“Growing a practice and developing a product line has been as challenging as it is exciting and rewarding. I wish someone had told me how to delegate in creating a powerful team. Choosing the right people is definitely a skill that must be honed. I have had to learn that I can’t do it all myself, and I’ve been painfully slow at consistently delegating tasks to others. It’s been freeing and enabled me to be more creative.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Sanda Moldovan (MS, DDS, CNS) of Beverly Hills Dental Health and Wellness . Dr. Moldovan is a double-board certified periodontist and licensed nutritionist who specializes in oral health and wellness. She is an author and international speaker on topics ranging from dental implants to nutritional support to anti-aging techniques. She is also the creator of Orasana™, an oral health care product line. At Beverly Hills Dental Health and Wellness in Beverly Hills, they have six doctors who practice integrative biological dentistry and a chiropractor, who specializes in TMJ disorders and trauma. They combine chiropractic and energy medicine alongside safe, mercury-free dentistry to provide harmony between the mouth and the body.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was born in Romania. My family moved to the United States when I was a teenager. My parents were both engineers, but our main source of food living under a communist dictatorship was farming our own land. We had livestock and I loved collecting the eggs from our hens’ nests. I learned about fermenting vegetables and appreciating the joys and healing properties provided by nature from an early age. After moving to the U.S., we lived in the Midwest. I am a graduate of Ohio State University School of Dentistry. I moved to Los Angeles for post-graduate periodontics studies at the University of California Los Angeles. At UCLA I earned my masters in Oral Biology.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you in the course of your career?
There are many interesting stories that come to mind because of the intricacies involved in my profession because no two people have identical sets of gums and teeth, and I’m working in the confined space of a person’s mouth. I specialize in tough challenging cases that require an intense focus and skill set. Patients who are pleased with not only the aesthetic enhancements, but also how their quality of life is improved as a result of my work always move me. That is such a reward. Growing up in Communist Romania I never dreamed that one day I would own a business, lecture all over the world, author a book, or launch a product line. It is surreal to me at times. I’m proof that you can become whatever you want to become if you work hard and never give up on your dreams. I supported myself through school. My first job was at Kentucky Fried Chicken. There’s no thread to connect the dots between KFC and what I do today!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I’m convinced my mission on this earth is to educate people about the critical connection between oral health and the rest of our bodies. I want to bridge the gap between medical doctors and dentists so that oral well-being is included, not overlooked in health care. It’s heartbreaking when I see how so many diseases could be avoided if people embraced that our mouths are the gateway to our health.
I truly believe any success I have attained is meaningless unless I share what I have witnessed through my career as a periodontist and nutritionist and what I have experienced personally. In expanding my health and wellness platform to include greater visibility through mainstream and social media I’m able to reach millions of people who are unable to visit my offices in Beverly Hills and Manhattan. I am passionate about ‘Smile! For a Healthy Future’ — -a campaign — or rather a movement — -which teaches our younger generations how to look after their oral health so they can establish and maintain great habits for looking after their teeth, gums.
The nutritional component enables them to make better food choices, especially when it comes to alternatives to processed foods, and sugary, sticky foods which are not only disruptive to their health, but produce cavities. I am writing a series of children’s books that explain about good vs. bad bacteria, how to brush effectively, and other topics, which will become a part of their early education. Perhaps if people learn earlier in life how to care for their mouths we will see a decrease in the millions of Americans who go to bed hungry and in pain due to their inability to chew food properly from loss of teeth.
If someone would want to emulate your career, what would you suggest are the most important things to do?
Get a mentor. Find somebody you admire and call them. Speak up. Don’t hesitate to ask if you can interview or shadow them. If someone turns you down. Find somebody else.
Keep going. If something doesn’t go your way or an idea doesn’t work out, don’t let that stop you. It’s not a failure. It’s a learning experience. Keep at it. The right door will eventually open. You won’t see the other opportunities that might exist if you bury your head in the sand of disappointment.
Is there a particular person that made a profound difference in your life to whom you are grateful?
Dr. Sascha Jovanovic was my instructor during my first year of residency at UCLA. He is an internationally renowned expert in the periodontal field, primarily as a dental implant specialist.
Can you share a story?
As his student observing his surgeries- I was in awe over how beautiful his work was and his attention to detail. I learned many of my surgical skills from him. But over the years, as we became friends, he has taught me so much more, like standing my ground when I believe in something, especially when there is scientific evidence to support an opinion.
