Rotarian Vahid Babaeian takes joy in creating lasting smiles

DOWNEY - As any orthodontist will tell you, they're in the business of fashioning smiles. By straightening teeth, improving bites, and aligning jaws, the orthodontist practically becomes an angelic collaborator in boosting people's self-image and self-confidence. A great smile is an aid to getting "a better job, better spouse, a better life," states one endorsement.Vahid Babaeian is well aware of this standard. Vahid, who was born and raised in the southern Iranian city of Ahvaz, started his Downey orthodontics practice, Brace Connection, in 1999, occupying offices at 10800 Paramount Boulevard just south of 5th Street. He had actually begun his professional practice two years before, in a much smaller office elsewhere. Because of growth, he moved his offices four months ago further south, still on Paramount Boulevard, close to Alameda. At 3,000 sq. ft., he says the new facility is double the capacity of his prior address. Vahid's new location, and his facility, are impressive. Its interior appointments breathe the colors and spirit of UCLA, where he obtained his BS in biochemistry in 1990 and his DDS degree in 1994 from UCLA Dental School. (For his orthodontic residency training, he attended the University of Pittsburgh, PA, emerging after three years, in 1997, with his certificate). At the new offices, there is a decidedly sporty theme: photos, artwork, and even slipcovers include the images of basketball icons, such as Michael Jordan and John Wooden (his pyramid of success occupies a prominent spot as you enter the working area). If you look up at the ceiling, you'll see a hockey puck autographed by Wayne Gretzky. His equipment and work stations are state-of-the-art. They feature the latest technology, he says, including digital record-keeping and instant video patient info update usually based on x-rays and photographs of the patient's teeth. Vahid says his services are no more expensive than the next orthodontist's office's, and payment plans are flexible. His current staffing consists of four orthodontics assistants in his 6-cubicle work area (two of them private) and four administrative assistants manning the front desk. Once a year, usually in April, under the auspices of the Downey Dental Academy which he headed at one time, he gives free screenings, along with other DDA member-volunteers, to kids in the 1st to 5th grades as a community service. He has been a member of the Downey Chamber of Chamber of Commerce for some time and a Downey Rotarian since 2000, having served on the board three previous times. Currently, he is chairman of the Rotary's international service project, which focuses on actions taken to expand Rotary's humanitarian reach around the globe and to promote world understanding and peace. Vahid says he chose orthodontics as a profession because "It is a clean field, it's a 9 to 5 job, and I wanted to help people create beautiful smiles." In his service packet, he says, "My interest in orthodontics peaked while I was a second year dental student at UCLA. I truly enjoy the combination of science and art in creating beautiful smiles and healthy bites for my patients." He adds: "Being a family man with two kids (one is a10-year old son, and a daughter, who is 7), I also love communicating with parents and their children to address any orthodontic concerns. The journey to creating beautiful smiles also affords lifelong friendships with my patients and their children after. I set high treatment standards for myself and keep abreast with the latest technology and efficient treatment options by continually reading and attending seminars." His patient mix, he says, is 75 percent children, and 25 percent adults. ("Adults also need orthodontic care no matter what their age") and that the best age for children to start wearing braces is no later than age 7. Vahid says his father was a CPA in Iran. The family moved to the U.S. when Vahid was twelve, finishing his middle school in Glendale and graduating from Glendale High School prior to enrolling at UCLA. He keeps fit by jogging and playing tennis two-three times a week. He likes to travel with his wife and children: he says he's been to Europe (France, England, Italy) as well as Alaska but wants to revisit Europe, and perhaps go to Spain, places like that. Hawaii and the Caribbean are also in his sights. They reside in Irvine. His reading is mostly orthodontics-related, he said.

********** Published: February 14, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 44

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