CONGRATULATIONS MIGHT SEEM a little gauche, given the circumstances, but it’s fair to observe that dentistry, broadly speaking, made it through the worst of the pandemic skillfully and in decent economic shape. Our industry has, too, perhaps benefited to some degree from the renewed emphasis—seen throughout the health-care professions—on sterilization, air quality and overall practice safety.

All of this is vital for the impressive young talents you’ll read about on the pages ahead. They’re the ones who will lead dentistry into the future long after many of today’s more seasoned practitioners have retired, and the lessons they’ve learned these past grueling months will surely pay dividends as they go.

This is the eleventh iteration of the annual 40 Under 40, and for the third year in a row we’ve opened the ranks to 40 Generalists and 40 Specialists—a total of 80 premier clinicians, all age 40 or under, who are at the top of their game yet still have many innings ahead. Dentistry is in good hands, literally and figuratively, despite the challenges of recent vintage. These 80 doctors are part of the reason.

MEET THE JUDGES

 

Dr. Elizabeth “Betsy” Carmack, a member of the Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 from 2019, is also a member of the American Dental Association, the Vermont State Dental Society and the American Academy of Facial Esthetics (AAFE). She is skilled in full-mouth extractions, wisdom teeth extractions and cosmetic dentistry.

Dr. Elizabeth “Betsy” Carmack, a member of the Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 from 2019, is also a member of the American Dental Association, the Vermont State Dental Society and the American Academy of Facial Esthetics (AAFE). She is skilled in full-mouth extractions, wisdom teeth extractions and cosmetic dentistry.

BRIAN DANIELSSON Brian Danielsson, DDS, MAGD is a general dentist who owns an eponymous practice in Ridgecrest, California. A member of the Incisal Edge editorial advisory board, Dr. Danielsson is also a veteran of the United States Air Force.

BRIAN DANIELSSON – Brian Danielsson, DDS, MAGD is a general dentist who owns an eponymous practice in Ridgecrest, California. A member of the Incisal Edge editorial advisory board, Dr. Danielsson is also a veteran of the United States Air Force.

Honored with the Lucy Hobbs Project’s Woman to Watch Award in 2020, Dr. Ng is the founding dental director of HealthRIGHT360, a community health center in the Bay Area. She’s the chief chair of dentistry at the Alameda Health System in Oakland, California, overseeing a general dentistry and oral and maxillofacial surgery program in a Level 1 trauma center hospital and a pediatric clinic.

Honored with the Lucy Hobbs Project’s Woman to Watch Award in 2020, Dr. Ng is the founding dental director of HealthRIGHT360, a community health center in the Bay Area. She’s the chief chair of dentistry at the Alameda Health System in Oakland, California, overseeing a general dentistry and oral and maxillofacial surgery program in a Level 1 trauma center hospital and a pediatric clinic.

 

GENERALISTS

Rosemary Ahanor

@AGLOWDENTALSTUDIO


Age:
39
City: Reston, Virginia
Name of Practice: Aglow Dental Studio
Education: DDS, New York University College of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: A mother, wife and woman of color, Dr. Ahanor has never bowed in the face of steep odds. After earning the equivalent of a DDS in Nigeria, she moved to the United States, attended NYU and became the first dentist in her family. She regularly invests in advanced technology such as CBCT, iTero, handheld Nomad X-ray units and intraoral scanners to ease patient care and increase diagnostic accuracy. Dr. Ahanor partners with local charities, including KidsRFirst, which donates school supplies to children in need, as well as Africa DIME (Divine Mercy Orphanage Dental Outreach), a program that provides dental care for kids in foster homes.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “Intraoral camera and iTero. At Aglow Dental Studio, we take baseline photos for all patients. These help educate them about their oral health, facilitating dialogue between our patients and the team as we navigate the treatment plan and create the perfect smile.”
Biggest Challenge: “Building a dental practice de novo during a pandemic. I’m very proud of my team at Aglow Dental and the quality of care we’re able to provide, even during the stress of the pandemic.”
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “Educating patients about their oral health. Transitioning a patient’s mindset from unhealthy to healthy oral habits and seeing the results manifest through that patient’s smile.”
Why She Became a Dentist: “I got interested at a young age when I realized my great-aunt had dentures. I was so mystified as a child that she went to bed without teeth but woke up with teeth. I needed to solve that puzzle! Learning there was a career where you could actually help people get their confidence back through their smile—I was sold.”


Hannah Isabel Alexander

@ALEXANDERFAMILYDENTISTRY

 

Age: 37
City: Smyrna, Georgia
Name of Practice: Alexander Family Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Alexander set out from the start to create a practice based on ethical treatment and kindness. She built her solo practice from the ground up without any outside financial assistance, specializing in treating those with emotional difficulties, adult autism and general dental anxiety. She has made mission trips to the Dominican Republic and an orphanage in Cambodia. Stateside, she has volunteered with San Francisco’s Native American Health Center. In her spare time, Dr. Alexander enjoys sculpting, supporting local farmers, spending time with her dog and cruising in her classic Porsche.
Why She Became a Dentist: “I love art and nutrition, human physiology and helping others live a healthy life through a healthy mouth. Through dentistry I can be a healer, a therapist, a true friend, a teacher, a doctor, a mentor, an artist and a scientist. I’m a carpenter’s daughter who understands form and function but also aesthetics and a true full-mouth rehabilitation not having to be every tooth in a patient’s mouth. I was an assistant for eight years, and I wanted to build a beautiful practice that makes it the cool thing to do the right thing—an old-school family practice that has a 90-year-old grandmother and a 9-year-old granddaughter. I wanted to do good for all families based not on insurance but because I care for them from the moment they walk into our office.”
Philosophy: “Focus on total body health and teach how the oral cavity is connected to the rest of the body. I’m happy to see that this is becoming a new trend within dentistry.”


Ahmed Alkholeidi

@DR.ALKHOLEIDI

 

Age: 36
City: Friendswood, Texas
Name of Practice: Friendswood Smiles
Education: DDS, University of Maryland School of Dentistry; BA, molecular and cell biology, University of California, Berkeley
Why He Was Nominated: Having graduated among the top 4 percent of students in his class at Berkeley, Dr. Alkholeidi was accepted to the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. He has received the Edgar J. Jacques Memorial Award in Oral Surgery as well as Academy of Operative Dentistry and Delta Dental Student Leadership Awards. After graduation and starting his own office, Dr. Alkholeidi helped establish Mercy Dental Clinic in Webster, Texas—a low- to no-cost clinic for the uninsured and underinsured.
Why He Became a Dentist: “Dentistry’s beauty comes from being able to use both logic and reasoning to take care of patients’ oral health and general well-being.”
Sage Advice: “Believe in God, have faith and always do good; life will then be forced to pave the way for you.”
Something People Don’t Know: “My oldest daughter, Rwan, was born during my second week of dental school, and my wife, Amani, was accepted to the hygiene program during my third year of dental school. I graduated with my DDS, Amani with her BDH—and Rwan earned the walk at our ceremony for coping with both of us. The three of us walked on the graduation stage wearing our caps and gowns.”


Ryan Allen

@STATIONPARKDENTAL


Age:
39
City: Farmington, Utah
Name of Practice: Station Park Dental
Education: DDS, New York University College of Dentistry; MBA, Utah State University
Why He Was Nominated: While in the Army, Dr. Allen was awarded the service’s Achievement Medal and Commendation Medal. He left the military at the rank of Major and moved from serving the country to serving those in his community. He donates dental services to residents of the Red Barn Academy, a therapeutic recovery program in Farmington for those suffering from substance abuse and behavioral issues. A product he invented and developed is set to go into production this summer: the patent-pending Versa Grip Mouth Mirror. Dr. Allen was invited by Dr. Gordon Christensen to be a product tester for Clinicians Report and a mentor with Practical Clinical Courses.
Post-Pandemic Plans: “Grow and expand my business. Master CAD/CAM with my new mill and 3D printer—no more lab bills!”
Most Memorable Patient: “I had a patient in dental school who told me she hated her smile so much that when she died there would
be no picture in her obituary. After closing our treatment plan, it took me 30 minutes to persuade her to smile for a pre-op photo. Twelve crowns and two partial dentures later, her life was changed. Within three months she had lost 50 pounds, had her diabetes under control and could not stop smiling.”
Inspiration: “Gordon and Rella Christensen have been fantastic mentors and resources. They still have a passion for dentistry that
I can only aspire to reach.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I can walk on the knuckles of my toes, speak several languages, do impressions of numerous cartoon characters and can quote nearly all of Napoleon Dynamite. This ‘quadfecta’ has helped create a strong marriage that has, so far, lasted 16 years.”


Bryan M. Baliwas

Bryan M. Baliwas

@450AESTHETICS


Age:
38
City: San Francisco
Name of Practice: 450 Aesthetics Dental Group
Education: DDS, University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: A self-described “purveyor of responsible cosmetic dental care,” Dr. Baliwas (who can also be found on Instagram sporting the cheeky handle @sfdentalnerd) has been one of the lead organizers of the Dental Influencers Alliance (influencedentistry.com). That gathering, whose third meeting will be held this December in Atlanta, works to leverage the possibilities of social media to connect dental professionals of all kinds. “It’s amazing to see everyone who had been growing their social-media relationships online for years come together and connect face to face,” he says.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: Social media, naturally. “I could not care less about the vanity metrics of likes and follows, or the “instafame” that comes with having a popular social-media page,” Dr. Baliwas says. “What I am thankful for are the connections I’ve made through the platform.”
Favorite Aspect of Dental Social Media: “Learning from mentors, meeting new clinicians and colleagues, reconnecting with old classmates, sharing learning opportunities and helping others develop these types of connections for themselves.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Baliwas’s French bulldog, Xylocaine (a.k.a. “Xylo”), has nearly 900 followers on Instagram (@sfdentaldog), offering “a little canine guidance to get you through your day.” Says Dr. Baliwas: “She comes to the office with me every day. Some patients get really upset if she’s not in the office during their visit.”


Czarina Baloy

@DRCABALOY


Age:
40
City: Los Angeles
Name of Practice: C A Baloy Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of the Philippines; AEGD, Florida Institute for Advanced Dental Education; Certificate, Rutgers School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Having emigrated from the Philippines, Dr. Baloy completed her AEGD residency in 2018 and launched her career in public health. Believing that quality dental health should not be limited to those with means, she found herself at home in her first position with a Federally Qualified Health Center, where after just a year she was promoted to dental director and charged with expanding the practice to three locations. Within three months, she extended the initial dental clinic patient pool by 300 percent.
Exciting New Trend: “Dental medicine is constantly evolving, from 3D Printing to L-PRFs. What gets me most excited is that the goal has now shifted from subtractive to additive dentistry. Practitioners are now shifting to preservation instead of always cutting bone, enamel and dentin.”
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “I’m in love with occlusion, because it’s not just the tooth, it’s the entire system. All the inclines, the muscle tonus, the temporomandibular joint. How tooth anatomy affects the TMJ. I’m married to a physical therapist; having another outlook on the stomatognathic system and being able to collaborate with other health-care providers in disorders of the TMJ excites me.”

Dental medicine is constantly evolving. It’s exciting that the goal has shifted from subtractive to additive dentistry.” – Dr. Czarina Baloy


Cody Boals

@KISSINGCAMELSFD


Age:
33
City: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Name of Practice: Kissing Camels Family Dentistry
Education: DMD, Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine—Downers Grove, Illinois
Why He Was Nominated: Long before he met his wife, Dr. Alexa Johnson (see page 46), in dental school, Dr. Boals grew up in Orangeville, Illinois (population 800), the son of trucking-company owners—and knew from a young age that entrepreneurship would be part of his future. Drs. Boals and Johnson opened Kissing Camels Family Dentistry in 2018, and regularly volunteer with an organization called KIND (Kids in Need of Dentistry) to deliver care to underserved children. In addition to their annual gift of more than $25,000 in dental services to local business owners, the couple also donate two full-mouth rehabilitations to deserving patients each year.
Exciting New Trend: “DSN, the Dental Success Network. A large group of dentists supporting one another in all aspects of dentistry, it also offers discounts on vendors and supplies, as well as CE.”