My dentistry specialty is still very male-dominated and it was Sascha who promoted me as a speaker and paved the way for my acceptance as a lecturer at UCLA, which was quite an honor as a young periodontist. My first class was: “Implants: A to Z,” When I expanded my areas of expertise to nutrition, Sascha was the first to cheer me on and get behind my lecture series. He exercised his influence to establish this new curriculum in academic circles. Sascha’s acknowledgment of my surgical abilities and his belief in my messaging was a huge boost to my growth professionally and personally. He remains one of my most cherished mentors to this day.
So what are the most exciting projects you are working on now?
It is a summer of firsts! Two projects that I have worked on for many years are coming to fruition within weeks of each other. My first book is being published in September! Heal Up! Seven Ways to Faster Healing and Optimum Health. It’s been an eight-year labor of love.
From eating the right foods to alternative ways to heal by utilizing nature’s remedies (which can often replace toxic pharmaceutical drugs), I provide advice and tips for improving our well being, which is based on my thirteen years as an oral integrative health specialist.
My Orasana™ oral health product line is going to open up people’s consciousness about their oral and overall health. Nourish your body. Nourish your microbiome, and it will reward you with good health, but kill it and you are at greater risk for hosting diseases. For our first Orasana ™ product, which will become available this summer, I chose a probiotic mint. This is based on the massive amounts of research in the microbiological field related to certain strains of bacteria that are beneficial to oral health. I’ve designed a tasty, chewable tablet that when consistently used as directed will reduce inflammation, cavities, bad breath, and even sinus congestion.
What’s even more exciting is that after the Orasana™ probiotic properties leave the oral cavity of the mouth they continue to fight inflammation everywhere else in the body. In addition to supplements, natural toothpaste, free of the pesticides that lace many kinds of popular toothpaste on the market today, and mouth rinses, I’ve also designed a mini-oral irrigation flosser that’s the perfect size for packing in your gym bag and takes less room in suitcases when traveling.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
* I wish someone had told me that being successful really means letting go of controlling everything.
Growing a practice and developing a product line has been as challenging as it is exciting and rewarding. I wish someone had told me how to delegate in creating a powerful team. Choosing the right people is definitely a skill that must be honed. I have had to learn that I can’t do it all myself, and I’ve been painfully slow at consistently delegating tasks to others. It’s been freeing and enabled me to be more creative.
*The importance of acknowledging others who work with me and investing in them
People need and deserve to be told they are doing a good job. I’ve gotten better at letting people know with my words that they are appreciated. I invest in them with opportunities, which create room for them to grow professionally and personally. I enjoy empowering them and seeing their growth. I’ve always seen the potential and good in people, but as a Virgo, I tend to be critical, and that’s not productive.
*I could have used some pointers on how to deal with stress.
This has been a huge area of discovery for me. I was getting easily overwhelmed. Meditation has been critical to relieving my stress so I can show up for everyone and myself in my life from my staff to my patients. I only adopted meditation as part of my lifestyle five years ago. It’s made a huge difference in my life.
*I would have benefitted from being taught business skills in college.
I hope it has changed in the past decade, but I graduated without knowing how to open a business. We graduated from dental and medical schools without knowing about the financial aspects of establishing a practice. We know how to treat patients, but the reality there is overhead in a business, interviewing potential employees and overall management of a practice like payroll practices and other business decisions that need to be made to keep the doors open and grow a company. Tony Robbins books and lectures gave me the business education I was missing.
*The importance of mentorship and continued education and goal setting.
I have had mentors and coaches for every area of my life. They’ve been such a blessing. It’s a fallacy to think that just because you are successful in your career that you know all you need to know, or that experience once you have a degree will be your greatest teacher. I’ve sought out the people I most identify with in terms of successful business and personal models for achieving my goals. I continue to take seminars and other classes in a number of fields of interest to me, and stay on top on the latest technological advances in my field. If we are not continually evolving as professionals and human beings how can we give our patients, customers, clients, friends and family our very best?
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. :-)
I would say Arianna Huffington. Seriously. I am awe-inspired by all of her accomplishments and how she has used her influence to help so many people. Several years ago I attended one of her talks at UCLA. I’ve never forgotten this pearl of wisdom from her, “Being successful is quantified by how many times you fail.” That really stuck with me. Now, every time that something doesn’t work out, I know it’s just a step closer to figuring out how to do it. I would love a private audience with this amazing woman!