Considering orthodontist Karl Zeiler has been straightening teeth for generations of Hancock Park area families, you might imagine all those straight teeth lined up in a row would give miles of smiles to his credit.
Originally from Germany, but getting his DMD and Master’s degrees in orthodontics in the U.S., Zeiler moved his practice in 1981 to a bungalow at 581 N. Larchmont Blvd. The setting feels more like a comfortable home than a place your kids don’t want to visit – there’s often a fire burning in the lobby’s fireplace, the cool old lift chairs in the examination bay face the side garden, and Toni Garcia, who runs the office and appointment schedule, serves as a godmother helping shepherd kids through the process of getting braces. “He’s a one-and-only doctor,” quipped Toni. “He thinks of his patients AND his staff as family, and we all love him.”
Early on, Zeiler modified his Leica camera to work as a cephalometer so he can shoot ” lateral head film” of patients at the beginning of their orthodontic work. He paints a thin coat of barium from forehead to neck on the pre-braces patient, which captures the profile in addition to seeing the skull and jawbone, on film. He is intent on not changing the shape of someone’s face and profile – just making their smile perfect. “I enjoy what I’m doing and always have,” Zeiler told the Buzz. “As long as God gives me the power to do it, I’m going to keep on doing it.” And he’s been doing it for a while – he just celebrated 50 years as an orthodontist.
Zeiler is a proud member of the Larchmont Business Association (LBA.) You may see him strolling down the street for lunch, that is when his wife hasn’t made him her usual gourmet to-go meal. They raised five children together and he is now the proud patriarch of 11 grandchildren – 10 of whom are girls. The sole boy is also Dr. Zeiler’s most far-flung patient: he flies from Santa Fe to Larchmont for his orthodontic work, and for a bit of time with his smiling grandfather.
About Julie Grist
Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.