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Lead Dentist – Beverly Hills, CA

Get to Know
Dr. Joel L. Strom

With over 40 years of experience so far, Dr. Strom has a wealth of clinical expertise and talents to share with people in need. What matters most to him, though, is the friendships he’s developed with patients over time. Helping them overcome anxiety, feel genuinely comfortable in the dental office setting, and rebuilding their smiles in lasting ways is always a rewarding experience from beginning to end. Dr. Strom is also the founder of Same Day Dentist®. If you’d like to learn more about his background and education, just continue reading below.

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Why Did You Decide to Become a Dentist?

If Dr. Strom’s friends and family could have predicted his eventual profession in his younger years, dentistry would have been right at the bottom of the list, right alongside becoming the Center for the Los Angeles Lakers. He had a tremendous fear of his childhood dentist (who clearly hadn’t chosen the right occupation) so even if he had thought about being a dentist prior to that, any enthusiasm would have been squashed anyway. However, while attending the University of Southern California and working nearly full-time to pay his tuition, Dr. Strom became a test subject in a new mouth rinse study at the dental school. He had the time to touch and feel the instruments in an environment where he knew HE wasn’t going to be subjected to injections and drilling.

It gave him the chance to think about dentistry in another light. The positives started to sink in a bit, and he realized that there was a lot to like about the career – the artistic aspect, the hand-eye activity, and most importantly, the ability to help patients overcome fears and anxieties in a way his pediatric dentist never had. His mind was made up at that point, and the rest is history!

Where Did You Study Dentistry?

After completing his undergraduate degree in psychology at USC, Dr. Strom considered attending their dental school, only to decide to leave the comfy confines of his soon-to-be Alma Mater and study at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. He thoroughly enjoyed his experience there, met countless forward-thinking leaders, and served as the editor of the American Student Dental Association Journal. He also conducted research in dental fear and anxiety. Today, he still recruits new students for the school, as it remains a beacon of outstanding dental education.

Following graduation, Dr. Strom spent two years building his clinical skills in a large group practice. He then accepted an NIH Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Columbia University, where he earned his master’s in Human Nutrition. While in New York, he asked by New York Congressman, James Scheuer to organize and oversee a Congressional hearing on healthcare reform --- in 1982! So his interest in healthcare reform didn’t just start yesterday! His years at Columbia and Washington DC was the start of his life-long participation in translational research, education, public health policy and serving on public commissions and boards.

Dr. Strom has had a great deal of involvement in volunteer professional dental leadership, serving as President of his local dental society and on the Legislative Council at the California Dental Association. He was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson to the California State Dental Board, which is the body that oversees licensing, enforcement, and consumer safety. During those years, he and his colleagues were responsible for writing regulations and rewriting guidelines for infection control. At the conclusion of his terms on the Dental Board, he was asked to become the Director of Ethics at the USC School of Dentistry. Governor Wilson also appointed him to the Student Aid Commission where he promoted the creation of a loan repayment program for dentists who worked in underserved areas of California.

More recently, Dr. Strom was re-appointed by Governor Gerry Brown and completed a 12-year stint as a member of the California Science Center and the EXPO Park Board of Directors. Today, he serves on the Advisory Panel and oversees NIH funding for dental fellowships, research, and policy objectives. He is the only full-time practicing dentist in the country serving on this Panel at NIH.

Outside of the Dental Office,
What Do You Like to Do?

Dr. Strom was born and raised in Beverlywood by his parents, who were molded by their individual experiences with WWII and living through the Depression. His father was a veteran and took care of his own father’s small hydraulic jack equipment business and his mother, a vibrant 92-year-old, still drives, sings in the synagogue choir , and has sung Yiddish songs to people such as Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks. He has two younger sisters, one who is a social worker living in Seattle and the other, an executive producer for an international ad agency. Notably, they were known in the neighborhood and at school as the “three redheads” even though their parents did not have red hair!

Today, Dr. Strom has been married to Holly for over three decades. She is a consultant pharmacist and also served California as a member and President of the California State Pharmacy Board. Their daughter, Natalie lives in Alexandria, VA and is presently the Communications Director at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Their future son-in-law, Michael, also works in Communications as the Public Affairs Director for the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. Holly is anxiously awaiting the days when she can spoil some grandchildren!

As for personal hobbies, Dr. Strom used to be an avid long-distance runner, although a car running over his foot put an end to that passion. He has spent many a year at the LA Memorial Coliseum ever since he was five and first saw the Trojan Horse galloping at the Coliseum. Between USC football, the Olympic Games, Dodgers Baseball, finishing the LA Marathon or as an Expo Park Board member, it has always been a special place for him and his family.

He thoroughly enjoys participating on public boards/commissions and advisory panels too. It’s always rewarding to work with so many people of varying political and philosophical stripes who all want to find strategies to not only deal with present-day issues but also build a better future for one’s kids and grandkids.

Here’s an interesting fact about Dr. Strom: in his late 20’s as a post-doc, he worked with Colgate and a world-renowned dental salivary researcher to study low calcium/high phosphate diets (think McDonald’s) and how that affected bone/dental health. He realized that New World Monkeys (which are easier to handle and less costly) had gum disease, which his advisors didn’t believe at first. When he was able to show them evidence, they changed their preferred model and tested some mouth rinses for possible tartar reduction – and one of them proved to work! It later became the active ingredient in the first tartar control toothpaste, solidifying Dr. Strom’s lifetime contribution to the dental field.