Stephen Brand

@DR.STEPHEN_BRAND


Age:
27
City: Kingston, Pennsylvania
Name of Practice: Brand Dental
Education: DMD, Boston University
Why He Was Nominated: The pandemic didn’t stop Dr. Brand from opening his practice in northeast Pennsylvania. Despite supply disruptions, limited staffing and the challenges of building a practice from scratch, Dr. Brand, alongside his father (also a dentist) and his fiancée (a hygienist), successfully opened his doors this January. He embraces a fully digital workflow, too, including Digital Smile Design and 3D printing.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “OptraGate by Ivoclar Vivadent—an absolute game changer for anterior procedures, scanning and photography. By retracting the lips from the teeth comfortably and efficiently, it improves your vision and access enormously.”
Exciting New Trend: “3D printing. I have two 3D printers at my office and routinely use them for in-house surgical guides, models, wax-ups and many other procedures.”
Sage Advice: “During downtime, spend time at the front with the office manager of the practice where you work, and learn as much as you can from them. There’s a massive disconnect between the clinical and business skills you learn in school. When you open your own office, understanding how insurance works, as well as the duties of your support staff, will prove invaluable and enhance your role as a leader.”


Michael A. Brooks Jr.

@NORTHPOINTHEALTH


Age:
36
City: Minneapolis
Name of Practice: NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center
Education: DDS, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: As dental director for the largest community health center in Minnesota, Dr. Brooks, along with a team of 10 doctors, eight hygienists, 18 LDAs and eight support staff, serves more than 22,000 patients a year, many of whom lack insurance. His practice is part of a multispecialty medical, dental and behavioral human-services agency. Additionally, he serves as adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, often hosting students in his clinic.
Post-Pandemic Plans: “Develop a pipeline program with local middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities. This is imperative given the disparities of racial representation in this field.”
Most Memorable Patient: “A young boy in the ER. The look on his face when he saw me was priceless. He said, ‘Dad, the doctor looks just like me!’ ”


Katharine Burton

BURTONFAMILYDENTAL.COM


Age:
39
City: North Providence, Rhode Island
Name of Practice: Burton Family Dental
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Burton has run and managed her own private practice for four years. A single mother of two, she plans to purchase a second practice soon. In addition to focusing on expansion, she’s also training her golden retriever puppy, Dave, to visit her office as a comfort dog. She’s an avid runner and yogi and has donated dental services to her community since 2017. She also serves as a Rhode Island Dental Association Disaster Medical Assistance team member.
Why She Became a Dentist: “I graduated with a degree in microbiology. I took a job in pharmaceutical research working for a dentist, and the drug we were studying treated mucositis. Nearly everyone who worked for him was inspired to go into dentistry or medicine, and I was too.”
Something People Don’t Know: “The year I became a practice owner was the same year I lost a deal to purchase the practice I’d been at for seven years—and the year I became a single parent. I don’t regret making the choice to purchase a practice, even though I was often advised to hold off until life was more settled. There’s never a perfect time to take a risk.”


Courtney Cleary

@CLEARYDMD


Age:
39
City: Haddonfield, New Jersey
Name of Practice: David Nepa General Dentistry
Education: DMD, Rutgers University School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: A full-time mother, wife and dentist, Dr. Cleary is adding to her responsibilities by opening her first practice later this year. She’s active in the American Dental Association, the Southern Dental Society, the Academy of General Dentistry, the Spear Club and the American Academy of Facial Esthetics. Fully trained in Botox injections, she is currently training in CAD/CAM and intraoral scanning to advance her new practice.
Why She Became a Dentist: “The flexibility dentistry offers to all professionals, but especially women.”
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “A gold-handled curved hemostat.”
Exciting New Trend: “I recently became certified in Botox and dermal fillers. Adding Botox is a service that patients are excited about.”
Biggest Challenge: “A healthy life balance. I’m married to a wonderful man, and we have two small children. Being a wife and mother, working as a full-time dentist and taking on a new adventure as a small-business owner is time-consuming. I’m grateful for my husband, my mother and our babysitter for helping take care of my kids, and for my awesome team of coworkers.”


Tiffany Danyal

@BRUSHRINSEFLOSS


Age:
32
Cities: Clarkston, Harper Woods, Shelby Township, Village of Franklin, Metamora, Milford, Waterford, Fenton and Berkley, Michigan
Name of Practices: Brush Rinse Floss
Education: DDS, University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Danyal decided at age 15 that she would be a dentist. Earning her bachelor’s in biology at 19, Dr. Danyal graduated with honors from Detroit Mercy, into whose dental school she was immediately accepted despite lacking a master’s. Now the owner of multiple practices in Metro Detroit, Dr. Danyal employs more than 50 people, including eight dentists.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “My notebook. Whenever I have a thought, I write in there so I can keep up with both patient and administrative tasks. I use it when I have conversations with employees to write down what was discussed, as a checklist for when I’m working through a big case and for having my goals written out.”
Inspiration: “The director of dental admissions [at Detroit Mercy] at the time of my admission, Karin, believed in me when no one else took me seriously. Nearly 15 years later, I still look up to when I make decisions, both personally and professionally.
I hope always to make her proud.”


Jeremiah C. Davis

THETEETHDOCTORS.COM


Age:
38
City: Fayetteville, North Carolina
Name of Practice: The Teeth Doctors
Education: DDS and MBA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Why He Was Nominated: A former paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, Dr. Davis is a father of five who gives back to his community through his high-tech dental office. Having acquired a practice in 2018, Dr. Davis rebuilt it and developed relationships with his new patients. He also equipped the practice with the latest technology. He offers full-scope dental care including sedation, implants, oral surgery, bone grafting and more.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “NSK electric handpieces are paramount to the completion of all of my procedures. And StellaLife—it reduces ulcers, improves dry mouth and significantly reduces pain immediately following surgeries.”
Post-Pandemic Plans: “Expanding our services and welcoming another doctor to our team.”
Most Memorable Patient: “My first implant case in dental school in 2013—an 89-year-old World War II veteran. He wore complete dentures and could not eat well. I witnessed firsthand the power of restoring someone’s ability to eat, chew and speak normally. From this case, I developed a love for implants’ life-changing effects. The patient and his son recently called to let me know that he’s still doing great.”


Viraj Desai

@SWISHDENTAL


Age:
35
City: Austin, Texas
Name of Practice: Swish Dental
Education: DMD, University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Desai opened her first practice in 2017. She now owns 10 offices of a successful brand that’s a byword for dental excellence in greater Austin. Using the best technology and always seeking to elevate herself and her staff have been key to her rapid success.
Why She Became a Dentist: “I wanted to establish Swish to be more than a place to get a perfect smile: We empower patients to feel better about themselves, which encourages them to take care of themselves and live a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to me that the environment at Swish is inclusive and welcoming for everyone to experience the comfort and excellence of our care.”
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “iTero.”
Exciting New Trend: “Digital Smile Design, and showing patients their smiles in real time.”
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “Changing the way people feel about the dentist.”


Taheer Dhoon

@DENTALGREELEY


Age:
36
City: Greeley, Colorado
Name of Practice: Greeley Dental Care
Education: DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: In the wake of a failed dental startup in 2015, Dr. Dhoon turned the near-bankruptcy into a practice acquisition in Greeley. In under five years, he quadrupled its revenue and added 18 team members. The Practice Launchpad, a book he cowrote with Dr. Chris Green, highlights how to build or acquire a practice the right way. The duo are now starting a national consulting business, a podcast and one-on-one coaching to help young doctors. At Greeley Dental Care, Dr. Dhoon established an in-house lab; he also started Colorado Surgical Institute, which is a surgical training program for dentists all over the nation.
Post-Pandemic Plans: “My wife, Dr. Bridget Remming, and I are welcoming our third child to the family. During the pandemic, I started the Colorado Surgical Institute and got all the logistical work done while things were shut down. We’re training dentists from around the nation on the best surgical techniques and efficiencies on live patients. We’re building a teaching facility; in my current facility we sold out all our courses for 2021 by June. The space will allow us to keep up with demand and provide me more space to continue to grow my flagship practice.”


Bansi Doescher

@GOSMILETEAM


Age:
36
City: Philadelphia
Name of Practices: Smile Team
Education: DMD, Tufts University Medical School
Why She Was Nominated: After spending eight years as an associate in a private practice, Dr. Doescher set out on her own, founding Smile Team in 2018; she now has three locations. Known for balancing high-end esthetic and cosmetic treatments with affordability, Dr. Doescher and her team routinely provide dental services and preventive measures pro bono to those who might otherwise go without. Additionally, she volunteers with local schools and sponsors a Philadelphia charity walk.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “As funny as it sounds, my husband. He has been my biggest supporter throughout this journey.”
Most Memorable Patient: “John Forgione, from when I was in dental school at Tufts in Boston. He showed me what an impact dentistry can make on someone’s life. He came to my graduation and is still in touch, sending my kids a Hess truck for the holidays and a card for our family every year. I’m grateful for his friendship and the trust he showed in me while I was in school.”
Inspiration: “My mother. She came from so little and was able to migrate to a country in order to give us what she never had. She taught me at a young age to always be capable of providing for myself in order to control my own destiny.”


Roger Flippen

@TERRIFIC_TEETH


Age:
33
City: Houston
Name of Practice: Terrific Teeth
Education: DDS, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Why He Was Nominated: Beginning at age 5, Dr. Flippen spent his childhood at Still Creek, a ranch in Bryan, Texas, for boys and girls in crisis of one kind or another. There, he trained horses and learned the value of a hard day’s work. His faith in God and desire to succeed propelled him to today, a husband and father of four and owner of his practice. He credits his success to positive influences and commitment despite humble beginnings.
Sage Advice: “Learn more business aspects to run a practice. There’s never a better time than the present. Work for yourself.”
Philosophy: “Be ‘Flippen awesome!’ I strive to have a wonderful team and give people the best experience we can offer. We treat them as people first, and then their wants and needs. We don’t [see] them as just a transaction. Build up relationships, then make sure your work stands up to match those connections.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’m a black belt in taekwondo and am currently getting my black belt in karate.”

We don’t see patients as just transactions. Build up relationships, then make sure your work stands up to match those connections.” – Dr. Roger Flippen


Jonah Foutz

BOSQUEDENTAL.NET


Age:
37
City: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Name of Practice: Bosque Dental
Education: DDS, University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Having been in practice for eight years, Dr. Foutz owns three offices equipped with state-of-the-art technology, providing same-day dentistry with a completely digital workflow. He also owns a dental assisting school in Albuquerque and is a member of the New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care, the American Dental Association and the New Mexico Dental Association. In his spare time, he and his wife and children maintain a bountiful home garden and regularly donate their surplus yield to their local food pantry.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “A 3D printer for dentistry; a John Deere tractor for life.”
Post-Pandemic Plans: “Spend more time with family, friends and community. I’m glad I was ambitious enough to make the 40 Under 40, but I won’t be in the 60 Under 60— I’m going to become super-lazy. This will be the last anyone ever reads about me in a dental magazine!”


Kevin Groth

@DRKEVINGROTH


Age:
34
City: Bingham Farms, Michigan
Name of Practice: Groth Dental
Education: DDS, University of Michigan School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: “The reason for the success of my practice,” Dr. Groth says, “is based on our emphasis on having an amazing team.” Groth Dental offers advanced tech including iTero and Trios scanners, 3Shape Lab software for diagnostic and digital wax-ups and OccluSense for bite perfection. Importantly, too, Dr. Groth has also created an internship program within his office, supporting dental students with real-world experience. “It’s the best part of our practice and has been an amazing opportunity to change the lives of many up-and-coming dentists. There’s nothing more rewarding than that.”
Sage Advice: “Don’t let fear of failure stop you from taking action. As difficult as failure can be to experience, there is always a valuable lesson to be gained. What helps to overcome failure? Mentorship. A great mentor gives support in times of struggle, provides confidence to keep pushing ahead and shares insight into the invaluable learning that comes from experiencing failure. Of course, you don’t get any of this unless you act.”


Jordyn Hollingsworth

@PINNACLEPEAKDENTALCARE_


Age:
31
City: Scottsdale, Arizona
Name of Practice: Pinnacle Peak Dental Care
Education: DMD, Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Hollingsworth purchased her first practice with her fiancé (now her husband), Dr. Taylor Funk, in 2019 after starting her career focused on implant dentistry. Her alma mater, Midwestern University, soon invited her to join its faculty. She cofounded its implant program, placing more than 1,000 during her time there. Currently, she and Dr. Funk work closely with a local rehabilitation center to provide needed dental care to individuals who have suffered substance abuse and addiction problems.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “The Woodson elevator. I’ve found multiple applications for which it works great.”
Biggest Challenge: “Owning a practice. Ironically, this is also one of the most rewarding parts of my career. Knowing I wanted to own a practice, I took several CE courses and read books on how to run a business. Now I know no book can prepare you for owning a practice.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I was voted ‘least likely to be sued’ in dental school. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always found it funny.”


