulfilling for you?
I’m currently involved with the University of Arizona oral surgery training program in many capacities as well and return to Florida a few times a year to educate younger doctors on many techniques. I feel that being involved with training and education keeps my mind sharp and young, as I have to stay abreast of the newest and latest technological advances in order to be an effective clinician and educator. And I get to help shape the career of young amazing surgeons.
You speak Farsi! Favorite Persian food in the Valley?
The Persian Room. I take all of my out-of-town guests there.
What’s your favorite portrayal of a dentist in TV or film?
Steve Martin is my favorite portrayal of a dentist in Little Shop of Horrors. It was funny from the beginning to end.
What’s the funniest thing a patient has said to you on nitrous oxide?
I once had a patient ask me to play jazz music for her prior to getting nitrous. After we were finished, she looked over and said, “I can’t believe I listen to this garbage. I hated jazz on nitrous oxide.”
“If I wasn’t a dentist, I’d be…”