When you step in to the Let’s Smile Dental office at Fairfax Corner, the first thing you notice is the friendly, warm, and happy environment. It’s hard not to feel captivated by the creative decoration of the office. A time machine pops out from the wall, their “kid’s cove” is filled with animals and videogames, and dragons poke their heads around corners. It all makes the experience of going to the dentist almost like an adventure for the little ones.
Let’s Smile Dental is not only a beautiful dentist office with a happy, family-oriented staff, but it is a place where families find complete dental services—from pediatric dentistry to orthodontics and oral surgery—for both children and adults.
Dr. Ali Ghatri, DDS, owner of Let’s Smile Dental, with locations in Reston, Fairfax, and Springfield, stated that they are a patient-oriented practice: “We make our number-one priority our patients. We have to make sure that they see honesty in us, they see integrity in us, [and] they see the hard work in the approach we take to get the best results for them. It’s not about us—it’s about the patients,” he said.
Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry
Originally from Iran, Dr. Ghatri went to dental school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and after graduation completed his orthodontic residency at the University of Connecticut.
When Dr. Ghatri, opened his practices in Virginia in 1995, he knew that orthodontics works hand-in-hand with pediatric dentistry, because many problems can be corrected at an early age to avoid complications later.
“For a long time, orthodontics was considered best suited for kids aged around 11 and 12 or older, but as I gained experience and faced different types of patients who had different types of problems, I realized that with early treatment—with patients who are seven, eight, and nine, I could intervene and do partial corrections that guided the development of their jaw so that at a later age, the corrections were easier. Early, interceptive treatment can prevent the need for more invasive treatments such as extractions of adult teeth or requiring jaw surgery.”
Dr. Ji Lim, DMD, MS, orthodontist at Let’s Smile Dental, added that the practice’s approach is not a traditional patient-doctor relationship where the doctor talks and the patient listens. Instead, they focus on two-way communication, emphasizing patient education. “It’s not just us saying, ‘braces are fun’,” she said. “We want to educate our patients on what the braces are doing, and how it’s going to improve and give them a beautiful smile,” she said.
Doctors at Let’s Smile Dental work with young patients to explain how braces will improve their teeth’s function and how that will improve their overall health. They also educate parents about the treatment plan and the importance of having good teeth. “It’s not just for looks and cosmetic improvement,” Dr. Ghatri added. “It’s about helping kids feel better, speak better.”
High-end Technology and Top-notch Equipment
“I’m a forward-thinking person, and that’s why I bring the newest technology to my practice,” Dr. Ghatri said.
So when Invisalign first became available in the late 1990s, he was one of the first to sign up to receive it.
“I saw the value, and I was fascinated by the technology that it presented,” he said. “Now, we hold a Super Elite Top 1% status in the country due to our years of experience and ability to complete complicated cases that are often rejected by other doctors.”
Let’s Smile Dental also has the latest techniques to make the experience of having braces shorter and more comfortable.
Dr. Ghatri and his team use the new Acceledent and Propel technologies, which both shorten orthodontic treatment time by up to 50%, lowering the risk of tooth decay or gum problems, and also increases patient comfort in terms of pain and discomfort associated with orthodontics.
“I’ve also been using mini screws, called ‘TAD’ (Temporary Anchorage Device) to help move teeth that are not as compliant with movement,” he said. “Being in the forefront of technology, you cannot ignore new advances; you have to get it, use it, and, if we see that it is effective, then we incorporate them into our practice.”
Dr. Ghatri also uses laser devices to do painless soft tissue correction—such as exposing teeth hiding beneath the gum—which avoids painful procedures with a surgeon.
“Recently, I introduced a treatment called TruDenta, which applies cold laser and ultrasound technology to treat migraines, TMJ/TMD, and symptoms that lead to chronic head pain” he said.
TruDenta is a revolutionary technology that identifies issues in the oral cavity that can lead to painful symptoms in the head.
Another example of advance technologies that doctors at Let’s Smile Dental use is the iTero Scanner, which takes digital impressions of the teeth instead of using a traditional sticky mold, making the procedure faster, more accurate, and more comfortable for the patient.
“We have treated more than 18,000 patients in the past 22 years, many of whom were Invisalign patients, and we treat everyone like our own family; they have a great experience, comfortable treatment, and the best results,” said Dr. Ghatri.
Happy, Family-Oriented Environment
Tina Woo, Let’s Smile Dental’s marketing director, said that the practice is not just about patient care and treatment, but about making the environment fun so that kids don’t correlate going to the dentist with going to the doctor’s, which can be a negative experience in their minds.
“We’re always smiling, we’re always laughing, and the point is to create the best environment so that the patient can feel it,” said Woo. “We want our happiness to translate, and we want to create a positive and productive environment so it’s exciting to come. We try to make it a point to help our patients feel motivated through positive reinforcement, so it’s not the parent who is motivating the child, but the children who are motivating themselves to maintain really good oral health habits,” she explained.
In order to motivate their young patients, the offices hold monthly contests, rewards programs, and a points system where children get points for every appointment, good dental care, and even for good grades at school. The patients are rewarded with gift cards, themed gift baskets and prizes for their monthly contest. Orthodontic patients can redeem the points they accrue throughout treatment for any gift card of choice by most of the major retailers.
“Kids love coming here,” said Woo. “They actually get excited to come back for treatment of fillings or sealants, it’s a different culture.”
The same importance Dr. Ghatri places on having the best technology, he gives to hiring the best professional team. And selecting that team is not an easy task.
“Their personality has to match our personality,” he said. “I like my offices to be happy, a family-oriented environment where everybody has a good time. We look for somebody who is more extroverted; happy and excited; charming; and who engages with our young patients and their parents. Obviously, education matters,” he said. “I see which schools they have gone to; for example, Dr. Lim has gone to two of the best schools in the country. UPenn’s dental school is top notch, as is University of Maryland for orthodontics. They also have to be open-minded to new technologies and new ways of thinking.”
Dr. Ghatri works with three other doctors in his practices, including Dr. Ji Lim, orthodontist; Dr. Jessica Holmes and Dr. Patricia Wood in pediatric dentistry. He has also partnered with pediatric dentist Dr. Neda Kalantar in Reston.
Let’s Smile Dental offers pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, and oral surgery, all under one roof with top doctors. “It’s truly a multispecialty practice, from start to finish,” concluded Dr. Lim.
To find more information about Let’s Smile Dental, please visit www.letssmile.com