After many years of service Dr. C Bonner Oates has retired. Taking his place at Anywhere Dental Care is Dr. Amir Vahdani. El Defensor Chieftain visited the office he is still settling in at to find out more.
Question: How did you get involved with this practice?
Answer: I always had a passion for serving people here in New Mexico. I applied online at multiple places. They contacted me, I checked out the town and now here I am. It felt like the right place to be.
Q: What types of services does your practice provide for patients?
A: Basic dental needs, cavities, dentures, root canals educating people on oral health. Dental emergencies such as tooth pulls or crowns.
Q: About how many patients do you treat on an average day?
A: I would say somewhere around 10-15 patients. We’ll have about that many scheduled and two to three walk-ins.
Q: Do you accept multiple forms of insurance?
A: We do, including Medicaid. We can handle all different types of insurance companies. My early experience with everyone here has been great both at the front desk and dental assistants. This is a very friendly atmosphere that can accommodate you.
Q: How has the transition coming here been so far?
A: Great, Dr. Oates has been very helpful and still comes in a few times a week. Some of the stuff you see in the office are his so maybe he’s having a bit of separation anxiety, not ready to fully leave. Which doesn’t bother me at all. He been doing this for more than 40 years. His knowledge of the old school dentistry combined with the new school which is what I know really gives a positive perspective for me.
Q: What is your dental background?
A: I got my undergrad Bachelor of Science degree at the University of New Mexico and chose dentistry as my field. New Mexico doesn’t have a specific dental school so I had to apply elsewhere. I earned my DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry) at the Arizona School of Dentistry and Health in Mesa, Arizona. I also received a Master’s of Public Health.
Q: Do you plan on continuing your education throughout your career?
A: Definitely. There’s specialized courses and training programs that take place year round all over the country. They can be individual or more broad programs. For example if a dentist wants to learn complexed root canals and things like that.
Q: Were you born and raised in New Mexico?
A: I’m originally from Washington, D.C. When I was 15 my family moved to New Mexico for better job opportunities. We started off in rural and northern areas of New Mexico. I had an early internship in Penasco. I like living in smaller towns and helping people in those areas.
Q: What was the transition like going from D.C. to smaller towns in this state
A: It was tough. I was in the ninth grade so obviously I had to leave a lot of my friends. The people are very different. It was almost like moving to a different country. D.C. was so much more of a melting pot. The intimate relationship you can have here and places like this really stuck with me as I’ve grown up.
Q: Having spent a bit of time at this office, do you feel as though this is a stepping stone or potential longterm place of employment?
A: I’m happy and really love my surroundings. I don’t see it as a stepping stone at all. But I also don’t like to plan my life out that far. I don’t have a family of my own at the moment so right now this is perfect for me. We’ll see what the future has in store if I do eventually start a family.
Q: A few random questions. What is your favorite movie?
A: The answer I always had growing up was “Forrest Gump”. That’s the basic movie about experience with the back drop of all of these historical instances and how Forrest impacted so many people’s lives.
Q: What is your favorite type of music?
A: Growing up it was a lot of rap and hip-hop like 50 Cent. A big influence from my dad that still sticks with me is Pink Floyd. The instrumentals are just amazing and very relaxing for me. Queen is another big one. It’s a shame because a lot of the best music ever ... the artists are dead.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
A: My friends know me as the sports guy. I love watching sports. Football is my favorite because every play matters, but I also love basketball, soccer and hockey. I played football and basketball in high school.
Q: Is there a moment in life that stands out as the most meaningful?
A: Graduating dental school. My parents were so proud of me being able to finish that rigorous program. That feeling of making them so happy for me was amazing, especially because they don’t show a lot of emotion typically.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A: If we’re in fantasy land and I have $20 million then probably some place beautiful like Italy or one of the European countries.
Q: If there was something that you could change about Socorro, what would it be?
A: I would broaden my answer not just to Socorro but everywhere in New Mexico, and that’s the education system. We need more solid foundations in schools so that kids can believe in themselves more. Giving kids more hope and encouragement to believe in their capabilities and opportunities.
Anywhere Dental Care, LLC. Is located at 210 Neel Ave and open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with special appointments available some Saturdays.