Alexa Johnson

@KISSINGCAMELSFD


Age:
32
City: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Name of Practice: Kissing Camels Family Dentistry
Education: DMD, Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine—Downers Grove, Illinois
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Johnson and her husband, Dr. Cody Boals (see page 41), opened Kissing Camels Family Dentistry in 2018 and have been giving back to those in need ever since, both financially and through donated dental services. Every quarter, the practice partners with a local nonprofit, donating $5 for every new patient and helping educate the public on the nonprofit’s mission.
Biggest Challenge: “Being a younger woman in this field.”
Most Memorable Patient: “Starting off, I worked three jobs: corporate, nonprofit and private practice. Before starting our current practice with my husband, I worked at another private practice. I have a patient who followed me to all places until I found my home office. She is the sweetest lady, full of spunk. She had some complications with osteonecrosis due to medications, and we had to make some changes with her teeth due to this. She’s always in a great mood, and I love seeing her.”


Tessa Jolly

@DRTESAJOLLY


Age:
38
City: Pulaski, Tennessee
Name of Practice: Dr. Tesa Family Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of Tennessee Health and Science Center
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Jolly’s first year in the industry was frenzied—she graduated from dental school, got married, became a mother and opened a new practice all in 12 months. The first female dentist in her hometown and the first to employ an all-female staff, she also was the first (we’re sensing a trend here) to offer an annual free dental day for the community. She’s active in Give Back a Smile, which connects adult survivors of domestic and sexual abuse to cosmetic dentists, has served on the governing board of Southern Tennessee Regional Health System for six years and was a 2019 Lucy Hobbs Project Humanitarian Award honoree.
Biggest Challenge: “I became a practice owner just a few months after graduation, when the dentist I worked with died unexpectedly. The challenges of updating an older practice and maintaining excellent business management was daunting so early in my career—but things are going well.”


Adam Koppelman

@KOPPELMANDENTAL


Age:
39
City: New York
Name of Practice: Koppelman Dental
Education: DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Koppelman’s excellence was evident from his first dental position, as chief resident at North Shore University Hospital on Long Island. He completed a three-year residency in implants and advanced prosthetics, later opening an office where he now practices with his father. Today, he has his Mastership in the International Congress of Oral Implantology and is in the final stages of earning Diplomate recognition. He dedicates three weeks a year to dental missions and volunteers as an associate clinical professor at Columbia University.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “My 7a spatula and buffalo knife, with an ample supply of Gorilla Glue.”
Inspiration: “My father, who’s the best man I know, and my son, whose lucid eyes I see the world through.”
Sage Advice: “Listen with your heart, not your ears, when patients talk. Truly listen. They know when you’re not.”
Post-Pandemic Plans: “To retire—but before then, get my Diplomate in the ICOI and create a revolutionary new product.”
Biggest Challenge: “Social media. And learning that nonverbal communication can say more than the spoken word.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Koppelman finds his meditation in unplugging, exploring nature with his toddler and pup, taking an occasional scuba dive, immersing himself in a book or getting lost playing the guitar.


John Kurzawa

@NEXGENDENTISTRY


Age:
35
City: Akron, Ohio
Name of Practice: Next Generation Dentistry
Education: DDS, Marquette University School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Having graduated at the top of his class at Marquette in Milwaukee and earned his DDS in 2014, Dr. Kurzawa served five years in the U.S. Naval Dental Corps, providing care to active-duty Navy and Marine Corps service members. Now, having owned his private practice for two years, he continues to serve his community and expand his patient base despite the challenges of the last year.
Most Memorable Patient: “A 96-year-old World War II veteran. He has awesome stories. Being a Navy veteran myself, I respect this man with the highest regard. His sacrifice is one I will never know, but I am blessed to know and treat him.”
Biggest Challenge: Business ownership. “Being the boss, dentist, friend, coworker, janitor, landsca­per, psychologist and many more
is tough. Wearing so many hats can change you, so have a good team around you.”
Why He Became a Dentist: “My grandfather and father raised me to have the skills to fix what is broken. Little did they know they were grooming me to become a dentist! Woodworking was a major part of my upbringing. Dentistry has a lot of commonalities, and the instrument usage is remarkably similar, so I find comfort in helping people with my fine motor skills.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Kurzawa moonlights as a professional paintballer for the Seattle Thunder in the National X-Ball League.


Keleigh Quimby Lascari

@KELEIGHLASCARIDDS


Age:
38
City: Covington, Louisiana
Name of Practice: Cornerstone Dentistry
Education: DDS, Louisiana State University School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Lascari formerly found herself in a high-volume, quick-in, quick-out practice, burned out and unsatisfied. Wishing for true connections with her patients, she opened Cornerstone, now a thriving practice. A supporter of the underserved, she gives back by donating a pair of ballet slippers to a girl in the local foster system every time she acquires a new patient. She also makes an annual mission trip to Guatemala.
Exciting New Trend: “I love the universal composites that match every patient’s tooth with a single shade. I wish I had this at the beginning of my career!”
Inspiration: “My mom. She paved the way for women in dentistry, being one of two women in her dental-school class and becoming the first lady dentist in the history of [Baton Rouge], the capital of Louisiana. I wouldn’t be the woman I am without her prayers and encouragement. I found a letter she wrote me as a teenager. Some words of wisdom: ‘Don’t let anyone or anything put out the fire that burns in your heart.’“

Some words of wisdom from my mother: Don’t let anyone or anything put out the fire that burns in your heart.”


Jennifer Loveland

@LOVELANDDENTALNC


Age:
37
City: Cornelius, North Carolina
Name of Practices: Loveland Dental Group
Education: DMD, Roseman University of Health Sciences
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Loveland began her career in hygiene while earning her DMD. Now owner of five offices, she practices alongside her father, Dr. Robert Walker. Patience and compassion come easily, she says: As a mother of four, she understands the unique challenges of younger patients, and enjoys navigating dental experiences for those of all ages.
Inspiration: “My dad. He’s genuine and compassionate, treating people with love and kindness no matter their background.”
Post-Pandemic Plans: “I’m a dental entrepreneur. At this time, along with my partners, who are family, I own five offices, and when people ask me how many I want to own, I tell them a hundred. Then we laugh, and I say, ‘No, seriously.’ We’re looking buy two more practices this year.”
Biggest Challenge: “Keeping a balance. But with my fabulous husband, team and partners, I’m able to juggle things. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.”


Tanya Sue Maestas

@LACLINICADEFAMILIA


Age:
28
Cities: Chaparral, New Mexico; El Paso, Texas
Names of Practices: La Clinica de Familia; Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine
Education: DDS, University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston
Why She Was Nominated: Having earned a dental-school scholarship through the National Health Service Corps, Dr. Maestas now dedicates her skills as site director for a Federally Qualified Health Center in Chaparral, a town just north of El Paso, where she’s the sole dental provider for a population of 14,500, many of whom have never received dental care. She’s an active participant with the Texas Tech University’s Hunt School, where she has helped prepare the curriculum. She’s an active member of her church and has been a mentor and speaker at local colleges.
Exciting New Trend: “Biomimetic dentis­try paired with digital dentistry will shape the future of how many dentists practice.”
Most Memorable Patient: “During my AEGD residency, I had the opportunity to connect with a patient of mine who enjoyed country music. I asked the patient if they enjoyed listening to George Strait. They responded that George Strait sang at their wedding! As dentists we get to hear patients’ wonderful stories, but this one was very exciting to hear.”


Abhishek Pandit

@TRANSCENDDENT


Age:
37
City: Royersford, Pennsylvania
Name of Practice: Transcend Dental
Education: DMD, University of Pennsyl­vania; MDPH, Rutgers University
Why He Was Nominated: The startup concept took on new meaning for Dr. Pandit when he acquired an abandoned practice at the onset of the pandemic. For three months, patients’ calls had gone unanswered. In a short time, he stepped in and turned the failing practice around. He assembled his team, adding procedures and services such as emergency walk-in care, removable prostheses, endodontic treatment, implant prostheses, pediatric and geriatric dentistry.
Why He Became a Dentist: “It combines medicine and surgery. It’s a rare specialty where we perform advanced surgical procedures on conscious patients in one of the most vulnerable part of their bodies.”
Inspiration: “Every time I feel a situation is too challenging, I remember the resilience and ferocity of my parents in handling far more difficult situations.”
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “Regaining countless patients’ confidence in dentistry, and the opportunity to create long-lasting relationships.”


Juhee Park

@DR.JUHEEPARK


Age:
37
City: Laguna Beach, California
Name of Practice: Island Dentistry Laguna Beach
Education: DDS, Loma Linda University School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Park bases her approach on the “three P’s”: positivity, passion and persistence. Multilingual, she was born and grew up in South Korea, studied in China and has donated dental services in other countries. She has completed more than 500 hours of advanced training and is adept with 3D scanners and 3D printers.
Biggest Challenge: “Three years ago, I worked without breaks. I had to exercise as much as I worked due to my weak back. I thought I was doing myself a favor. One day, I had sudden back pain. I should have rested, but I had been ignoring signs my body was sending. I was told that a herniated disc was compressing a nerve. I went back to Korea, and after two months of rehab, I was able to regain my ability to walk and feel again. I was forced to take a break. The experience taught me that excess is never better and I should not be too strict with myself. I now emphasize back health to every younger dentist I meet.”
Inspiration: “My family. My journey started when I left home to come to study in the U.S. by myself. I was able to go through the trials because of lessons I learned from my mother, who is an artist, and my father, an architect. I’m the only dentist in my family. When I face difficulties, my family teaches me to look at a problem from a different perspective. It’s a great fortune to have my family, who support me to learn what I want, think differently and act.”

Terrible back pain taught me that excess is never better. I now emphasize back health to every younger dentist.” – Dr. Juhee Park


Joshua A. Parry

@THETOOTHPARRY


Age:
35
City: Murrysville, Pennsylvania
Name of Practices: Kraisinger Family Dentistry; Pittsburgh Facial Aesthetics
Education: DMD, Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Just two years after joining Kraisinger Family Dentistry, Dr. Parry became 50/50 owner of the practice, which employs nearly 40 staffers and dentists over four locations by investing in struggling properties and nurturing patient retention. He’s constantly adding new technologies and is most excited about two additions from 2019: a 3D Vatech and a Benco Pen Laser. Additionally, he offers Botox, Juvéderm and other products for facial esthetics, as well as TMJ and migraine treatments. Dr. Parry is a proud founder of “Operation Make a Vet Smile,” which provides free dental services to veterans in the Pittsburgh area. In its first year, the event donated more than $18,000 worth of dentistry in one day. He’s now sole owner of his practice and founded Premier Dental Alliance—a group designed to benefit dentists, preserve an environment of optimal patient care and promote a positive public perception of dentistry.
Sage Advice: “Work long days, late nights and weekends. It will pay off 10 times later in experience alone.”
Something People Don’t Know: “Before dental school, I worked in a cancer-research lab and also as a fishing guide.”


Jessica Brereton Peterkin

@BRETONFAMILYDENTAL


Age:
33
City: Phoenix
Name of Practice: Breton Family Dental
Education: DMD, Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Brereton Peterkin, also known as “Dr. JessB,” was the first African-American to earn a DMD from Midwestern University’s College of Dental Medicine in Downers Grove, Illinois. Her practice is designed to provide dentistry across generations, from pediatric to geriatric, as well as cosmetic services. Dr. Brereton Peterkin also hosts Tooth Talk weekly on Facebook Live, fielding dental questions from the public. Founder of the charity organization Ministry of Dentistry, she works to serve vulnerable populations including victims of abuse, the homeless and working poor, foster children and veterans. She is also a mentor and enjoys public speaking to inspire pre-dental students and new dentists alike.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “Music. It’s not a dental tool, but it gets me through the workday and helps keep my patients at ease.”
Inspiration: “My mommy. She pushes me to be the best I can be and inspires me to have a well-rounded, balanced life. She always tells me it’s important not only to work hard with an exceptional ethic, but to play, rest and make time for those important to me. I’m grateful to be able to turn to her for support, advice and wisdom.”
Post-Pandemic Plans: “Get back to traveling the world with my family. Pre-pandemic, we traveled regularly to destinations such as Tokyo, Paris and Rome. I’m looking forward to jet-setting again soon.”


