Meet Dr. Heng Lim
Dr. Lim became the first Cambodian-American to graduate from dental school in the United States in 1994. His story, however, began long before then.
Dr. Lim started a new life when he arrived in the United States after fleeing the killing fields of Cambodia at the age of 14. Although he had no formal education up to that point, he excelled in his early studies and graduated at the top of his class. Dr. Lim then went on to study dentistry at the University of Oklahoma where he won numerous awards including “The Asian-American Outstanding Professional, Multicultural Achievement Award” in 1993–94. Dr. Lim also conducted medical research on bone growth during his time at dental school.
After graduating from dental school in 1994, Dr. Lim was accepted into the prestigious trauma residency program at Hennepin Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Only four doctors out of 500 were selected for this residency program. Dr. Lim and his wife Rachel turned down this opportunity, however, in favor of moving to Oologah, OK to start a dental practice.
Three years later, they moved the practice to Owasso and established Life Smiles of Owasso as we know it today.
Dr. Lim’s Post-Graduate Education
Dr. Lim’s studies continued beyond basic dental school education. He pursued advanced training in the placement and restoration of dental implants at Baylor College of Dentistry. Dr. Lim also studied neuromuscular dentistry, physiological dentistry, facial growth, and Controlled Arch orthodontics at the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies (LVI), earning his fellowship at that institution. His LVI education has shaped his unique approach to orthodontic treatment and has qualified him to treat complex TMJ issues.
Dr. Lim also mentored at the Facial Beauty Institute under Dr. Steve Galella, the creator of facial development orthodontics.
The Oklahoma Board of Dentistry currently requires dentists to complete a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education every two years. Dr. Lim typically doubles this amount; at one point, he logged 192 hours of continuing education credit within a period of just three years.
Treatment Philosophy and Areas of Expertise
Dr. Lim has a special interest in guided facial development and whole-health dentistry. His dental treatment philosophy centers on the needs of the body as a whole. Dr. Lim doesn’t simply repair teeth, he strives to provide treatments that promote a balanced bite and facial profile and that harmonize with his patients’ health goals. Helping patients achieve comfortable, functional, and beautiful smiles is something that brings him great joy, and he likes to take plenty of time to get to know his patients well.
Dr. Lim has also focused on treating TMJ issues since 2003. People from across the country have come to him for treatment when they heard about how he had helped others. Even other medical professionals refer some of their patients to Dr. Lim for TMJ treatment.
In 2022, Dr. Lim passed the examinations for Fellowship in the International College of Cranio-Mandibular Orthopedics. (See the photo on the right.)
Professional Accomplishments & Memberships
- One of only 500 Fellows of the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies (LVI)
- Member of the International Association of Physiologic Aesthetics
- Member of the Oklahoma Dental Association
- Member of the American Dental Association
- Fellow of International College of Cranio-Mandibular Orthopedics
Giving Back to His Community: Oklahoma and Beyond
Dr. Lim is a man of faith who credits God with the success and blessings he’s enjoyed in life. In turn, he wants to give back by helping as many people as possible to likewise enjoy a higher quality of life. Dentistry is his mission, and personal values like faith and integrity impel him to provide high-quality care and to continue honing his professional skills. He is also the president of Hope for Cambodia, a non-profit mission that delivers spiritual and material relief to disadvantaged individuals in Cambodia.
Dr. Lim is the proud author of two books inspired by his life experiences: My Journey to Paradise and The Ultimate Life, a Return to the Killing Fields. Ever alert to the opportunity to encourage and inspire others, Dr. Lim makes time in his schedule for mentoring younger dentists and speaking at public events and special ceremonies.
Although he loves the life he now has, Dr. Lim does not for a moment take his blessings for granted. He’s known hardship in the form of forced labor, severe illness, starvation, the loss of family members, and the horror of witnessing acts of unspeakable violence. Instead of letting his traumatizing experiences crush his hopes, Dr. Lim fought and prayed for a better future. He now loves to share his experience and the rich lessons he’s learned with others.
For over 40 years since Dr. Lim left Cambodia, he has called Oklahoma his home. He is an ordained deacon and minister of the gospel, and he and his wife Rachel have led many mission trips to Cambodia over the years. They even sponsored two young men from Cambodia, taking them into their own family. These two men became like sons to Dr. Lim and Rachel, who have already raised two daughters of their own.
In their leisure time, Dr. Lim and his wife enjoy being outdoors and spending time on their family’s ranch. Most of all, however, they love to make a difference in the lives of others.