Female Disrupters: How Dr. Maryam Bakhityari is Shaking Up the Orthodontic Industry
Written by Authority Magazine - First Published on Medium.com
Be the best version of yourself, love and accept every perfection and imperfection of your body, and to be proud of your individuality and uniqueness. I believe beauty starts from the inside and everyone is beautiful in their own way.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Maryam Bakhtiyari, D.D.S. Board Certified Dentist and Founder of BLAfit™. Dr. Maryam is highly qualified in the field of functional orthodontics, TMJ, Sleep Apnea with over 15 years of post graduate studies and experience in those areas. She has been trained by some of the world renowned orthodontists and experts in the field of orthodontics and TMJ. In April of 2008, she became the first woman in the world that have ever become the Diplomate of International Board of Orthodontics. That will place her in the top 10% in the world. Her non-invasive treatment will separate her from the traditional orthodontists who will still extract teeth and use headgears, or treat with surgical intervention.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path? We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Myfather has always been my spiritual mentor and Wiseman. My journey to dental school was due mainly to his advice and support. I always knew that being a healer in the medical field was my passion, but never thought of dentistry as an option. Right after my Bachelors degree from UCLA, I met my father in Germany and spent a long week with him talking about different fields and he convinced me that since art and hand work was one of my talents, dentistry would be a great option for me. Additionally, not only would I be able to help and heal people, but I also get to use my artistic talent on daily basis to create beautiful smiles.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
For years I created custom orthopedic retainers for patients of all ages suffering from mal-alignment of the upper and lower jaw. This allowed me to create beautiful broad smiles, improve the patency of their airway and free of Temporomandibular joints disorder.
My treatment was different from traditional orthodontics because it adapted a holistic approach to fix a crowded smile and bad posture. Even a patient who suffered from movement disorders caused by misalignment of upper and lower jaw, could use this treatment. Orthodontic treatment creates Beautiful smiles, but due to our modern diet, for example, juicing instead of chewing and fast food rich in Carbohydrates to mention few, etc., our facial muscles were sagging as a consequence. Since the functional orthodontic treatment does not solve facial muscular issues, I knew there was a need to create an appliance that was able to fill that gap, balance, harmonize facial muscles, lift the cheekbones, tighten the neck muscles and even plump up the lips while firming the face. I invented the BLAfit™ (Bella Lips Appliance®) device, tested and patented it. Results can only be obtained by daily facial exercise with the device, but if done daily it will deliver precise and effective built-in resistance, bringing out your best self.
The idea of a inventing a non-invasive and inexpensive facial device equivalent to a facelift will definitely be a disruptive to the cosmetic industry and deliver mind blowing results! It is revolutionary to the cosmetic industry to see a transformation of the facial outline, jawline, and lips that are better and more esthetically youthful in appearance without an invasive procedure or looking fake!
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
The first important piece of advice is to always believe in yourself and have self-confidence. For an immigrant who came to this country at 15, it was very challenging to be able to fit in at a new high school. However, because of my upbringing and the self confidence that my father had instilled in me as a child, I was able to flourish in my high school and later in my career.
Secondly, I always remember where I came from and who was with me from the beginning. Often when someone succeeds in their career, they tend to forget where they came from and become separated from their roots. My parents always told me to be humble and never let money or success change my values, which I think is very important.
Thirdly, always stay focused and follow through with your ideas! As a child, my parents taught me to always finish a project I started. This lesson has been a game changer for me and my career. I tried my best to teach my kids the same and how to be able to stay focused.
How are you going to shake things up next?
In today’s society, social media has made a detrimental impact on young females by pressuring them to look like social media influencers. These young females all look the exact same, as if they were cloned from the same factory. To achieve the look they undergo: heavy makeup, micro-bladed eyebrows, Botox injections, lip fillers, facial cosmetic enhancements, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, liposuction, and many other procedures. These trends have created young individuals to have a low self-esteem and self-confidence. Social media has shifted the perception of what a ‘natural female’ should look like. My philosophy has always been to be the best version of yourself, love and accept every perfection and imperfection of your body, and to be proud of your individuality and uniqueness. I believe beauty starts from the inside and everyone is beautiful in their own way.
Due to this dangerous trend, I decided to start a movement called the “Natural Me Movement.” This movement is to teach and educate everyone to love themselves and to be the best version of themselves. In order to naturally look your best, you need to eat healthy, practice your spirituality, and exercise your body and your face.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
My favorite author was Deepak Chopra and the book “The seven spiritual laws of success.” I read this book right after graduating from dental school and it reminded me of the advice my dad gave me as a child. The power of pure potentiality is my favorite law of success and has helped me stay true to myself and have no fear of rejection by others.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
One of my life goals is to be able to bring awareness at a national level for airway screening for the elementary students alongside their vision and hearing screening.
We screen every child in public and private schools for vision and hearing since those two senses effect the performance of the children, however there isn’t much being done to check to see if a child can breathe or not. If a child has collapsed or narrowed upper airway either due to big tonsils or upper jaw distortion then he or she cannot stay focused in school and may be hyperactive. Thus it is very crucial for children to be screened at early age so they can be given the gift of oxygenation and unnecessary medications.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life lesson quote is to “never give-up on your dreams.” When I was studying to become board certified and diplomat of International Board of Orthodontics, a male dominant society, I had all the preparations and cases to present and was ready for the written test. I passed the written test on the first time, but the case presentation was not accepted based on some unreasonable excuses. A few months later, I attempted it again and failed. I was sure by then that the male dominant society was not accepting of a female to be in the highest tier. As someone who never gives up, and always is outspoken, I prepared again, registered for the test and this time, I returned victories. I became the first female diplomat and board certified of International Board of Orthodontics since then. This situation was a true testimony of perseverance.
Thank you for all of these great insights!
Read this article where it was first published on Medium.com