Tyler Scott

SCOTTDENTALGROUP.COM


Age:
38
City: Loudonville, Ohio
Name of Practice: Scott Dental Group
Education: DDS, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Some might think Dr. Scott’s fate was sealed many years ago, when he was called upon to help his father, also a dentist, handle an emergency extraction case unexpectedly. Now, working alongside his dad at his own practice, Dr. Scott dedicates much of his time to bringing dental care to the underserved in his community. He serves on both state and national boards and is a member
of the Ohio Dental Association and president of the Ohio Academy of General Dentistry. During the pandemic, he served as chairman for the AGD’s Return to Workforce Committee, helping guide professionals safely back to
their offices and patients. He also serves on the ADA’s dental-products subcommittee and is an ADA delegate.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “I learned from golf that the most important thing to a golf game is the space between your ears. You need most importantly to remember the training you received in dental school and build upon it. In the dental office, two important tools are my iTero and 3D printer.”
Sage Advice: “Remember that all doctors make mistakes. The great ones, though, recognize their mistakes and don’t repeat them.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I was the first crowned Ohio state wrestling champion in this century—in 2000, Division III, in the 103-pound weight class—and was ranked in the top 20 in the USA as a junior in high school.”


Priyanka Seekand

@DRPRIYANKASEEKAND


Age:
38
Cities: Conyers and Marietta, Georgia
Name of Practices: Seek & Smile Dentistry, Envision Dental
Education: DMD, Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Seekand owns two practices named in tribute to her father, whom she lost when she was just 6. She’s a mentor to younger dentists, is a local digital-dentistry pioneer and participates in the Georgia Dental Association’s Donated Dental Services programs, as well as the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s Give Back a Smile. She’s a wife and mother of two kids under age 4.
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “Being a woman in dentistry. After my son was born, I took him to work with me for the first 18 months. We work so hard as moms and business owners, and I wanted to reap the benefits of hard work without the guilt of working away from him.”
Inspiration: “My mother. I lost my father a few months after we had immigrated to the U.S. from India. My mom had no formal education; my father, a highly educated environmental engineer, was the breadwinner. Suddenly, my mom was thrust into the role of a single working parent. She worked part-time at a grocery store and went to community college. She instilled in me the importance of an education and being a strong, independent woman. All that is good in me is because of her.”


Amanda M. Sheehan

@OAKLANDFAMILYDENTAL


Age:
36
City: Waterford, Michigan
Name of Practice: Oakland Family Dental
Education: DDS, State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Sheehan travels often to the Dominican Republic on mission trips, is on the Michigan Academy of General Dentistry board and served pro bono for eight years on a local hospital’s head-and-neck tumor board. She’s a Diplomate in the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, a Diplomate in the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and a Master in the AGD. Though she was raised on the West Coast, Dr. Sheehan put down roots near her family in Michigan, where she opened her Detroit-area practice in 2016.
Why She Became a Dentist: “I had an obsession with teeth from a young age, making retainers out of paper clips in elementary school. I always wanted to be a doctor and was the ‘fix-it girl’ growing up, so dentistry was a natural fit for me.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I met my husband while he was on vacation, and I on a dental mission, in the Dominican Republic. Also, in college, I was an avid online gambler and could be found on weekends playing in Texas Hold ’Em tournaments.”


Ryan Skale

@SKALEDENTAL


Age:
38
City: Northbrook, Illinois
Name of Practice: Skale Dental Professionals
Education: DDS, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Following dental school, Dr. Skale completed an AEGD residency at Bay Pines VA in Florida, where he provided free, comprehensive care to veterans. He began a focus on TMJ and sleep therapy and was recommended for Diplomate status by Drs. Allen Moses and Steven Olmos, two “founding fathers” of dental sleep medicine. He is a Diplomate with the American Board of Craniofacial Dental Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of the American Board of Craniofacial Pain.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “We do a lot of cosmetic restorative cases, so Ivoclar’s Optrasculpt Pad is a game changer. My team knows if we’re doing a direct composite case, this instrument is in my hand.”
Most Memorable Patient: “ ‘Bam-Bam’ was a 4-year-old boy whose nickname was based on his behavior. I identified multiple risk factors for pediatric sleep-disordered breathing and referred him for a sleep study. His O2 nadir was below 80 percent, oxygen desaturation that will negatively affect the developing brain. ‘Bam-Bam’ ended up having an adenotonsillectomy and soon shed his sleep disorder and his nickname.”


Charles Sutera

@DOCTORSUTERA


Age:
36
City: Waltham, Massachusetts
Name of Practice: Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Sutera spent his early career working in Maine in one of the most underserved dental communities in the U.S. While there, he reached out to many prominent dental professionals, asking to tap into their knowledge. Many said yes. He describes this firsthand education as “rocket fuel” for his career, launching him into the successful business he now operates. His practice has gained a reputation as a national leader for smile makeovers, complex TMJ cases and treatment of dental anxiety. He’s founder and CEO of Moonwalker Innovations, whose patented Exact Contact helps fit crowns more precisely. He’s also a legal expert witness, promoting care standards and advocating for unjustly accused dentists.
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “Dentistry is all about the way you make people feel. Two patients can go through the same treatment with completely different experiences. Jerry Seinfeld says the thing he’s most proud of is when comedians would come up to him and say, ‘I tried your standup script and it didn’t get a laugh. There’s just something different about how you do it.’ That resonated with me.”
Most Memorable Patient: “My practice sees patients with crippling dental anxiety, botched cosmetic procedures and some of the most complex TMJ cases in the nation—all day, every day. These patients come from all walks of life, from powerful world leaders to people with nothing more than dreams. What you realize is that it rains on everyone. If you take interest, you’ll hear some truly inspiring stories. The rest is easy. All you need to do is listen.”

It rains on everyone. If you take interest, you’ll hear some truly inspiring stories. All you need to do is listen.” – Dr. Charles Sutera


Andy Swiatowicz

@DELAWARETOOTHDOCTOR


Age:
37
City: Wilmington, Delaware
Names of Practices: Swiatowicz Dental Associates; Delaware Dental Sleep Medicine
Education: DDS, University of Maryland School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Just three years into owning his first practice, Dr. Swiatowicz started a second, this one dedi­cated to sleep-related breathing disorders. He was the first dentist in Delaware to have a practice specifically focused on airway health. He is a passionate advocate for LQBTQ+ issues and has dedicated copious time and services to a variety of public-health measures across the state.
Post-Pandemic Plans: “I’ve enjoyed returning to in-person continuing education. It’s so much better teaching a course to a room full of people instead of a bunch of tiny boxes on a screen. On a personal level, my husband and I are continuing our surrogacy journey to grow our family. We have made our embryos—two girls!—and are ready to take the next step with our gestational carrier.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I have the autographs of three of the four Golden Girls. Estelle Getty’s estate wrote me a nice note saying that she was no longer able to sign autographs because of her declining health. However, they did say ‘Thank you for being a friend.’ ”


James Tejada

@WOODSPRINGSDDS


Age:
33
City: Spring, Texas
Name of Practice: WoodSprings Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston
Why He Was Nominated: Along with his wife, Samantha (see below), Dr. Tejada set out after dental school intending to make the greatest possible impact on their community. In doing so, they decided not to open a practice immediately, but instead to venture forth separately, gaining individual experience and business acumen that they could then combine and put to work. Now, armed with that knowledge, they’re building their practice, WoodSprings Dentistry, together.
Philosophy: “Honesty and compassion. We spend a great amount of time discussing treatment options and educating the patient for them to make an informed decision. Most people do not like coming to the dentist, so it’s our job to make them feel as comfortable as possible.”
Most Memorable Patient: “My son during his first dental appointment.”


Samantha Tejada

@WOODSPRINGSDDS


Age:
32
City: Spring, Texas
Name of Practice: WoodSprings Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston
Why She Was Nominated: WoodSprings Dentistry, the Houston-area practice Dr. Tejada owns and operates with her husband, James (see above), is making a name for itself as a leader in the latest technology and techniques. In their downtime, the Tejadas enjoy spending time with their two sons, Jaxon and Jace.
Why She Became a Dentist: “Having had extensive dental work done myself, I know what it feels like to not like your smile. I would constantly hide my smile, and this affected my confidence. Orthodontic and cosmetic treatment changed my life. I wanted to share it with other people and help them achieve what I was able to.”
Inspiration: “Dr. Philip Koury. He was the first dentist I worked for after graduating dental school. I feel so lucky to have spent three years at his office. He’s an outstanding dentist and a great person overall. He treated every patient like family. I learned endless amounts of dental techniques and even gained some knowledge about running a business and dealing with insurance. I hope to be as good as he is one day.”


Anchita Venkatesh

@THECURRYYATRA


Age:
30
City: Oakland, California
Affiliation: Alameda Health System
Education: DMD, Boston University; Certificate, Yale University; MS, orofacial pain, University of Southern California (2022)
Why She Was Nominated: When she isn’t writing her food blog (thecurryyatra.com) or professionally dancing, Dr. Venkatesh is working to bring dentistry to medically compromised populations. Patients travel great distances to sit in her chair, where Dr. Venkatesh uses a modified desensitization technique to help acclimate them to office care—which leads to more consistent, less traumatic experiences. She runs a special-needs program at Highland Hospital in Oakland and is working to start a new general practice residency program there to train dentists to work with compromised and special-needs patients.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “My explorer and probe instrument. One of the simplest instruments in our kit, but it tells us so much.”
Exciting New Trend: “The increasing use of digital dentistry. The ability to prepare and deliver a crown at the same appointment makes such an impact on both clinician and patient.”
Most Memorable Patient: “A 25-year-old woman with cerebral palsy who smiled for the first time in years after we removed a painful tooth and restored a fractured anterior tooth. I’ll always remember the joy on her face.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I have been dancing since age 5 and have been trained in various dance forms. I performed professionally for almost 10 years.”


Alex Yen

@PALOALTO_DENTAL


Age:
30
City: Palo Alto, California
Names of Practices: Cambridge Dental Studio; Blue Turtle Dental
Education: DDS, University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: His sights set on expansion, Dr. Yen is soon to open his third location after practicing for only five years. He credits his success to his “two-pillar” approach of “ethical dentistry and practicing perfect”: He will never sell any patient unnecessary dental work or imaging, and from the complex to the routine, he and his team complete every procedure as close to perfection as possible. Dr. Yen is a member of the Mid-Peninsula Dental Society, a committee that evaluates industry ethical breaches.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “Cavitron. I enjoy prophies not so much for the procedural aspect but because it gives me the chance to truly get to know the patient.”
Inspiration: “My parents. I feel like I have the business sense and work ethic of my mother and the kindness of my father.”
Most Memorable Patient: “His name was G. I did my first cleaning on him with an ultrasonic, and it absolutely drenched him. It also lasted more than an hour, but he had the best attitude.”
Philosophy: “Educate patients; don’t try to ‘sell’ treatment. Demonstration of understanding usually does the trick.”


Justin Yun

@YUNBELIEVABLESMILES


Age:
35
City: Rootstown, Ohio
Name of Practice: Yunbelievable Smiles
Education: DMD, Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Tenacity was the name of the game for Dr. Yun, when he set out to establish his practice in 2019, shortly before the onset of the pandemic. He refused to give up or give in, staying the course and building a large practice with a coffee-shop vibe, complete with Nintendo Switch-connected televisions mounted in the ceiling and a state-of-the-art sterilization center.
Sage Advice: “Believe in yourself and trust your team. It took me almost seven years to strike out on my own. I was hopping in and out of associate jobs trying to find the right fit. If you can’t find your dream office, don’t be afraid of the startup route. You can build a foundation with your own vision in mind and hire the team you want to hire. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It can be expensive, but it’s worth it.”
Post-Pandemic Plans: Continued growth. “The office was built to have six treatment rooms, and only two were equipped from the get-go. We’re up to four now, and we plan to equip all six by the end of 2022.”


Caroline Zeller

@CAROLINEZELLERDDS


Age:
33
City: Portland, Oregon
Practice Locations: Multiple throughout Oregon
Education: DDS, University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: A board member and delegate for both the American Dental Association and Oregon Dental Association, Dr. Zeller is a tireless advocate for those suffering from dental-health inequities. She has been published in a number of dental periodicals; she also produces and hosts a podcast, Removing the Bite Block, which aims to connect disparate members of the dental community, educate listeners on issues affecting the industry and encourage every individual to have a voice in the evolution of the profession in the years ahead.
Inspiration: Her father, Dr. Stephen Zeller, who is a renowned oral surgeon in Topeka, Kansas, and who has long been deeply involved with the Dental Lifeline Network.
Exciting New Trend: “Including dental benefits in Medicaid and Medicare.”
Sage Advice: “The best surgery is no surgery.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I have dental elevators tattooed on my bicep.”

