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Not Just Your Average Dentist! 09/01/23

Dr. Reza Khazaie is simply an amazing character. While his Willow Pass Dental Care offices, on

Willow Pass Road in Concord, is bustling with patients, the photos that cover the walls indicate that

this is no ordinary place. The walls of the waiting room at his clinic are covered with beautiful photos of his dental missions to many countries. In addition, there is a giant TV monitor with a rolling sequence his photos.

After completing his military service in Iran and graduating from dental school Reza finally in 1989,

arrived in the USA. His father, a general in the Iranian military was also a doctor and trained at

Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland. After achieving his US license, Reza knew that he

wanted to do more than general dentistry and trained at USC Los Angeles as a prosthodontist.

Believing that no one dentist can do it all, in his current practice he surrounds himself with

specialists. With a staff of twenty employees, it’s a one stop ‘dental shopping center’ of a

different kind.

But there is so much more to this complex and interesting man than dental services. His passions

and interests are many. From a very early age he learned to ride horses, and still today owns and trains show horses.

As a Master Scuba diver, he has traveled all over the world seeking out exotic and unusual dive sites. He tells me that he particularly likes to see big fish…like sharks.

An avid mountaineer he has climbed many of the world’s biggest peaks including Aconcagua (22,000 feet) in Argentina. In October he will travel to Nepal to practice high altitude climbing in preparation for an ascent on Mount Everest next year.

As if these challenges are insufficient, Reza’s real passion is to care for children: he is a

volunteer member of KIDS International Volunteer Dentists organization. Its fundamental

mission of is to provide pro-bono dental care to impoverished children in developing countries. He has traveled to Cambodia, Guatemala, Cap Verde, South Africa, Mongolia, Philippines and Haiti.

In addition to its primary focus of providing free dental care to children so that they can be free

of pain, active in school, and pursue their endeavors, the organization aims to: EDUCATE:

Teach the community the importance of dental care and how to care for the children’s teeth.

EMPOWER: Collaborate with the community to show them what they can do with their

resources to help keep the children healthy. INSPIRE: Mentor volunteers to make volunteerism

part of their career. REPEAT: Foster relationships with both the communities and volunteers to

create a lasting relationship by returning year after year.

Reza has given his time to projects in eight countries for fifteen years and usually travels on

three missions annually with all expenses coming out of his own pocket. The team takes with them all necessary equipment and supplies, including generators, much of it donated by the

dentists themselves. In an average two/three-week mission, often working out of rudimentary

and makeshift facilities, the team will treat up to 2,000 children.

Currently he is working with a team in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, where phosphate mines, an essential export commodity for the country, are ruining the teeth especially of children. Most of the local, shallow, traditional village wells, the only source of water, are contaminated by the runoff and

seepage from the mines. As a result, phosphate makes the childrens’ teeth turn black and soft.

Some of the pictures he showed me were sad and shocking.

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