A few questions for the doctor. . .
Susan Fallahi, DDS
Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
You were born in Cincinnati, graduated from dental school at The Ohio State University, then completed your pediatric dental residency right here in New Orleans at LSU. That’s quite a change for a midwestern girl. Tell me a little about how you ended up in The Big Easy.
My husband and I met in Ohio. We came down here to check out the program and knew right away this was going to be our home. That was almost ten years ago. Both my kids are New Orleanians now. Guess that means we are, too.
Now you’re running a successful pediatric dental clinic right in Uptown. How’s that going?
Our patients and parents are amazing. I really feel like the community has embraced me and I hope they feel the same way.
With all you have going on, I’m sure it’s difficult to keep up with the latest advancements and fancy new gizmos in the field. Have you been able to find the time?
I keep memberships in a lot of organizations to stay up-to-date. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, The American Dental Association, and The Louisiana Dental Association to name a few. It’s important to follow the latest research. The parents want to know that I’m providing the most informed care for their kids. I would want that for mine.
You work hard, that’s obvious. What’s your guilty pleasure? How do you blow off steam?
Nintendo. I rule at Super Mario.
We all have our vices.
. . . and the team!
Front DeskWhen someone walks through that front door, you’re the first person they see. Essentially, you're the face of the company. Is that a lot of pressure?
If it is, I don’t notice it. When someone comes in I’m just like "Hey! How are you?" or "Have a seat!" Something like that.
That’s a lot of enthusiasm.
That’s just me.
You’ve been around the block, but this is your first front desk job at a top-notch pediatric dental office. How’d you land the gig? Must have been some interview.
To be honest, I can’t remember. I was too pumped. I love this stuff.
I’m sure a position like this takes a unique individual. Not everyone is a people person. If you had to pick one job from your past that you pull the most inspiration from, what would it be?
Little league umpire.
LAURA WATTIGNEY, RDH
You have a reputation for being great with the kids. That’s not always the easiest thing. Does that get tough at times?
Not when you love it. These kids are so much fun.
I’m sure they appreciate the positive attitude. And the parents.
You have to stay positive in this business. If the kids see you having a bad day, then they’ll have a bad day. Nobody wants that.
Did you always want to be a hygienist?
I started out assisting for an oral surgeon, but I was always drawn to children. I majored in elementary education in college. Uptown Pediatric Dentistry was right up my alley. Plus, I hate corn.
You hate corn?
Corn is a hygienist’s worst enemy. Gets all stuck everywhere.
LAURIE BOUDREAUX, RDH
I think you win the gold for the most experience in the office. You must have picked up a few things along the way.
That’s what happens when you spend twenty years assisting and another nine as a hygienist. You learn a lot.
So you’re kind of like the office matriarch?
You better watch yourself.
Just kidding. I like being the mentor type. I spend most of my time with kids. I’m a band mom.
What’s a band mom?
A mom that works too hard, but loves it. I set up fundraisers, order uniforms, supplies. If there’s an event for my son’s school, I’m involved.
How do you keep it all together?
Tacos and margaritas.
This isn’t the first time you’ve worked with Dr. Susan, is it?
I was her assistant on the North Shore for three years. When she came down to this side of the lake, I followed.
Wow, a long commute. That’s loyalty.
I love my Dr. Susan! I think it’s important to have strong relationships with the doctor and the staff. If it feels like a family, then the patients will notice. Makes it that much more fun to come to work. We have a great time together.
You’ve been an assistant for close to 27 years. Did you ever try anything else? Or, did you know early on this was what you wanted to do?
I was a substitute teacher…for a day.
That’s not a long time. Wasn’t your thing?
The way I see it, it led me right where I’m supposed to be.
That’s a good way to look at it. Any hobbies?
I went hunting with my husband once, but I scared away the ducks because I was eating too many Doritos.
That’ll do it.