SPECIALISTS

Jaclyn Bae

@DRJACLYNBAE  @SUNSHINEPEDIATRIC DENTISTRY


Age:
39
City: Yorba Linda, California
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Sunshine Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DDS, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Dr. Bae has focused her work on positively affecting both her patients and others in her community. Known for her happy countenance, she enjoys helping children achieve good dental experiences. She supports many local nonprofits and is active both locally and statewide with a variety of dental organizations, and she’s a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, American Board of Pediatric Dentists, California Society of Pediatric Dentistry, California Dental Association and the Royal College of Dentists of Canada.
Philosophy: “I believe every child deserves an amazing dental experience and the chance to participate in their own oral health. I believe in empowerment of children and their parents to take control of their oral health to help prevent disease and promote lifelong habits. I treat every child in my office like my own, and they become my family.”
Biggest Challenge: “Parents convinced they know more than we do as dental professionals after having searched Google for five minutes.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I have been certified by the Royal Conservatory of Music in Piano Performance and received my Performers Associate’s Certificate.”


Laura Barunas

@ORALSURGERYPA


Age:
40
City: Philadelphia
Specialty: Oral and maxillofacial surgery
Name of Practice: Oral Surgery Consultants of Pennsylvania
Education: DMD and M.D., University of Pennsylvania; MS, Boston University
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Barunas, a foodie, former Division I varsity college athlete and expectant mother of twins, has been providing stellar patient care at four offices since 2018. In late March 2021, she became a partner in her practice.
Inspiration: “My inspiration is not a person; it’s a feeling. It’s the feeling of fulfillment that drives me every day to accomplish my goals.”
Most Memorable Patient: “I was a third-year dental student, rotating through the oral-surgery clinic at Penn Dental Medicine. As students, we cared for medically complex and HIV-positive patients. The patient I examined that day was nervous. I talked through the procedure with her, we established a rapport and I was able to extract her teeth. While suturing the incision site, I sustained a needle stick. I was frightened—but more than anything, I was worried about my patient and completing her care. I finished the procedure and alerted my instructor to initiate the needle-stick protocol. That night, I decided I would apply to oral and maxillofacial surgery residency programs. I knew that caring for patients in this way was what I was meant to do.”
Something People Don’t Know: “Before attending dental school and becoming an oral surgeon I worked as a personal trainer and a registered dietitian.”

My inspiration is the feeling of fulfillment that drives me every day to accomplish my goals.” – Dr. Laura Barunas


Lacey Bowen

@PERFECTTEETH


Age:
31
City: Denver
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Perfect Teeth for Kids
Education: DDS, Marquette University School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Recipient of the Resident Excellence Award in her pediatric residency program at Children’s Hospital in Colorado, Dr. Bowen focuses on safety and positive experiences for children and their families. Her practice offers minimally invasive in-office dentistry, hospital dentistry, laser treatments and more. She’s a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Colorado Association of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association and Colorado Dental Association.
Most Memorable Patient: “A young patient I treated under general anesthesia years ago. The family moved to Texas. We developed such a strong relationship that they continued to fly to Colorado for routine checkups and cleanings with me.”
Something People Don’t Know: “While I was a dental student, I helped coordinate the annual softball event at [Milwaukee’s] Miller Park to support dental and medical geriatric education. I threw out the first pitch at the Brewers-Cardinals game. It went right down the middle.”


Anna Brunetti

@LIVINGSTONDENTALNJ


Age:
36
City: Livingston, New Jersey
Specialty: Periodontics
Name of Practice: Livingston Dental: Periodontics & Implant Dentistry
Education: DMD, Rutgers University
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Brunetti opened her practice five years ago, specializing in periodontal disease. In her male-dominated field, Dr. Brunetti is now a leader in her specialty, offering minimally invasive cutting-edge technologies. Her office uses a 3D CT machine, a 3D intraoral scanner, laser therapy to correct periodontal disease and naturally regenerate bones (the only FDA-approved laser treatment protocol). She’s a member of her local Rotary club and helps fundraise for the NICU at St. Barnabas Hospital in her New Jersey town.
Most Memorable Patient: “A woman who had all her teeth extracted. She told me her dentures did not fit properly and that she couldn’t eat. I planned and completed an implant-supported hybrid prosthesis for her. She later sent me a video of her eating a steak dinner to show how grateful she was.”
Inspiration: “My parents. Immigrants from Italy, they did so much for my brother and me. I admire their drive to provide us a better life.”


Nabeel Cajee

@DRCAJEE


Age:
33
City: Manteca, California
Specialty: Implant dentistry
Name of Practice: Nabeel Cajee DDS, MICOI
Education: DDS, University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Cajee is the official Dental Ambassador of 3DHeals, a global health-care 3D printing and innovation platform. He has organized and moderated the dental component of three global 3D printing conferences. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling (to more than 30 countries so far), restoring vintage sailboats and spending time with his wife and newborn daughter.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “My CBCT machine. Having the ability to take 3D X-rays for routine diagnostic procedures, especially for implant planning, is like having a superpower.”
Inspiration: “As a child, I watched my grandfather struggle to eat the foods he loved—his full set of dentures limited him. Watching his struggle inspired me to help those like him.”
Something People Don’t Know: “In dental school, I’d swing by hackerspaces in San Francisco to learn more about 3D printing. During the pandemic I spearheaded a coalition to 3D print and laser cut PPE. Our group delivered 10,000 face shields to frontline workers before supply chains were restored.”


Norman Chen

@EASTVALLEYSMILE


Age:
32
City: Burbank, California
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: East Valley Children’s Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry; Certificate in pediatric dentistry, University of Southern California
Why He Was Nominated: Collaborating with several departments at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), Dr. Chen works with a craniofacial team to fabricate nasoalveolar molding appliances for children with cleft lip and palate. He’s also deputy director for a 13-chair nonprofit clinic for underserved patients. Most recently, he partnered with the CHOC orthopedics and pediatric endocrinology team to create dental support for the new Osteogenesis Imperfecta Clinic.
Exciting New Trend: “A shift toward noninvasive procedures for high-anxiety children, use of dental lasers in pediatric dentistry and sleep-disordered breathing from tethered oral tissues.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’m ambidextrous. I am typically left-hand dominant, but I do dentistry right-handed.”


Stella Chukwu

@ROCKSTARKIDSDENTAL


Age:
37
City: Washington, D.C.
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Rockstar Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DDS, Howard University College of Dentistry; MS in dental public health, University of Iowa; Certificate in pediatric dentistry, NYU Langone
Why She Was Nominated: While studying for her undergraduate degree at Spelman College in Atlanta, Dr. Chukwu was a Bonner Community Service Scholar, volunteered at schools and dental offices, and was the cofounder and president of the Spelman Pre-Dental Institute. She continued her good works while attending Howard University College of Dentistry in the nation’s capital, participating in a number of community outreach initiatives, including Give Kids a Smile Day and the Robert Wood Johnson Summer Medical and Dental Enrichment Program, where she mentored future dentists. Currently, Dr. Chukwu is a part-time adjunct faculty member at Howard’s Department of Pediatric Dentistry.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “The ball burnisher.”
Exciting New Trend: “Working with physicians to help diagnose obstructive sleep apnea and airway conditions in the pediatric population.”


Tripp Cockerham

@SOUTHPARKPERIO


Age:
38
City: Charlotte, North Carolina
Specialty: Periodontics
Name of Practice: South Park Periodontics & Implant Dentistry
Education: DDS, MSD, University of Louisville School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Cockerham, author of two published articles and an American Board of Periodontology Diplomate, is a community advocate in Charlotte who often helps fundraise for a local cancer charity. After joining his partner, Dr. Cockerham helped his practice’s footprint grow, opening two new locations in quick succession. He’s a loving father, avid sports fan and a triathlete.
Exciting New Trend: “People are starting to understand the importance of teeth, whether it’s the mouth/body connection or the benefit of saving natural teeth over an implant. My goal has always been to save as many teeth as possible, and I’m starting to see the industry turn that way as well.”
Philosophy: “I’m a conservative dentist. I prefer the most minimal treatment necessary to get the patient back to health. I’m an evidence-based periodontist, and I believe in educating the patient on their diagnosis and treatment.”


Krystle Dean-Duru

@ASHBURNCHILDRENSDENTISTRY


Age:
36
City: Ashburn, Virginia
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Ashburn Children’s Dentistry
Education: DDS, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: A board-certified pediatric dentist, Dr. Dean-Duru is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. Joining her mother, also a pediatric dentist and a Lucy Hobbs Project award recipient, in practice, Dr. Dean-Duru specializes in integrative laser pediatrics. She’s a founding member of the Academy of Applied Myofunctional Sciences and a member of the American Academy of Physiological Medicine and Dentistry and the International Association of Orofacial Myology.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “My Fotona LightWalker laser. Not only am I able to complete quadrant to full-mouth dentistry without anesthesia, I get to surgically and nonsurgically treat oral restrictions and neurological challenges, relieve pain and more.”
Inspiration: “My mother. I have been privileged to have her as a mentor, an educator and a parent. I’m sure to have big Louboutins to fill, which to me is a blessing.”


Joseph K. Diminick

@HILTONDIMINICKORTHO


Age:
32
City: Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Specialty: Orthodontics
Name of Practice: Hilton-Diminick Orthodontic Associates
Education: DMD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine; MS, Seton Hill University Center for Orthodontics
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Diminick brings his skills to bear at the practice of his father. The duo recently launched their newest project: HD Clear, a progressive program offering metal braces, ceramic braces and clear aligner treatment all at the same price. Dr. Diminick contributes to local arts programs, community sports and school extracurricular activities; he also regularly lectures at local dental study clubs.
Inspiration: “Dr. Ken Diminick, my mentor in orthodontics and life. Dr. Edward Hilton, my partner at Hilton-Diminick. His clinical perfection is unmatched. My foundation for evidence-based practice comes from Dr. Dan Rinchuse at Seton Hill University.”
Biggest Challenge: “Big tech is attempting to commoditize orthodontic treatment. The misuse of clear aligners has directly contributed to this. Educating the public poses the biggest challenge to orthodontics.”


J. Dylan Everett

@HIGHPLAINSPERIO


Age:
36
City: Lubbock, Texas
Specialty: Periodontics
Name of Practice: High Plains Periodontics and Implant Dentistry
Education: DDS, MS, Texas A&M Baylor College of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Everett serves his Texas Panhandle community with state-of-the-art technology and compassion. He opened his practice five years ago, beginning with a close-knit staff that included his wife, sister and father, but he has since more than tripled his practice size. His office boasts one of the two X-Guide implant machines in his area. He’s a Diplomate of the American Academy of Periodontology.
Why He Became a Dentist: “I knew I wanted to do something in health care, and in college I always noticed people’s teeth.
My childhood dentist helped foster that curiosity by allowing me to assist him during summers. In dental school, a great friend and colleague introduced me to periodontics, which fulfilled my desire for integrating surgery and esthetic excellence.”
Philosophy: “For patients: Treat ’em like family. For myself: Don’t complain about the mud if you prayed for the rain.”


Karen Grinbaum

@GRINBAUMORTHO


Age:
35
City: New York
Specialty: Orthodontics
Name of Practice: Grinbaum Orthodontics / Smiles and Grins
Education: DDS, New York University College of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Along with her brother, Liel, Dr. Grinbaum brings the best in pedi­atric and orthodontic care to their patients at their shared state-of-the-art practice on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Dr. Grinbaum is one of the only providers of lingual orthodontics in her immediate area, and serves primarily adults using TADs and alignments.
Inspiration: “My late brother, Tal, always saw good in every human. He inspires me to see the good in each person as well as the positive in every situation.”
Most Memorable Patient: “My husband. A man came in for a consult, and a year later we were married. After we were married, I got to fix his teeth.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I love moving and have lived in almost every neighborhood in Manhattan.”


Liel Grinbaum

@GRINBAUMORTHO


Age:
35
City: New York
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Smiles and Grins Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DMD, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Why He Was Nominated: In contrast to his sister, Karin (see above), with whom he shares a joint practice space, Dr. Grinbaum works with younger pediatric patients. He’s famed for being able to connect with them through laughter, music—and often beatboxing.
Inspiration: “My parents. They immigrated to New York from Israel at age 20 with no education and no money. Through extremely hard work and belief in each other, they were able to start their own moving company. After the recession of 2008, their business went under. Rather than folding and giving up, they started another business. I learned that at any point, we can fall on tough times, but it is your will and strength that can get you out.”


