From East to West: Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad exemplifies determination #IE40Under40

What would you do to protect your family in a country plagued by war, poverty, labor camps and the very real possibility of execution? Would you escape?

That’s what Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad’s parents did to flee post-war Vietnam, although it wasn’t as easy as hopping on a plane. In fact, the government declared leaving the country illegal.

“We were so poor, and living in that state of poverty was no way to live. We didn’t have much food. My parents’ jobs didn’t provide for a hopeful future for our family.”

Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad said, recalling the stories her parents told of Vietnam.

The only way many Vietnamese people could escape communist oppression was by boat, a risky attempt some refugees did not survive. Those who were brave enough to flee, an estimated 1.5 million of them from 1975 to 1995, were known as “Boat People.”

This is the same type of boat Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad and her family spent 38 days in as they drifted in the South China Sea. (Photo Courtesy Dr. Tori-Thuy Conrad)

In 1980, when Dr. Conrad was just six weeks old, she and her family boarded her father’s fishing boat, a vessel not designed for the open ocean, and were joined by seven other siblings and cousins.

They sailed into the South China Sea from Hue City, not knowing where, when and if they would make landfall. They sailed for days, weeks, over a month, not knowing where the tides would take them.

“We spent over 38 days at sea without a definitive destination. We arrived at a refugee camp in Hong Kong, where we resided for months until we were brought to a brighter future by the sponsorship of a United States family.”

Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad, recalling the stories her parents told of Vietnam.
Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad, held by her mother. Her brother and father to the right. Photo taken shortly after their arrival in the U.S. (Photo Courtesy Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad.)

Dr. Conrad ended up in Denver, Colorado, a stark difference from the tropical climate of central Vietnam, and began to live an American life.

Finding her dentistry destiny

Dr. Conrad attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry, but the atomic mass of atoms was not all she found. She also met her husband there, and a burning desire to help people.

“I’ve always known I wanted to be in the health care field, helping others heal through medicine, especially children.”

After graduation from Coe, she moved to Minneapolis to study dental hygiene at the University of Minnesota, but she wanted more, and continued her education to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree.

Today, the 2019 Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 honoree owns and practices at Tweet Pediatric Dentistry in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and is a mom of three. She juggles the responsibilities of a full-time dentist and a mother, an act that has its challenges.

“I think the most challenging aspects of dentistry is not the dentistry, it’s running a business. I had to learn as I went along and made a lot of mistakes. My mentors have guided me along the way.”

Although it’s difficult to run a business, Dr. Conrad loves her patients. She believes she makes a difference in their lives, and they return the favor to her.

“I am so grateful I get to do this and make such a difference in these children’s lives. The high-fives and hugs that I’m left with when my little patients leave their appointments leave me beaming with happiness.”

Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad

When not in her operatory, Dr. Conrad is in the kitchen experimenting. She loves to cook for her family — and with them. Her favorite cuisine is Italian, without the pasta. She likes to stray from her cookbooks and allow her creativity to take over.

“I love using the fresh herbs and flavors, and pairing them with more proteins and vegetables in place of pasta. I try to create dishes without a recipe. I find it most rewarding when I have someone who eats my creation and provides raving remarks on a recipe that does not exist. It’s the best compliment.”

Dr. Conrad’s dreams never end. She wants to improve her culinary skills and one day compete on the Food Network show Chopped, a challenging competition where three chefs battle for supremacy. She also wishes to pilot a plane.

With many years of dentistry behind her, she has advice for those who dream to be who she is—a successful, practicing dentist.

“Utilize all resources and mentors out there. There are so many people willing to lend advice, reach out often and be willing to extend the same as you gain experience and knowledge. I give many thanks to my mentors for helping me reach my dreams, but also to alleviate and get me through the challenges I face.”

If anyone doubts their dreams, they need to speak with Dr. Conrad, whose tenacity and motivation is the stuff of inspiration.

Learn more about Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad and the #IE40Under40 experience.
Nominate an inspirational dentist at Incisal Edge today.

Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad (front left) during the 2019 Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 photo session in NYC. (Photo courtesy Incisal Edge/Macrae Marran)

Dr. Lavasani Shares Her Dentistry Philosophy

Dr. Setareh Lavasani has been dubbed the “Queen of Radiology” and “The Selfie Queen,” by her students and colleagues. Events in her life, though, were not always ones to smile about.

The 2019 Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 honoree recently spoke with TheDailyFloss.com about her early career and the battle she raged with life-threatening illnesses in her 20s. The selfie-slinging (shown above, at far left), chihuahua-loving board-certified radiologist discussed how she persevered to become the professional she is today. 

Shown in NYC at the Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 photo session, clockwise from bottom left: Drs. Setareh Lavasani, Valerie Okehie, Corey Brick, Jeffrey T. Moon and Rebecca Pounds.
Courtesy Incisal Edge/Macrae Marran

The Pomona, California Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist comes from a long line of dentists; as she says, “[It] runs in my family.” Her sister is an endodontist, her cousins and aunt, dentists. Dr. Lavasani jokes, “We have a mini dental convention of our own when we get together!”

