Dr. Irvin Silverstein

Dr. Silversten received his dental degree with honors from Northwestern University in 1978. After completing a residency in general practice and hospital dentistry at UCLA, he helped start the USC County Hospital Dental Program and worked in the LA coroner’s office as a forensic dental expert. Dr. Silverstein completed a periodontic specialty program at USC School of Dentistry along with a Masters of Education and was in private practice specializing in periodontics in La Mesa, California from 1982 to 2009. In June 2016, he was awarded with a Doctor of Humane Letters from A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health.

He is a member of many dental societies and Past President of the San Diego County Periodontal Association (1997-2011). In 2003, Dr. Silverstein joined the faculty and steering committee for the Southwestern college dental hygiene program.

Dr. Silverstein is currently a Voluntary Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Family and Public Health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Since 2003, he has served as the Dental Advisor/Director for the UCSD Student –Run Free Dental Clinic Project and the UCSD Pre-Dental Society. The Free Dental Clinic Project operates four free dental clinics that deliver care to the poor and underserved within San Diego County. One free dental clinic is in partnership with the San Diego County Dental Health Foundation. The free dental clinic at Veteran’s Village opened three and a half years ago to serve homeless and underserved veterans. These clinics have provided over 11.4 million dollars of comprehensive dental care to the underserved. Under Dr. Silverstein’s leadership, the Free Dental Clinics and Pre-Dental Society’s programs have expanded tremendously and received national recognition. A fifth clinic is currently being planned.

Scores of students have benefited from his mentorship and the experiences he affords them within the UCSD Pre-Dental Society. Over 1250 students who are now either in dental school or have graduated from dental school, have been exposed to the idea of giving back to their community and participating in humanitarian efforts. They saw first-hand how obtaining care at a free clinic can transform people’s lives. Providing dentures, partials and restorations to can improve self-esteem and the ability to obtain employment and become a contributing member of society.

Since 2006, Dr. Silverstein has assisted the US Navy in their humanitarian efforts by putting pre-dental students, dental professionals, other health care professionals, engineers and students in these fields on board Navy ships including the USNS Mercy and the USNS Comfort Hospital Ships which bring care to some of the poorest countries in the world. Dr. Silverstein also works with numerous organizations such as the Rotarian’s Thousand Smiles and Norcal Project, Bright Island Outreach, and Caribbean Health Outreach which afford the pre-dental students and others opportunities to be involved with humanitarian assistance. He is also a charter and board member of the Alliance for Oral Health Across Borders, an organization trying to achieve peace through oral health care and education.

Dr. Silverstein has received numerous awards for his outstanding leadership and humanitarian efforts including the ADA Access to Dental Care Award and two ADA Golden Apple Awards, the Humanitarian Award from the American Academy of Periodontology, the Alpha Omega Trudi Berger International Community Service Award, the 2010 California Dental Association Humanitarian of the Year Award, and the 2011 San Diego Public Health Champion Award. In 2016, Dr. Silverstein was awarded with a Doctor of Humane letters from A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, and in 2018 he was awarded the President’s Medallion Distinguished Service Award from A.T. Stull University of the Health Sciences, and a Resolution from the California State Senate. Finally, Dr. Silverstein was honored by the San Diego County Dental Society in 2018 with an award that is named in his honor, and he was named one of the 2019 Live Well San Diego Public Health Champions.

Dr. Silverstein resides in San Diego, California with his wife of 33 years, Donna who is a Professor of Epidemiology at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. They have two daughters: Sarah who is a pediatric dentist practicing in Chula Vista and Poway, and Sharona who is a recent graduate from Cal Poly Pomona. When not working, Dr. Silverstein enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, traveling, gardening, cooking, going to baseball games and many other hobbies.