Emily Hahn

@SKYVIEWPEDIATRIC


Age:
34
City: Town and Country, Missouri
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Skyview Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DDS, Marquette University
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Hahn, a board-certified Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, board member of the Greater St. Louis Dental Society, vice president of the Missouri Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and new-dentist committee member for the Missouri Dental Association, specializes in working with children in her all-female office. In addition to owning and operating her practice, she also treats medically complex youths at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Exciting New Trend: “Preventive dentistry, in regard to addressing the pH of the mouth. I hope one day we can treat people based on caries risk rather than when there is a frank hole in a tooth.”
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “Education. As a pediatric dentist, I have the privilege to shape a patient’s perspective of dentistry for the rest of their life.”
Most Memorable Patient: “An epidermolysis bullosa patient. It was one of the most stressful environments to complete full-mouth restorative dentistry under general anesthesia. However, the gratitude of the family to take the child out of pain was humbling. Having a mother stop you in public and give you a big hug two years later—it doesn’t get better than that.”


Tyler D. Hanks

@HAPPYTOOTHSLC


Age:
31
City: Millcreek, Utah
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Happy Tooth Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DMD and MPH, A.T. Still University of Health Sciences
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Hanks has created the stuff of daydreams for kids all over the Salt Lake City area. From start to finish, his practice was designed with the patient in mind. It features private hygiene rooms complete with “mother’s lounges” off treatment rooms, and it wraps up at a basketball court, where kids can shoot hoops while parents discuss the intricacies of treatment plans without worrying about keeping their kids occupied or missing important details. In addition, Dr. Hanks founded the Happy Tooth Foundation, a nonprofit charity dedicated to assisting families in need. At home, he’s an involved father and husband, sports fanatic and car-radio karaoke enthusiast.
Exciting New Trend: “TikTok.”
Sage Advice: “Be yourself! Be yourself in every way you practice. Market yourself in how you build your space.”
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “The opportunity to be kind at every single turn, to really change someone’s perspective on what a dental experience can be.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I ride my Onewheel to the practice every day. I’m a kick-ass Spikeball player and amateur video gamer. I’m a hooper.”


Misee Harris

@DRMISEEHARRIS


Age:
36
City: Jonesboro, Arkansas
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Names of Practices: Children’s Dental Clinic of Jonesboro; the Louise Hage Medical & Dental Center
Education: DMD, University of Kentucky College of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: The first African-American female graduate of the Pediatric Residency Program at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Harris is now the owner of Children’s Dental Clinic of Jonesboro and recently opened another office, the Louise Hage Medical & Dental Center. Named for her grandmother, the Hage Center will provide low-cost health care to the underserved. Annually, Dr. Harris and her staff provide free oral-health assessments to local Head Start facilities, day-care centers and public schools. In addition to partnering with local organizations in the fight to end human trafficking and homelessness, Dr. Harris also founded “Hello I Flo,” a nonprofit dedicated to ending “period poverty” by delivering feminine- hygiene products to those in need.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “Dry Shield, especially with pediatric patients, because it gives my assistant and me the ability to use our hands freely. You always need extra hands when working with wiggly patients.”
Why She Became a Dentist: “I grew up being in hospitals often—not because I was sick. My mother is a nurse, and at the time, she didn’t have a babysitter for me. Being around nurses and doctors at a young age is what initially drew me to health care. During my junior year of high school, I discovered dentistry after talking to my then–pediatric dentist. I never looked back.”


Jason Hsieh

@MYSTARORTHO


Age:
34
City: Katy, Texas
Specialty: Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
Name of Practice: My Star Orthodontics
Education: DDS, UCLA School of Dentistry; MBA, Roseman; University of Health Sciences
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Hsieh, IT master and entrepreneur, brings more than just a strong SEO presence to his practice. Dr. Hsieh and his wife, Dr. Heather Luong (see page 64), deliver in-house 3D printing and customized aligner manufacturing for their patients; the couple also developed a high-volume HEPA filtration system amid the pandemic. Dr. Hsieh has made mission trips to Mexico, Honduras and underserved areas of California.
Philosophy: “Chase the dream, not the competition.”
Biggest Challenge: “Balancing perfectionism with pragmatism, both at work and in my personal life.”
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “The importance of team culture and nurturing a positive environment for patients by giving and receiving feedback among team members. Having honest conversations about each other’s performance helps us focus on what needs improving.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Hsieh speaks three languages (English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese) and plays three instruments (violin, guitar and piano).


Erinne Kennedy

ERINNEKENNEDY.COM


Age:
32
City: Joplin, Missouri
Specialty: Public health
Affiliation: Director of predoctoral dental education, Kansas City University College of Dental Medicine
Education: MMSc, Harvard School of Dental Medicine; DMD, MPH, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Kennedy has an extensive history of research and published journals. She has published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles in journals including Contour (a publication of the American Student Dental Association), Dental Economics and Dental Entrepreneur, as well as other state and national journals.
Exciting New Trend: “We can now use chairside screening machines to analyze a patient’s saliva in real time. This enables us to detect an environmental change in a patient’s mouth before disease is present and allows us to identify risk factors and prevent disease more effectively, and before any damage to healthy oral tissue occurs.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I love snail mail! My grandmother and I used to write each other every few weeks, and I fell in love with handwritten cards. To this day I have a pen pal and love to keep in touch with friends through snail mail.”


Edmund Khoo

@NYUDENTAL


Age:
40
City: New York
Specialty: Orthodontics
Affiliation: Eastman Institute of Oral Health, Indiana University School of Dentistry, New York University College of Dentistry
Education: BDSc (Hons), University of Western Australia; Certificate in orthodontic education, New York University College of Dentistry; Certificate in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, New York University College of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Khoo began his career in academia more than 15 years ago, mentoring, tutoring and educating. Having been born into the industry, he credits his father, a general dentist, as his career inspiration. In addition to sitting on scientific and review boards, he’s a fellow of the International College of Dentists, the American College of Dentists and the New York Academy of Medicine. His work has been cited more than 400 times in over 20 publications.
Why He Became a Dentist: “The ability to manipulate dental and skeletal tissues creates life-changing experiences for people.”
Most Memorable Patient: “A 77-year-old grandmother who wanted to close her diastema in time for her granddaughter’s wedding.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I play electric bass guitar.”


Bob Kumra

@KUMRAORTHO


Age:
36
Cities: Washington, D.C.; Stafford, Virginia
Specialty: Orthodontics
Name of Practices: Kumra Orthodontics
Education: DDS, Howard University College of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Kumra provides honest, ethical care to patients across his two practices, both of which he had opened within two years of graduating from residency. His treatment uses the latest technology, with scanners in every room, CBCT and digital dentistry; he operates a fully paperless office. He teaches at the residency program at Howard University, his alma mater, and is a member of the District of Columbia Dental Society and the Dental Society of Northern Virginia, as well as several study groups with restorative dentists in his area.
Inspiration: “My mother. She’s a single mother of three and always kept us on the right track.”
Most Memorable Patient: “The first person I ever put on braces on: a 76-year-old who needed room between her top and bottom teeth to be able to get dentures. I still keep in touch with her—she bakes the best sweet-potato pie and is kind enough to bring one over every holiday season.”
Biggest Challenge: “Working between two offices that are 40 miles apart on the portion of I-95 that has been voted the third-worst stretch of interstate in the country.”
Post-Pandemic Plans: “Fell in love during the pandemic and now working on starting our family. We are expecting baby Kumra this winter.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I was afraid of animals in general until I got married to an animal lover. Now I’m a proud puppy lover of my 7-month-old French bulldog, Drago.”


Gabriela Lagreca

@LAGRECAGABRIELA


Age:
36
City: Boston
Specialty: Prosthodontics
Affiliation: Tufts Faculty Practice
Education: DDS, Universidad Central del Venezuela; Certificate in prosthodontics, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Over a decade ago, Dr. Lagreca moved from Vene­zuela to the U.S., leaving behind friends and family to forge her own prosthodontic path. In addition to practicing at Tufts since 2017, she has also been a full-time professor of postgraduate prosthodontics since 2015, course director of a continuing-education program for internationally trained dentists at Tufts Dental, an active leader in the American College of Prosthodontics and director of the Academic Dental Career Fellowship Program at Tufts. Dr. Lagreca’s latest project is her podcast, The International Dentist, dedicated to helping foreign-trained doctors navigate the tasks of transferring their skill sets to American clinical settings.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “My Nikon camera and twin flashes.”
Exciting New Trend: “The integration and embra­cing of technologies, not only in clinical practice but also in education— the opportunity to change the patient experience for the better via teledentistry, optimize digital workflows and the reliability of educational technologies. This is an exciting and transformational time for dentistry.”
Most Memorable Patient: “A maxillofacial patient for whom I was making an obturator while in residency. I found a new lesion while taking impressions, and it was recurrent cancer. I wish I had met her sooner; she died a few weeks after my findings.”
Post-Pandemic Plans: “I finally started my EMBA! It’s one of those things that was on my to-do list for way too long, and it’s finally becoming reality. I’m graduating summer of 2022.”


Megan Lenahan

@LENAHANSMILES


Age:
37
City: St. Louis
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Lenahan Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Dentistry; MDS, University of Tennessee
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Lenahan joined her father’s dental practice and is carrying on their family legacy. Her experience runs the gamut: trauma call, oral sedation, dental care with general anesthesia, treating complex cases for medically compromised children and more. She’s an active member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Association of Forensic Odontology, the Missouri Dental Association, the Missouri Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the Greater St. Louis Dental Association.
Exciting New Trend: “I’m seeing a paradigm shift for more conservative care with pediatric populations. We’re using glass ionomer, SDF, the Hall technique and other tools to manage care with minimal sedation and less cooperation needed. While sedation will always be a necessary tool in pediatrics, it’s wonderful to have other options to manage care or buy time until our young patients are more able to cooperate.”
Post-Pandemic Plans: “Growth. We’re busier than ever. I believe dentistry was pretty prepared to adapt to this pandemic. I loved how my local dental organization and local dentists worked together to get the supplies we needed, donate what could spare and adapt. While we shut down temporarily, we were able to reopen and take care of our patients. The pandemic did highlight a few of our shortcomings as a profession, including [the need for] better masks for aerosolizing procedures, a larger focus on air quality and distancing of patients.”
Most Memorable Patient: “This is unconventional, but my most memorable ‘patient’ was probably the first time I assisted with a forensic dental identification. For the first time, I was given a chance to help give grieving families closure, and it was a very powerful emotion.”


Rebekah Lucier-Pryles

@UPPERVALLEYENDODONTICS


Age:
36
City: White River Junction, Vermont
Specialty: Endodontics
Name of Practice: Upper Valley Endodontics
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: An author, teacher, mother and endo master, Dr. Lucier-Pryles set the bar high even before her career. Having graduated valedictorian from Tufts Dental, she’s comfortable being at the front of the class and currently teaches endodontics residents at Tufts and Harvard. She’s also currently serving a term on the board of the Vermont State Dental Society.
Sage Advice: “Ours is a profession full of incredible opportunities: clinical experiences, continuing education, academic roles and responsibilities, organized dentistry, volunteerism, mentorship and beyond. Sometimes saying no to some of these opportunities, though, is just as important as saying yes. Your time is your most valuable resource. Does what you’re being offered fit into your career or personal goals? Does it spark your interest? If not, say no. Overcommitment can detract from your ability to fully engage in the things you’re passionate about. Do what you love, and do so enthusiastically.”
Philosophy: “Listen well, be kind and seek excellence.”
Inspiration: Dr. Lucier-Pryles credits her Tufts mentors, Drs. Daniel Green and Robert Amato. “Dr. Green modeled an unwavering determination to understand the science that supports the specialty of endodontics, as well as a persistent curiosity about our patients.” Of Dr. Amato, she says, “his commitment to clinical and professional excellence serves as the model for my own clinical practice.”


