All in the Family: Ortho Resident’s Patient is Her Dad

Things could get complicated when your daughter is your orthodontist, but for Nimish and Charmi Shah, the treatment process has been surprisingly easy.

Nimish and Charmi Shah

Her dad is the ideal patient, says Charmi, a resident in RSDM’s Department of Orthodontics.

“He wears his rubber bands,’’ she confirms. “He’s done a good job.’’

For much of his life, Nimish didn’t see the need for braces, and as a child, he had little access to dental care.

“He came to the U.S. from India when he was 16,’’ Charmi explains. “A lot of people in India at that time didn’t get braces. Orthodontics isn’t that common there, and his family didn’t have money for dental work.’’

Charmi helped her dad realize that gaps between his teeth and problems with alignment were contributing to the decay that eventually resulted in missing teeth. In February of 2020, he got braces and should be getting them off within the next several months, says Charmi.

Nimish has already seen benefits. “Now when I brush my teeth I see there isn’t a lot of food stuck there because I don’t have as much space between them. Ortho is something people should do. It’s not just about looking good,’’ he says.

A bright spot in treatment has been seeing his daughter shine as a medical professional. “I’m so proud of her,’’ he says, beaming.

“I like when people call me ‘doctor’ around him, “ Charmi admits.

Another perk is that Charmi makes house calls. Although her dad didn’t need much prodding to wear his rubber bands, she made frequent checks. “Whenever she came home she’d say, ‘dad, open your mouth,’’’ Nimish says with a laugh.

Treating her dad is has been Charmi’s way of repaying him for his love and support over the years. “It’s really rewarding, to give back to my dad in a way that’s possible for me,’’ she says.

But Charmi finds fulfillment in all of her cases.

“In ortho, I’ve learned that patients are really happy. They want to come see you, they want to get that smile fixed. It’s not like they come to you in pain. They come to you with aspirations,’’ she says. “I’m so happy with the career I chose.’’