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Community Highlights: Meet Holleh Tajalli of Canton Smile Studio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Holleh Tajalli.

Holleh, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I grew up in Ellicott City, MD and graduated from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. I have lived in Baltimore since dental school and loved it so much that I never left! I’ve practiced all over Maryland, from Havre de Grace to Annapolis to Laurel. For years, practice ownership has been my dream: to build an office where my team members are loved and appreciated, to create an experience of comfort, fun, and trust for our patients, and to practice dentistry at the highest level that I can. In 2018, I decided to commit to my city, to my community, and build an office in Baltimore City.

From conception to opening day, it took ten months to build what is now Canton Smile Studio. We opened in late October 2019 with two patient rooms and three staff members total (myself included), all of us Canton residents, all of us committed to serving our neighbors and community. The response was unexpected; people started getting excited to come see us time and time again, they told their friends and neighbors about us, we started getting amazing google reviews, we heard story after story of how our patients previously avoided the dentist due to past trauma or fear of judgment and how we were able to make them feel safe in our office. Slowly, our beautiful office started to become something.

Four months into our journey of slow growth and improvement, the world shut down due to COVID-19. Our office was forced to close for seven weeks. This was a time filled with anxiety and fear for all of us. Would we be able to see our emergency patients without risking their health and our staff’s health? Would we ever get back to serving our community and their essential dental needs? Would our business survive at all?

After we were given confirmation that dentistry is an essential public service and as such, needed to continue to operate in a national state of emergency, the rebuilding began. Countless purchases for personal protective equipment, hours of staff training on new sanitation procedures, keeping up with ever-changing and inconsistent guidelines from the CDC and American Dental Association, we had to do it all in order to reopen as quickly as possible. Our patients needed continued dental care, and keeping our staff and patients safe was our number one priority while meeting these needs.

It’s been a year since that time and we are still managing COVID-19 concerns, but we have rebounded as quickly as possible. Today, we are a team of six with five functional patient rooms and are able to offer more services to improve patient experience, education, and overall dental health. The community support during this time has been tremendous. These people build up their small businesses and we are forever thankful for that.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Our patients have always been a blessing, we have the nicest patients in the WORLD. We still have the three original team members but adding staff has been a challenge. Personality and team dynamics are very important in our office; our team members work together and respect each other. Our patients can feel this and know that they’re being taken care of by happy and kind people. Finding these people that fit into our culture of hard work, comradery, and servitude to our patients has proven time-consuming in the current employment market.

Patients are still cautious about coming in, we have to ensure them about our safety protocols that are in place for everyone’s benefit.

We’ve been impressed with Canton Smile Studio, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am a general dentist and I focus heavily on maintenance of oral health, Invisalign teeth straightening, and cosmetic dentistry. Our office has the most up to date and advanced technology of any office in Baltimore City, we pride ourselves on having the latest innovations in order to best help our patients. Brand-wise, this office is focused on relationship-building with our patients; every plan is customized to what the patient needs/desires and we fit it into their cosmetic, clinical, functional, and financial goals.

What matters most to you?
My team matters to me most. I love them. They carry us and they take the absolute best care of our patients. I could not ask for better people and am blessed beyond belief. Without them, I would not be able to provide the quality of patient experience and clinical dentistry that I do.

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