Columbia Dental’s Story
I have found a truth that only love changes all things.
For this, I return to a day in my childhood: I was a 9-year-old with a horrendous tooth pain – on a weekend; that meant there was no available dentist, so no cure. I held my mom’s hand and we went throughout the neighborhood, in my home country of Iran, and knocked on every dental office door. At every single door, we waited and waited, but there was no answer. I tried to stop my tears because, even as a 9-year-old boy, I felt something heavy in my mom’s heart that transcended my own tooth ache. Today, as a father, I understand that distressing pain was love, seeing your child in desperation because what should be an essential service, dentistry, was clearly not. As a mother she did not give up, and toward the end of the day, she found a dentist who relieved our pain – mine physical, her’s emotional.
On that day of suffering, Columbia Dental was born – at least in my imagination. It formed the dentist I am today, open 7 days a week so that I would never see a mother like mine in distress.
After the 1979 revolution that disparaged my country, I moved to Greece. However, I did not have the means to achieve my childhood dream there, even as licensed dentist. To achieve it, I moved to the United States, this land of opportunity, in 1990 following the guidance of my renowned professor in Basic Sciences, Anthony Trakatelis. After five arduous years, I graduated from dental school a second time, from Columbia University. While becoming a dentist twice in my life, learning two languages (Greek and English), and being a stranger almost everywhere I go, I have never forgotten my mom’s distress – the very reason I have come this far. I followed my dream to Greece and the United States, adopting my ethos from Paulo Coelho’s quote: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” This is how I went on to become a dentist – with the fundamental belief anyone can achieve anything, as long as they try hard enough.
In 1998, I moved from New York to Connecticut and started working at a dental practice. While there, I gave the owner an “impossible idea” of staying open on weekends, but he thought that it would be impractical, stating it would be “too hard” to find staff willing to work on weekends. After a while, I opened my own practice that proved him all too wrong. It was 700 square feet and open seven days a week, with late hours. It is the same model I follow today, twenty years later.
Today, Columbia Dental has sixteen offices throughout Connecticut, from New Milford to New London, and since 2000 we have treated more than 200,000 patients. I even followed this model throughout the pandemic when ER rooms were full of dental emergencies, always trying to give back to the community. The story of Columbia Dental began when I was a 9-year-old child with intolerable tooth pain, holding my mother’s loving hand. I directed my passion with reason, and am now privileged of owning and operating Connecticut’s only private dental practice that offers all specialties seven days a week, to all ages.
I am incredibly proud to see what I do as providing to my community, specifically to all parents who must not suffer finding their child an open dental practice – every day with late hours and on weekends. This is my story – Columbia Dental’s story.
Abbas Mohammadi, D.D.S.
Owner and Founder of Columbia Dental