What do a dentist, a soldier, and a professor have in common? A lot when you consider they are the same person. Dr. Maya, Colonel Maya, and Professor Maya has made an interesting, trans-continental journey that has led him to a pleasant life and practice in the Keys.
Born in Colombia, some friends encouraged Alvaro Maya to go into dentistry. Getting to work with his hands while helping people appealed to him, so he took their advice and earned his degree. But he certainly didn’t stop there.
Soon after, he was accepted into Boston University’s prestigious Goldman School of Graduate Dentistry, where he gained not one, not two, but three more acronyms after his name: CAGS, MScD, and DMD. In short, all of those letters mean he has a Masters and medical degree in dentistry, plus advanced certification in Prosthodontics. Prosthodontics is where his passion lies, which he discovered during his first semester of graduate school. This specialty
focuses on dental prostheses, which treats complex dental and facial matters.
“I became a dentist because I like to work with my hands and wanted to help people,” Dr. Maya says, “but then I discovered the artistry in Prosthodontics and I loved it.” After he graduated with his many degrees, Dr. Maya opened his own practice in Massachusetts and was also an Assistant Clinical Professor at both Boston University and Tufts University.
However, Dr. Maya’s passion for helping people through dentistry isn’t limited to a cushy office in a nice town. In 2001, for reasons we can assume based on the year, Dr. Maya enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves. He served on two deployments to Iraq and is still serving today, 21 years later. “This country has been good to me, and supporting our soldiers is my way of doing my part to help and say thank you.”
As a dentist in the Army, Dr. Maya is Colonel Maya, and he provides the much-needed dental care our soldiers need. When deployed, Colonel Maya provided preventative care, common treatments, and emergency dental services to our soldiers, as well as coalition forces, including Romania and Great Britain. Stateside, he does the same for our reservists.
After practicing in Massachusetts for over 20 years, Dr. Maya moved to Florida in 2010. He didn’t truly feel at home, though, until he moved to the Keys in 2016. Here, he says, he feels like he belongs to the community.
The Keys community has become his extended family, composed of his co-workers and patients. He enjoys running into his patients at the local spots and spending time with his colleagues out of the office. You’ll spot a “Gone Fishing” or “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” sign on the door when he’s left for the day to spend time with his wife, kids, and any visiting family.
The Keys is a mellow and family-oriented atmosphere, and Dr. Maya believes specialized dental care should be the same way. He’s made that vision a reality by recruiting several specialized dentists, including a pediatric dentist, orthodontist, a root canal specialist, and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Combined with his prosthodontics specialty, Overseas Dental is truly a multispecialty dental practice.
Dr. Maya brought this hand-picked team together under one roof so they can consult each other and provide the best, all-around care for their patients. “When I became a dentist over 30 years ago,” Dr. Maya says, “my goal was to ease my patients’ pain and boost their confidence and everything else that goes along with creating a happy, healthy smile. That was my goal then and still is today.”
– Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.