40 UNDER 40 HONOREES

HITESH TOLANI

  • Boston
  • Virtudent

Age:

34

Name of Practice:

Virtudent

Specialty:

General dentistry

Education:

DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine


Why He Was Nominated

Dr. Tolani, a true entrepreneur, is revolutionizing the traditional dental practice by pairing mobile dentistry and telemedicine to create an award-winning model that makes delivery of oral health care more convenient and patient-centric. Virtudent, run by Dr. Tolani and a small team of oral-health specialists, sets up pop-up clinics in schools, workplaces and geriatric centers to provide basic phase-one preventative care, while remote dentists make diagnoses through telemedicine.

Inspiration

“My undergraduate training was in computer science, but one night I found myself debugging and talking to my screen. I knew at that moment I couldn’t program for the rest of my life,” Dr. Tolani says. “I was too much of a people person.” A childhood family friend was a dentist, and Dr. Tolani was attracted to the public-service aspect of the profession. “So I debugged my last code and decided to become a dentist.”

Sage Advice

“Think bigger. As dentists, our degrees are powerful; you can leverage them across industries to enhance our profession and your own career.”

Most Memorable Patient

“On a mission trip in Honduras I was speaking to a man about dietary habits to improve oral health. He told me he didn’t have the luxury to choose what he eats. That was a paradigm shift in my practice methods. I stopped telling patients what to do and started working with them
to decide what makes sense in their lifestyle to achieve better oral health.”