I grew up in Claremore’s Oakwood addition, and we had three dentists on my block. I could literally throw a rock (not that I would) and hit the homes of Drs. Battle, Reed, and Henry. (Note: They all handed out toothbrushes on Halloween, and Dr. Henry gave out dimes.)
Now, after nearly 40 years of practicing dentistry, Dr. John Henry has retired. His office, located at the corner of Sioux and Blue Starr, has been renamed Oakwood Family Dentistry, and the new guy in charge is Dr. Tygran Pahlevanyan, or “Dr. Pahle” (Pauly), for short.
I met Dr. Pahle on one previous occasion, when I was at another dental office in town for a checkup. Before he set up shop at Oakwood Family Dentistry, he worked part-time for Dr. Ali Torabi at Flawless Smile. He has a quiet, gentle demeanor that puts patients at ease, and he’s got gorgeous teeth, which is a good sign in a dentist.
Dr. Pahle is originally from Armenia, which has been a Christian nation since 300AD, and was in fact the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion. When he was 13, his native country was in crisis, and his parents knew that moving the family to America was the best option for their kids. They scored a green card in a lottery, sold everything they owned, and the family of five moved to Syracuse, New York: Dr. Pahle, his twin brother, and his sister, older by two years. All three kids were placed in the 9th grade, and none of them spoke English. It worked out well for them, as the sister is a pharmacist in Tulsa and the twin brother is currently in dental school.
Dr. Pahle entered college at 16 at SUNY Buffalo, majoring in biomedical sciences and carrying a 4.0 GPA. Not too shabby for a kid who didn’t speak English five years earlier. He continued on with dental school at Buffalo and graduated at 25.
In New York, dentists are required to complete a residency program, which Dr. Pahle didn’t choose to do. He preferred to jump in and get to work. After watching the Friends episode where Chandler gets transferred to Tulsa and spotting a job opening for the same city two days later, he figured there may be something to it. He took the job in Tulsa, but before he started work, he backpacked around Europe solo for a month.
He worked hard in Tulsa, but the office wasn’t terribly busy, so he jumped at the opportunity to moonlight at other offices on the weekends, including Dr. Torabi’s in Claremore. He liked the community and the people, and the easy-going, family-oriented environment. When the opportunity to take the reins at Dr. Henry’s office came about, he took it in a heartbeat.
Oakwood Family Dentistry is one of three offices, and they’re known as a group practice. It’s the new trend in dentistry, as private dental offices are becoming a thing of the past. Thanks to the rising costs of student loans, the group practice method offers young dentists a chance to run their own practice, while being an investor, but not completely responsible for the finances.
Some of Dr. Henry’s staff has stayed on, so if you’re a former patient of his, you’ll recognize some familiar faces, including Debbie, Cassey, and Angie. Currently, there are nine employees on staff. A lot of upgrades have happened recently, especially with technology. New educational and diagnostic tools are being used to help assess patients more accurately. There has also been a significant update to the x-ray equipment.
Oakwood Family Dentistry offers all of the typical fun dental services, like fillings and cleaning and root canals, but also gum disease therapy, deep cleaning, implants, dentures, and clear braces.
Kids are welcome at Oakwood, and Dr. Pahle is seeing a lot of new younger patients come through the doors.
Dr. Pahle is excited about his future in Claremore. He’s eager to get involved in the community, and he loves meeting his new patients and friends. If you’re in the market for a new dentist, consider Oakwood Family Dentistry, located at 1408 N. Sioux in Claremore.