Heather Luong

@MYSTARORTHO


Age:
37
City: Katy, Texas
Specialty: Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
Name of Practice: My Star Orthodontics
Education: DDS, University of Texas School of Dentistry; MBA, Roseman University of Health Sciences
Why She Was Nominated: Along with her husband, Dr. Jason Hsieh (see page 61), Dr. Luong owns one of Houston’s leading orthodontic practices. Technology and innovation underlie the foundation of their practice, which offers iTero, 3D printing and customized aligners. In school, Dr. Luong was awarded several prestigious scholarships and graduated as an inductee of the Pierre Fauchard Academy. She has also distinguished herself as a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. She donates time and resources to those in need through Healthcare for the Homeless, Habitat for Humanity and the Houston Food Bank, has traveled on mission trips to Vietnam and supported missions to Peru and Guatemala.
Most Memorable Patient: “One of my denture patients in dental school loved his new denture so much that he mounted his old one in a display case and gave it to me as a gift to remember our appointments together.”
Philosophy: “We are passionate about serving people. As a wise faculty member once said, ‘We are not in the teeth business serving people but rather in the people business serving teeth.’ See through the lens of the patients’ eyes. Compassion, empathy and transparent communication help our patients understand the need for treatment, their treatment options and the pros and cons of each option.”
Post-Pandemic Plans: “Taking our #pandemicbaby to see the world.”


Denise Maniakouras

@BITESIZEPEDIATRICDENTISTRY


Age:
37
City: Frankfort, Illinois
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practices: Bite Size Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: The mother of three is a thriving entrepreneur who founded her practice in 2016. In the span of just five years, it has grown to two locations, 14 operatories, seven doctors and a staff of 35. Dr. Maniakouras is a member of the Illinois Society of Pediatric Dentistry, the Chicago Dental Society, the Illinois State Dental Society and the Chicago Pediatric Study Club. She has a passion for esthetic restorations, believing that she can make a positive impact on her patients’ self-esteem with treatments including zirconia crowns.
Inspiration: “My children. They inspire me to be my best and try my hardest. When working with children, I often think of them and what I would want for my own child.”
Most Memorable Patient: “In residency, I had a 3-year-old who needed oral sedation. Hers were difficult appointments to manage, and it was challenging to find a way to make her most comfortable while restoring her dental health. When I graduated, I worked at many offices until
I found my definite ‘dental home.’ This now-13-year-old has followed me to each and continues to remind me of the impact I’ve had on her. It has been such an honor to see her grow into a mature teenager.”


Daniel Narain

@INFINITE__SMILES


Age:
38
Cities: New York; New Jersey (multiple locations); Aruba
Specialty: Periodontics
Name of Practices: Infinite Smiles
Education: DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: The only practicing periodontist on Aruba, Dr. Narain currently practices throughout 10 offices spanning New York and New Jersey. He’s a major supporter of mentoring and often supports aspiring dentists, allowing them to shadow him during patient visits. A compassionate provider, Dr. Narain can complete implant surgery without guides. He’s the periodontal director at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn and is an active member of the National Dental Association of Greater New York.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “The periodontal probe. I use it on every patient. It allows me to measure distances in 1-millimeter increments.”
Sage Advice: “Prepare for retirement early. Open a Roth IRA account until income limits are exceeded.”
Biggest Challenge: “That I cannot be everywhere at once. I work in 10 offices in and near New York City, and it can be challenging accommodating appointments at each. Maybe in the future I’ll be able to clone myself.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’m fluent in four languages. Other than English, I communicate with patients in Dutch, Papiamento and Spanish, which are spoken in Aruba.”

Having 10 offices can be challenging. Maybe in the future I’ll be able to clone myself.” – Dr. Daniel Narain


Noah Orenstein

@DENTALSPECIALISTSMA


Age:
40
City: Newton, Massachusetts
Specialty: Prosthodontics
Name of Practice: The Dental Specialists
Education: DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine; MDSc, University of Connecticut
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Orenstein, the son of two health-care providers (his father a dentist, his mother a psychotherapist), always knew that caring for others would be in his future. A board-certified prosthodontist since 2013, he has focused his solo practice on implants, cosmetics and full-mouth rehabilitation. When he’s not at the office, Dr. Orenstein enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.
Inspiration: “Dr. John Agar, the prosthodontics program director at the University of Connecticut—the most talented dentist I have ever known.”
Why He Became a Dentist: “Aside from the influence my parents had on me, dentistry provides me the opportunity to work with my hands at a very technical and precise level. It also gives me an opportunity to continually meet new people and develop wonderful relationships.”
Post-Pandemic Plans: “Learn to play the guitar.”


Vanessa Peterson

@SYNERGIORTHO


Age:
34
City: Rancho Cucamonga, California
Specialty: Orthodontics
Name of Practice: Synergi Orthodontic Specialists
Education: DDS, Loma Linda University; MS, certificate in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, Oregon Health and Science University
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Peterson provides orthodontic care in her hometown of Rancho Cucamonga, to which she recently returned, making use of digital scanners and 3D X-rays. A clinical advisory consultant and lecturer for 3M Unitek braces and aligners, she’s also former chairman of both the New and Younger Members Committee of the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontics.
Exciting New Trend: “Digital scanning and 3D-printed appliances. Three of the most uncomfortable parts about orthodontics are goopy impressions, thick separators between molars and plastic retractors stretching the patient’s cheeks for photos. I have been able to reduce or eliminate these using this technology.”
Sage Advice: “Join a study club and ask to shadow in offices. I have learned so many great tips and tricks from spending time in my colleagues’ offices.”


Catherine Pham

@EASTVALLEYSMILE


Age:
31
City: Burbank, California
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: East Valley Children’s Dentistry
Education: DDS, UCLA School of Dentistry; MPH, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
Why She Was Nominated: Immediately following her residency, Dr. Pham became a faculty member for the graduate pediatric program at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry. She soon ascended to clinical director of its Advanced Pediatric Dental Clinic, a position she holds today. She regularly volunteers her time to the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry (CSPD), of which she is a board member, in addition to serving as the CSPD liaison to many national organizations. She also developed an Emergency Preparedness Protocol Handbook, available to all California pediatric dentists.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “Floss. When you work with kids, you put floss on everything—you don’t want your wiggly patients to end up swallowing anything.”
Post-Pandemic Plans: “Go on a long and much-needed vacation with my husband and future baby, due in November!”


Sarunphorn “Sara” Rasamimari

@PCODENTALNY


Age:
30
City: Long Island City, New York
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: PCO Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
Education: DMD, Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine—Illinois
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Rasamimari met her best friend and business partner, Tiya Ungphakorn (see page 70), as residents at New York University. They opened their practice together amid the pandemic, offering pediatric dentistry and orthodontics in Queens, New York. A Thai immigrant, Dr. Rasamimari moved to the U.S. when she was 6. She and Dr. Ungphakorn bring specialized care to their young patients with scanning, 3D printing and advanced pain management.
Inspiration: “My father. He’s a neonatologist, and not only did he get a degree in the U.S. but did so in Thailand as well. Seeing how hard he’s worked to provide for our family has motivated me, and that passion to help kids definitely got passed on.”
Biggest Challenge: “The transition from student to working professional. School and residency prepared me for work, but balancing my personal and professional life was more difficult than I expected.”


Brad W. Ray

@PLATTSBURGHORALSURGERY


Age:
39
City: Plattsburgh, New York
Specialty: Oral and maxillofacial surgery
Name of Practice: Plattsburgh Oral Surgery PC
Education: DDS, University of Iowa College of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: An avid snowboarder, stand-up paddleboarder and novice sailor, Dr. Ray took over his solo-practitioner surgical office immediately after residency. He completed his surgical residency at McGill University in Montreal (where he’s now a faculty lecturer) and his general practice residency at the University of British Columbia. In addition to his own practice, Dr. Ray also cares for patients at UVM-Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh. He’s board-certified in both the United States and Canada.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “Light. You only know what you can see.”
Exciting New Trend: “Digital dentistry and guided navigation. These innovations will aid in safer and more efficient surgery, with better outcomes for our patients.”
Sage Advice: “Don’t be in a hurry with life, and dedicate yourself to your education and craft. Be curious. Proficiency takes time and repetition. Don’t overplan, stay fluid and adapt to change. Give back in some way.”
Most Memorable Patient: “The oral cancer patients have been the most memorable. People are truly amazing. The human spirit is unmatched. Given a potentially grave situation, these patients are able to overcome the terror of their diagnosis and maintain a strong positive outlook and fight. I’ve learned so much helping them.”

Be curious. Proficiency takes time and repetition. Don’t overplan, stay fluid and adapt to change. Give back.” – Dr. Brad W. Ray


Chad Rebhun

@OPTIMUMORALSURGERY


Age:
36
City: Voorhees Township, New Jersey
Specialty: Oral and maxillofacial surgery
Name of Practices: Optimum Oral Surgery Group
Education: DMD, Boston University School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Rebhun is a third-generation practitioner. (In all, there are 11 dentists in his and his wife’s family; Dr. Rebhun’s wife is an endodontist with a practice next door.) In his three offices, he practices dentoaveolar and wisdom-tooth procedures, sedation and general anesthesia, oral reconstruction with implants, advanced bone and tissue grafting, facial trauma, jaw surgery, oral pathology and more. He’s involved in Smiles for Vets programs and works with community labs to donate dental care to those in need.
Exciting New Trend: “Many that stem from the use of 3D CBCT scanners. We’ve been at the forefront by using 3D CBCT dynamic guided surgery. This allows us to see where we’re operating in real time on a 3D scan. We’re applying X-Guide technology to complete more major cases, such as zygomatic and pterygoid implants for full arch reconstruction and even complica­ted impacted teeth.”


Julia Servetnik

@CAVITYPATROLPEDIATRICDENTISTRY


Age:
30
City: Cypress, Texas
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Cavity Patrol Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DMD, University of New England School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Servetnik opened her practice with her husband, Dr. Chun Wong (see page 71), when they were both 29 and determined to bring gentle pediatric dental care to their Houston-area community. The pair met in school, bonding after learning that they shared similar childhoods, both having moved to the U.S. at age 10 and growing up in underprivileged families. Cavity Patrol Pediatric works with Cy-Hope, a local nonprofit group, and donates a backpack full of food to underserved children for every new pediatric patient they sign up.
Exciting New Trend: “Laser frenectomies.”
Why She Became a Dentist: “I remember going to see the dentist in Ukraine. I was 7 years old, and I would go to the basement of our school to get my over-retained primary incisors removed. I didn’t have any fear until my teens when I needed dental treatment. I wanted to be a dentist so I could help people get their teeth fixed with less fear, since I could relate to them.”


Joey Sessums

@KDMCBROOKHAVEN


Age:
37
City: Brookhaven, Mississippi
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Ole Brook Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DMD, University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: As the only pediatric dentist in her area, Dr. Sessums serves a large population of children in southern Mississippi and is lauded for the compassion she shows her patients. She comes from a medical family: Her grandfather was a small-town Mississippi dentist for three decades. Currently, Dr. Sessums is expanding her office to include an additional 10 operatories.
Why She Became a Dentist: “I love the surgical aspect, but I also love the idea of making dentistry a positive experience and forming long-lasting relationships with my patients and families.”
Exciting New Trend: “For pediatrics specifically, new pulp treatment options and noninvasive treatment options such as SDF.”
Most Memorable Patient: “A little girl with Down syndrome I’ve been seeing since she was very young. She has formed such a great relationship with my staff. Everyone is always excited when she’s on the schedule. We’ve even gotten to the point where we’ve been able to treat her as needed in clinic due to the bond they’ve formed.”


Michael D. Sock

@THEORALSURGERYGROUP_PENNDIOS


Age:
40
City: Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Specialty: Oral and maxillofacial surgery
Name of Practices: The Oral Surgery Group
Education: DMD, Temple University School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: When he’s not training for a marathon or suiting up to coach his kids’ sports teams,
Dr. Sock is busy running his technologically focused group of four offices. Named a “Top Doc” by Philadelphia magazine for the last six years running, he’s currently the OMFS trauma surgeon at four Philadelphia-area hospitals. Each of his practices boasts technology including X-Nav, guided surgery, digital oral scanners and Cone Beam CTs.
Sage Advice: “Know your limitations.”
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “Using the latest technology to make surgical procedures easier for my patients.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’m an avid runner and have completed 11 marathons, as well as dozens of other running races and triathlons.”


Jeremiah Sturgill

@STURGILLORTHO


Age:
35
City: Johnson City, Tennessee
Specialty: Orthodontics
Name of Practice: Sturgill Orthodontics
Education: DMD, MPH, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health
Why He Was Nominated: A Diplomate with the American Board of Orthodontics, Dr. Sturgill is an assistant professor for the orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic residency program at Virginia Commonwealth University. After completing his Certificate in orthodontics and doctorate in health education, he was chosen to participate in an implant osseointegration study at Harvard. He and his wife, endodontist Dr. Riley Sturgill (see below), have traveled together on dental missions as far as the Arctic Circle.
Sage Advice: “If you want to focus on growing your practice, focus on your team. The customer service your team provide and how they interact with patients is more important than you may realize. Excellence in clinical skills and chairside manner will never be enough to overcome poor customer service.”
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “De-bonds! This is especially fun on adult patients who have always been self-conscious because of their smiles. To see tears of joy from patients when they look in the mirror and are shocked to see the smile they’ve always wanted is an indescribable feeling.”


