I was born and raised in Carlsbad in the square mile between my childhood home, the Carlsbad school system, and our Carlsbad dental office. I am happy to have the opportunity to return to and practice in the community that I love. Some patients may even remember me as the platinum blond kid running around the dental office, or maybe held me to keep me from crying hysterically as I was known for being a sensitive baby. I understand it may be difficult seeing me in the dental office now a bit taller and wearing a white coat, but we all know that the “old” Dr. Bell will never retire, so patients now have the benefit of two Dr. Bells. Everyday, I am asked when I decided to “follow in my dad’s footsteps” and become a dentist. Perhaps it seemed inevitable to most people, but growing up I was unaware that dentistry would become my future. Nor did I have a single “ah ha” moment that dentistry would become my life’s passion. Rather, my decision to become a dentist and practice in Carlsbad came from an accumulation of life experiences and my desire to contribute and help people. Sure, I have been surrounded by dentistry my entire life. I have been my dad’s on call dental assistant since I was old enough to hold a suction, and have distinct memories of coming into the dental office on weekends to help patients in pain and even some of my friends that had broken their teeth.
As a child growing up around our Carlsbad dental office, I did not have the fearful and sometimes painful introduction to dentistry that many people remember of their childhood. Rather, I saw my dad interacting with patients every day and having a good time doing it. Laughter was a more common noise than the drill, and it felt good to be a part of such a positive experience for patients. In addition to being surrounded by dentistry in Carlsbad, our family vacations often involved distributing hundreds of toothbrushes and providing oral hygiene instruction to children at local schools in under served regions in Costa Rica, a tradition we continue today.
After graduating from Carlsbad High school in 2002, I attended UCSB for 5 years, graduated with high honors with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society. More importantly, I met my beautiful next door neighbor and love of my life, Kristina, and we have been inseparable since. While I thoroughly enjoyed my time at UCSB and would have stayed as long as I could, they told me I had to graduate because I had too many units. I struggled with the decision to enter medicine or dentistry, but after spending a lot of time in hospitals with a friend that was battling cancer, I knew that I was not emotionally cut out to deal with life and death decisions on a daily basis. What I did know through my experiences growing up was that I could have a positive impact on people through dentistry, so I decided to apply to dental school.
I attended UCLA School of Dentistry for the past four years, the same dental school my father graduated from, and recently graduated in June 2012. My goal at UCLA was to work as hard as I possibly could to be the best dentist that I could be. I was selected by the Chair of the Division of Restorative Dentistry to participate in an accelerated program aimed at developing general dentists, and received the Academy of Operative Dentistry Award, UCLA School of Dentistry Award for Excellence in Restorative Dentistry, and UCLA School of Dentistry Award for Excellence in the Section of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. In addition, I was inducted into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) National Honor Society, which is awarded to the top 10% of graduating students. The recognition was nice, but my motivation was always simply to work hard to be the best dentist that I could be so that I could provide patients with the best care possible.
When I’m not in the dental office you can find me surfing, playing tennis, snowboarding in Mammoth, or walking around Carlsbad with my wife and our dog, Charger, who we have to make sure is always living the dream. I look forward to meeting you in the future.