Originally from Iran, she attended Ajman University of Science and Technology, earning her a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. Her education did not stop there.

Dr. Lavasani moved to San Antonio, Texas to attend a radiology residency program at the University of Texas Health Science Center. There she would be given the most critical test of her life to date. She was diagnosed with breast cancer as soon as she received her admission to the radiology residency, a disease that affects 3.5 million people every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This caused an interruption in her studies, but she did not give up.

After her treatments, Dr. Lavasani returned to her studies in San Antonio. Within a year, she was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia, a progressive and rare illness. Leukemias are cancers that start in cells, typically in bone marrow, and then quickly spread to other parts of the body, according to the American Cancer Society.

Thanks to the generosity of a donor, Dr. Lavasani received a life-saving bone marrow transplant, beating the 4 out of 5 mortality rate, and giving her a second chance at attaining her dreams. She had battled — and won — a fight for her life on two occasions.

Earlier this year, Dr. Setareh Lavasani celebrated her 10th cancer-free year.

“I learned to never lose hope and always try to look on the bright side, even when there is barely a single ray of light,” she said.

Dr. Setareh Lavasani

Determined not to let her health lower her spirits, Dr. Lavasani continued her radiology studies in San Antonio and graduated with a certificate in Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology and a Master’s in Dental Diagnostic Sciences. 

“I saw firsthand that the generous donation of a bone marrow saved my life, so I promised myself to focus on this cause (dentistry) and hopefully make a difference. I learned that this is what real life is about! I also realized that our time is so short, so I try to say more ‘thank yous’ and more ‘I love yous’ to people who matter to me and have shown me unconditional support all along.”

Dr. Setareh Lavasani

Dr. Lavasani received most of her support from her parents, family members and close friends who inspired her during treatment in school and throughout her career. Her mother was a star role model who raised two kids, earned a Ph.D. and became a well-known editor-in-chief in Iran.

Today, Dr. Lavasani is an associate professor and the Director of Oral Radiology & Advanced Imaging at Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Dental Medicine in Pomona, California.

Often, she travels for speaking engagements. Dr. Lavasani is an internationally recognized lecturer. She frequently speaks at California Dental Association (CDA), UCLA School of Dentistry Advanced Education in General Dentistry program and the American and International Academies of Oral Radiology. She is a fellow and speaker for the southern California Oral Pathology Society and the Global Dental Implant Academy (FGDIA).

Though amid her prestigious positions, she takes particular pride in her role as the “The Selfie Queen.” She smiles for her past, present and future. Now, she takes the philosophy gained through her experiences and expresses it with every student she meets.

“I find that I’m happiest when I’m teaching and sharing ideas with students and fellow colleagues. So, inside and outside of school, I try to focus and grow.”

Dr. Setareh Lavasani
At the Global Dental Implant Academy (GDIA) USA symposium 2018, Dr. Setareh Lavasani presented, received the exclusive #GDIA fellowship recognition, and won the first place prize for scientific poster presentation. (Photo courtesy Dr. Setareh Lavasani)

Dr. Lavasani is at a pinnacle of her career, ascending from the uncertainty of disease she fought. She teaches and encourages future dentists while following and sharing her virtue:

“Give back in any way you can and as small or large as you can. I think each of us, in one way or another, have a cause that is close to our hearts for any personal reason. I think giving in any way that is possible makes a huge difference in our sense of happiness and fulfillment.”

Dr. Setareh Lavasani

Dr. Arash Hakhamian’s dental app delivers care at a hospital room, home — even poolside #IE40Under40

Searching for a more relaxed atmosphere for oral health care with vetted expert dentists? Dentulu offers fully mobile dental units that can pop up in any standard 10 by 10 room, where an electrical outlet is the only necessity for the Dentulu team. This includes the living room, bedroom, hospital room, senior living center, or even poolside (shown at top).

“I have been performing mobile dental services for the rich and famous here in Beverly Hills for almost a decade and an excited about providing access to this incredible service for all Americans alike,” said Dr. Arash Hakhamian, founder and CEO of Dentulu.

Meet the founder, CEO of Dentulu

Dr. Arash Hakhamian, chosen as one of the 2018 Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 award winners, is the founder and CEO of Dentulu, Dentistry on Demand, platform. According to Dr. Hakhamian, Dentulu is the world’s first and only on demand mobile app that allows patients anywhere in the United States to connect to a dentist, on demand and from the comfort of their own home, within a few minutes. Dentulu’s multiple features allow for increased access to dentists both virtually and through mobile dentists who are able to provide dental care in the comfort of the patient’s home or workplace.

“My hope and dream for the future of dentistry is to bring our profession up to date with the technological advancements we currently see in other sectors. The Uberization of different sectors has helped give the user more control of their experience and Dentistry has unfortunately lagged behind other fields.

The public can now schedule doctors, haircuts, massages and a myriad of other services to their home and there is no reason basic dental services should not be available as well.”

