20 Under 40 Award
Northwest Indiana Cosmetic Dentist, Dr. Jim Arnold Wins the 20 Under 40 Award
Good Work Rewarded with Smiles
Published Oct 5th, 2009
Dr. Jim Arnold
Smiles of Valparaiso & Associates
Office in Valparaiso
With his intense personal energy and passion and the ability to provide patients with beautiful smiles, Valparaiso dentist Jim Arnold loves what he does. “I was driven as a child and worked twice as hard at everything in order to excel and not just blend in with the crowd,” says Arnold. “Professionally, I get fired up when I have the opportunity to change a patient’s life with a smile makeover. Instilling newfound confidence for someone is very rewarding. Helping highly fearful patients overcome that is also inspiring.”
Arnold graduated from Valparaiso High School in 1988 where he was a four-time all-state runner, ran track and cross-country for Indiana, which he attended on a full academic scholarship, and graduated from Indiana University School of Dentistry in 1996. His career has been marked by a long list of accomplishments.
This included traveling to India in 2006 and 2007 as he launched with two colleagues the World Institute for Dental Education. It was there he lit the ceremonial “flame of knowledge” which represents wisdom. India has a large number of dentists but it lags behind the United States in dental technology and practice. He shared his expertise with more than 1,500 dentists in seven cities and reconstructed an upper arch for an impoverished female patient while Indian dentists observed.
“What is most striking about his character is kindness and humility,” says Mary Beth Schultz, Executive Director for The Caring Place, a non-profit serving the needs of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. “I asked how he manages to be so involved in the community with such a busy and thriving practice, he simply stated, ‘I want to pay it forward.’”
Indeed, Arnold’s career has also been marked by other countless acts of life-changing generosity and compassion. He and his team of volunteer for the Give Back A Smile Program through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. The program helps victims of domestic abuse. At no charge, Arnold performed about $37,000 worth of extensive dental restoration to a woman whose mouth was full of broken teeth because she’d been severely beaten by her boyfriend in 1999.
In 2008, Arnold provided Caring Place clients with dental makeovers. “It was such a boost to their spirits,” Schultz says. “Many hadn’t been to the dentist in years. One was experiencing so much difficulty she couldn’t eat.” The practice has also donated $8,000 in free dental work for the Give Kids A Smile program. The Smiles of Valparaiso Foundation formed in 2006 has donated over $30,000 to local organizations.
“He has demonstrated by his example that leadership should start early in a person’s career,” Schultz says. “Hopefully, by his example he will encourage other young leaders to promote a healthy community in Northwest Indiana for years to come.”
The greatest teachers in Arnold’s life have been his parents, high school coaches and wife. “My parents always said ‘the more you have, the more you have to give’ and I believe this to be true,” he says. “They instilled a strong work ethic and sense of spirituality at a young age. My wife teaches me daily how to be a better person. “My coaches taught me the value of hard work and determination and I learned as a teen that I had control over the level of success I would have in life.”
Arnold said dentistry was the perfect career choice because he could run his own business, build relationships with people, provide a valuable service and create a work schedule that allows him to spend time with his wife and four children. “But when I retire from dentistry one day, I hope to be remembered as someone who always did his best to provide excellent care, treat everyone fairly, and went above and beyond to exceed expectations,” he adds.
“I want our community to say ‘Wow—he went out of his way to make a difference for others.’”