Riley Sturgill

@STURGILLENDODONTICS


Age:
34
City: Johnson City, Tennessee
Specialty: Endodontics
Name of Practice: Sturgill Endodontics
Education: DMD, A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health; MSD and Certificate in endodontics, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Sturgill, currently pursuing Diplomate status with the American Board of Endodontics, owns and operates her practice, teaches residents of the Virginia Commonwealth Endodontic Residency Program and has made mission trips to Belize, Brazil and Uganda. She and her husband, orthodontist Dr. Jeremiah Sturgill (see above), have two children and two golden retrievers, one of which, Patton, serves as a comfort dog for patients at her office.
Exciting New Trend: “I love that patients are taking it upon themselves to research providers. So many choose our practice because of our Google reviews.”
Inspiration: “My husband is my mentor, best friend and biggest fan. He helped me every step of the way from dental school to owning my own practice. His incredible orthodontic practice is a think tank for innovation. I’m inspired by how he leads his team and serves as a trusted colleague to his associates.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I rely solely on God for strength and wisdom to treat patients and run my practice. My staff and I pray every morning for the day, for our patients and for the success of the practice. He has blessed us beyond our wildest dreams.”

I love that patients are taking it upon themselves to research their providers. So many new patients choose us because of our Google reviews.” – Dr. Riley Sturgill


Neil Uffner

@DOCTORUFF


Age:
36
City: Philadelphia
Specialty: Orthodontics
Name of Practice: Broad Street Braces
Education: DMD, MS, Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Uffner regularly donates services to underserved patients, participating in both Give Kids a Smile and Smiles Change Lives. His office is oriented around advanced technology, with every patient receiving iTero or 3Shape scans at both the beginning and end of treatment. Dr. Uffner also gives each patient a copy of their own 3D-printed models, should they require retainers in the future. He’s an active runner, having competed in Philly’s 10-mile Broad Street Run for the last decade; he also runs marathons.
Biggest Challenge: “With offices in a big city, we see patients from so many different backgrounds, and they all have their own expectations of us and their treatment. People often remind me that it’s impossible to make everyone happy, but I can’t help but try.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’ve got a 175-week streak going on my Peloton bike and am going strong.”


Tatiya Ungphakorn

@PCODENTALNY


Age:
39
City: Long Island City, New York
Specialty: Orthodontics
Name of Practice: PCO Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
Education: DDS, New York University College of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. “Tiya” Ungphakorn runs PCO in Queens with her best friend and business partner, Dr. Sarunphorn “Sara” Rasamimari. Dr. Ungphakorn, born and raised in Thailand, graduated from Chulalongkorn University College of Dentistry, the country’s top dental school, before coming to the United States. Both she and Dr. Rasamimari have traveled abroad to provide dental care to the underserved.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “The Mathieu plier is often taken for granted, but we need this instrument in almost every orthodontic procedure. And the clicking sound it makes is very satisfying.”
Biggest Challenge: “Moving to a new country as an immigrant. English is not my first language, so it was challenging to move to the USA to embark on a new career.”
Why She Became a Dentist: “Being an orthodontist is the coolest job ever—orthodontists are engineers and architects at the same time, and the planning that goes into the treatment is what makes this specialty fun.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I was a dental officer in the Royal Thai Navy.”


Laura J. Westover

@POLARPEDIATRICDENTALCARE


Age:
37
City: Mentor, Ohio
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Polar Pediatric Dental Care
Education: DDS, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry; MSBS, pediatric dentistry/pedodontics, the University of Toledo Medical Center
Why She Was Nominated: A mother herself, Dr. Westover understands the nuances of pediatrics. She gives her patients the most comfort possible, whether in the form of a size-appropriate bitewing or paying attention to the sensory needs of a child with autism. She donates dental supplies and is involved in the Cleveland Women’s Pediatric Dental Group. Additionally, she’s an American Board of Pediatric Dentistry Diplomate and a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Greater Cleveland Dental Society and the Ohio Dental Association.
Inspiration: “My stepdad, Dr. Stephen R. Branam, is a pediatric dentist and has taught me so much about the business and caring for patients and families.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’ve seen two of the world’s largest craters, one by way of riding a donkey. ”


Chun Wong

@CAVITYPATROLDENTISTRY


Age:
30
City: Cypress, Texas
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Cavity Patrol Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DMD, University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Wong and his wife, Dr. Julia Servetnik (see page 68), opened their Houston-area pediatric practice together a year ago. Dr. Wong graduated in the top two of his dental school class and received the Richard C. Pugh Achievement Award for his board score, which was in the top 3 percent of all graduating dental residents nationwide.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “DryShield. I do 95 percent of treatment with it, and I can’t imagine doing any operative procedure without it.”
Most Memorable Patient: “I met a 9-year-old who had baking flour packed into his decaying tooth. He had a mouthful of rampant caries and was suffering excruciating pain due to an abscess from an untreated infection. I was stunned to hear the mother explain that she thought the flour was tooth-colored and might help the tooth heal. I was confronted with the reality that not all patients possess the knowledge of oral hygiene information that I previously took for granted.”


Jacqueline Zamani

@MURRAYHILLPEDIATRICDENTISTRY


Age:
39
City: New York
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Murray Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of Maryland School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: “Dr. Jackie” has practiced pediatric dentistry in Manhat­tan for more than nine years. She started Murray Hill Pediatric Dentistry in June 2019 and plans to expand on Manhattan’s Upper East Side this year. In addition to instructing clinical students part-time at New York University, she’s a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Northeast Society of Pediatric Dentists and the New York Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Inspiration: “My father, Dr. H. Arfaa, who recently passed away. He was a plastic, hand and reconstructive surgeon who immigrated to this country in 1960. He built a successful plastic-surgery practice in Maryland, and he was always my biggest supporter in anything I did.”
Most Memorable Patient: “A severely autistic little boy. From the time he was 3, his father had to hold him down for every cleaning or filling. As he got older, he learned to trust me wholeheartedly. Even though he’s nonverbal, he now understands that I’m only trying to help him, and he allows me to do cleanings and fillings on him.”


THE EXCELLENT WORK done under the auspices of the Dental Lifeline Network has particular resonance for one of this year’s 40 Under 40: Dr. Caroline Zeller. Her father, Dr. Stephen Zeller, an oral surgeon in Topeka, Kansas, has over the DLN’s 47-year history donated more services than any other provider. “He’s known as a real hero in his community,” the younger Dr. Zeller says, “and is the most generous man I have ever known.”

His peers agree: This May, Dr. Stephen Zeller was named 2021 Dentist of the Year at the 150th annual meeting of the Kansas Dental Association, which lauded him in part for his service as board president of the Dental Lifeline Network’s Kansas chapter.

A nonprofit organization founded in 1974, the Dental Lifeline Network, headquartered in Denver, provides dental care and education nationwide to people who lack means and who
are elderly, have a permanent disability or are otherwise “medically fragile.” Its nationwide network numbers some 15,000 volunteer dentists and 3,400 volunteer labs. We’ve highlighted participating doctors from the 40 Under 40 with the symbol you see at left and encourage all Incisal Edge readers to get involved. For more information, visit dentallifeline.org.


 

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

The ongoing exploits of 40 Under 40 honorees from years past.

CLASS OF 2020

Dr. Rose Jocelyn Amable
Ardsley, New York
Dr. Amable recently received the Lifetime Achievement Presidential Volunteer Service Award, an honor signed by President Biden himself. The recognition is given to those who, through commitment and example, inspire others to volunteer in their communities.

 

Dr. Johnny Brennan
Chandler, Arizona
“As we emerge from a year of lockdown, our family was finally able to make a trip to the California-Oregon coast and commune with nature. It was a fabulous trip with outstanding views, lots of hugging the awe-inspiring redwoods and cold but beautiful beaches.”

 

Dr. Shalom Fialkoff
Paradise Valley, Arizona
“My family is growing alongside the practice. Our little boy, Joey, joined our family this February.” (Drs. Nikki Bloom and Shalom Fialkoff with Abby and Joey)

 

 

Dr. Casey Lynn
Apollo Beach, Florida
“Last year we started the Tampa Tongue-Tie Center to help infants, adolescents and adults with functional restrictions of the mouth, and we’ve grown it tremendously.” In October, Dr. Lynn will deliver his first big lecture on tongue ties to the Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry at its annual meeting.

 


Dr. Sunny Patel

Overland Park, Kansas
The family and implant dentist (far right) partnered with the Veterans Community Project in Kansas City to ensure dental care for area veterans when his OnSite mobile clinic was grounded during the pandemic—an initiative honored by the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

 


Dr. Kianor Shah

Palm Desert, California
Dr. Shah has been named a member of the Global Summits Institute’s Top 100 Doctors for 2022. “I’ve also just filed for the third patent of the
Universal Fastening system,” he says.

CLASS OF 2019


Dr. Meredith Bailey

Boston
A group practice leader at Boston University’s Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Bailey took office as president of the Massachusetts Dental Society on July 1. She’s the youngest president in the organization’s history and will also serve its first-ever two-year presidential term.

 


Dr. Bar Nguyen

Spring, Texas
“We’ve completed our Adventure Ortho­dontics office and refocused our treatment philosophy toward biological, airway and whole-body wellness. We’ve had great success using TikTok and YouTube as platforms to reach patients with engaging, fun and educational videos.”

 


Dr. Valerie I. Okehie

Greenbelt, Maryland
Elite Root Canal Specialties was founded in 2018 and has seen steady growth. “We’ve added an associate endodontist so we’re better able to serve more of our patients’ needs,” Dr. Okehie says.

 


Dr. Shalin Patel

Katy, Texas
The first-time author recently published Transforming Dentistry Together, a combination memoir and professional-guidance book.

 


Dr. Mary R. Pham

Placentia, California
Along with Dr. Hideki Ikeda, Dr. Pham is preparing the largest expansion of Lollipop Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics since it opened in 2013; it’ll grow from four to seven offices in Southern California by early 2022. “This will bring new smiles to children and create jobs,” Dr. Pham says.

 


Dr. Sean Pierce

Tustin, California
The cosmetic dentist and oral surgeon is bringing his extensive knowledge of robotic implant surgery and teeth whitening to partner with Neocis Robotics and Mavrik Dental Systems, respectively, at a new office in Beverly Hills.

 


Dr. Kadambari Rawal

Boston
“The pandemic year was stressful for everyone, especially those of us providing dental care to geriatric patients in long-term care communities. Treating a vulnerable population was a challenge but also very much needed.”

 


Dr. Kajuana Farrey Sutton

Moultrie, Georgia
The implant and cosmetic dentist has graduated several dental assistants in Georgia through her Georgia Dental Educational Institute since it opened for enrollment in 2019. Her practice, Farrey Family Dentistry, celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2021—and she and her husband are expecting their first child this autumn.

CLASS OF 2018


Dr. Tuan Pham

Austin, Texas
“Since my appearance on the 40 Under 40, I have become the dad of a beautiful baby girl (and future dentist!). Professionally, I continue to teach dentists via Dental Maverick and continue to host the Dental Maverick Summit—the next one will occur April 22 and 23, 2022, in Austin.”

CLASS OF 2016


Dr. Michael Verber

Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Health System model, which I believe will replace the DSO trend. I can share the story of Mac, a young man who motivated us to address the fragmented dental landscape in our area. Mac was 5 years old when he came to us. It took us two years, but we’ve now opened our own pediatric practice to help kids like him.” (To see the full story of Mac’s inspiration, visit verberdentalgroup.com.)

CLASS OF 2012


Drs. Misael AND Lindsey Otero

Hampstead, North Carolina
In addition to continuing to help patients achieve their dream smiles in their clinical practice, the Drs. Otero (our
40 Under 40 cover couple in 2012) received a Gold Edison Award in 2020 for an innovative new product they developed: Easy Denture (easydenture.com), an inexpensive and quick, simple-to-fit denture that can serve temporarily during patient recovery or as an alternative to traditional dentures for patients who need a truly low-cost option.
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BY: McKenzie Kupchik