Dr. Arash Hakhamian, founder and CEO of Dentulu, Dentistry on Demand platform
Dr. Arash Hakhamian worked with companies, including Google, to set up the Dentulu platform.

Need to connect with a licensed dentist within 5 minutes?

With the help of recent legislation that has passed by Congress and the American Dental Association, Dentulu is now able to bridge the access to dental care for millions of Americans through the use of mobile and teledentistry.

“Patients who are having an emergency no longer have to take a trip to the Urgent Care or Emergency Department to address their concerns, only to wait for hours and sometimes walk away with opioids and recommendations to find a dentist. Patients can now simply download the Dentulu app and connect with a licensed dentist within five minutes and receive immediate care through a real time virtual consultation and have a prescription sent to a pharmacy and simultaneously connect with a dentist that can see them in his or her dental office.”

Dr. Arash Hakhamian, founder and CEO of Dentulu, Dentistry on Demand platform

This service is not only for emergencies. Patients who are interested in a consultation or a second opinion on various treatments such as cosmetic dentistry, braces, implants or wisdom teeth can also schedule a virtual consultation from the comfort of their own home with a trained dental expert for less than $10. The patient simply picks the type of dental professional they want to consult with on the Dentulu Network and can schedule a 10 minute consultation to meet and doctor and have all of their questions answered before making a trip to the dental office.

Dentulu also provides mobile dental services to almost any location of the patients choosing. Busy patients along with elderly or disabled patients no longer have to waste hours of time and deal with the logistic nightmares of sitting in traffic or the waiting room for simple checkups and cleanings. By downloading the Dentulu application, patients are able to schedule basic cleanings, whitenings, Invisalign and other basic dental services to their home or workplace, saving them time and money, with or without the use of dental insurance.

Receive care at home, a hospital room, senior living center … even poolside

Dentulu offers fully mobile dental units that can pop up in any standard 10 by 10 room, including the living room (shown above), bedroom, hospital room, senior living center, or even poolside where an electrical outlet is the only necessity for the Dentulu team. This service has been proven to save patients time and also provide a comfortable and relaxed environment where the patient and family can get individualized and person attention with vetted expert dentists in their area.

“I have helped implement the protocols for proper infection control and logistics in providing mobile dental care for various organizations including NGO’s in third world countries, where access to dental care is limited.”

Dr. Arash Hakhamian, founder and CEO of Dentulu, Dentistry on Demand platform

According to Dr. Hakhamian, Dentulu also provides numerous features including: Virtual Reality (VR) glasses, aromatherapy, and audio/visual software that patients can utilize to improve the user experience. By changing the environment of the dental services, Dentulu provides an opportunity to reduce the anxiety and fear of the dental office and enhances the patients comfort during dental procedures.

“We have worked diligently with great organizations, including Google and Amazon, in setting up our platform, and will continuously improve our capabilities to provide a great user experience while working with local dentists in increasing their patient acquisition and generating new patients seeking their services to their office.

Please visit the Dentulu website at www.dentulu.com or visit our social media pages for more information. We are currently enrolling clinicians coming to a city near you! There is also an investor page for those interested in investing with our company. “

Dr. Arash Hakhamian, founder and CEO of Dentulu, Dentistry on Demand platform
Dr. Arash Hakhamian worked with companies, including Google, to set up the Dentulu platform.

Dentulu is currently launching in Los Angeles and is actively seeking investors for expansion to the remainder of the United States.

“I have been performing mobile dental services for the rich and famous here in Beverly Hills for almost a decade and an excited about providing access to this incredible service for all Americans alike,” added Dr. Hakhamian.

Want to learn more?

Find details about Dentulu at ww.dentulu.com

Spring fashion meets dentistry in 6 days in NYC #IE40Under40

Modified sophistication.
Technically-advanced fabric with high-octane color.
Beautiful dresses and suits designed with comfort in mind.

To get a glimpse of these freshest fashion trends, don’t miss the colorful moments and non-stop coverage of next week’s Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 photo session in New York City. There, on June 6 and 7, America’s Best Young Dentists will gather for a celebration of their honor at The James Hotel.

Who’s bringing the style?

(Aside from the incredible honorees themselves, of course. )

Renowned style director Joseph DeAcetis collaborates annually with the Incisal Edge team to create the centerpiece of the fall issue.

Between working with Forbes cover models and jetting off to Milan for Fall Fashion Week, Stylist Joseph DeAcetis (in blue, at top) delivers a pop of color to every Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 photo session.

Here he discusses a recent #IE40Under40 event:

Want to join in the excitement next week?

Read more about this year’s honorees: https://thedailyfloss.com/2019/05/20/incisal-edge-to-honor-2019-40-under-40/

Instagram: @incisaledgemagazine

Facebook: @BencoIncisalEdge

Twitter: @TheIncisalEdge

Snapchat: @bencodental

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Though she doesn’t wear a cape, this San Diego dentist is a H.E.R.O to many. #ie40under40

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