“I wanted to be a dancer. Yes, I really wanted to be on stage in musical theater,” said Dr. Simi Silver.
However, after pain ended her dreams of dance, a series of unchoreographed yet focused steps led Dr. Simi Silver, DDS, into dentistry.
“I went to college and earned a degree in biotechnology after realizing how much I loved biology. I graduated at the top of the school of engineering technology,” she explained.
On her own, by age 17, Dr. Silver took on temporary jobs to keep herself in school. Upon graduation, someone asked her if she would consider medical or dental school. She chose dentistry.
“I like being active and doing procedures, so I applied to dental school at Toronto University and got in after my second year at university. Now I’ve been practicing for 26 years, for 20 years in Ottawa alone,” she shared.
Dr. Silver & Son
Dr. Silver runs Silver Dental Centre, her own practice in Ottawa. She offers her patients various preventive and cosmetic services, including standard dental procedures, implants, prosthodontics and the Wand (i.e., an anesthetic).
Dr. Silver is active in several professional dental organizations. She is also the single mom of five children. One highlight she is looking forward to is that her son Maxwell may join her practice. He is currently completing a residency in Edmonton, having just graduated dental school.
“He always wanted to be a dentist, so I must have inspired him. He will be joining me in a year,” she shared.
Sleep, Airways and Dentistry
Dr. Silver enjoys owning her practice.
“You get to call your own shots. I get to decide what I’m going to do. I wouldn’t have that flexibility in someone else’s practice,” she explained.
What Dr. Silver decided to take on is sleep apnea and other airway issues related to dentistry. She found inspiration within her own family, namely in her son Maxwell.
“He’s 26 and fit as a fiddle. And yet, he was just diagnosed with sleep apnea. It is an epidemic, and we need to screen people,” she said.
Dr. Silver is spreading the word to promote screening. For her, this has been fun, knowing that she is helping and addressing such an important issue.
“It’s exciting even just to screen. I’m getting together a little airway presentation for local dentists emphasizing the importance of screening both kids and adults,” she shared.
Dr. Silver points out that patients need information and to be educated about their health. This way, they can participate in their own healthcare.
“I have an older patient, for example, who has sleep apnea,” Dr. Silver recalled. “I started screening and asking these questions. He was a particularly fussy man — very educated, had grandkids — and became highly educated about his health.”
Dr. Silver is active in Airway Circle, an organization that maintains a free directory of providers who promote airway health. It makes important information and links to healthcare providers available and connects providers through a platform where they can discuss and learn more about breathing, craniofacial growth and myofunctional disorders.
The Mouth and Body Connection
Dr. Silver stresses that the mouth is a big part of the body and its overall health.
“I always try to remind people that the mouth is connected to their body,” she explained. “Oral health is part of general health, and learning about the oral complex is important.”
Some mouth bacteria can bring about disease. If a patient neglects good oral hygiene, tooth decay and gum disease quickly follow. The resulting infections can spread to other body parts and promote other diseases.
Dr. Silver uses laser treatments on some of her patients. For example, a cold laser is an ideal tool to release tongue and lip ties in babies. She uses the Waterlase cold laser, which combines the laser energy with water spray to carry out dental procedures more comfortably.
“I love lasers and encourage other dentists to look into them. It’s a worthwhile investment if you know how to use it well,” she shared.
The People She Treats
Dr. Silver values the people she treats and the interesting lives they lead. And she is willing to reach out when needed.
“I had one man whom I’d been seeing for years,” she recalled. “A super quiet man. And I could tell something wasn’t right. He started crying in my chair and said he hadn’t been out in months since his dad died. He was in a deep depression. So I decided to support and follow him, give him a shout. This was an exceptional circumstance.”
Another patient worked for the Canadian version of the CIA.
“It was cool finding out all the countries they’d been in,” she recalled. “They wouldn’t tell me about some of the places, though. The interesting things people did over the years also would inspire me. It’s always fascinating and a real privilege to have these people trust me.”
For Dr. Silver, part of the privilege of her job is getting to know all these really cool people.
Dancing to the Music of Your Own Journey
Dr. Silver found her way to dentistry along a winding path, successfully connecting with each patient while providing excellent service.
“I try to live by good values, by integrity,” she shared. “Nobody wakes up in the morning saying, ‘Woohoo! I’m going to the dentist!’ So I try to make them as comfortable as possible. That’s the biggest part of it. They’re given good service and accurate information. They trust me. So I go to a lot of continuing education programs to stay up to date.”
Each day, Dr. Silver performs for each patient a dance that balances science and humanity. Every step completes a choreography designed to restore full function and excellent health.