IF DENTISTRY HAD an official color, it would probably be white: the lab coat, the pristine sterilization area and, of course, the gleaming set of choppers on every patient who walks out the door. For our eighth annual celebration of 40 of the finest young clinicians age 40 and under, though, we went with something a little . . . moodier. Blue—from brilliant azure to deep indigo to elegant denim that’s as suitable for a night on the town as a weekend around the house—is having a moment. So we invited these top practitioners to Manhattan for a few days of gala events and a professional photo shoot, styled them, tricked them out in all the latest (mostly sky-hued) fashions and let their natural magnetism take over. The results, we’re confident, speak for themselves. Because while great dentistry necessarily encompasses a good amount of bright, beautiful white, the 40 resplendent talents on the two dozen pages ahead make clear that when the workday is over and the practice shuttered for the evening, there’s nothing wrong with feeling just a little bit blue.
MEET THE JUDGES
Age: 39 City: Katy, Texas
Specialty: Restorative and cosmetic dentistry
Name of Practice: TUTH Dental
Education: DDS, University of Southern California School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Born in London and raised in Houston and Los Angeles, Dr. Aghajanian has spent countless hours in continuing-education courses on cosmetic, implant and pediatric dentistry. She also volunteers her time to work with homeless adults and underprivileged children.
Why She Became a Dentist: A painful childhood appointment with the dentist put Dr. Aghajanian off a repeat visit until, as a college senior studying human anatomy, she suffered a toothache. “Here I was trying to be a physician, but I was terrified of the dentist,” she says, shaking her head. She mustered the requisite courage—and was pleasantly surprised. “This new dentist from USC won my heart with his professionalism and attentiveness. That visit made me fall in love with dentistry.”
Tools She Can’t Live Without: “My mirror and my heart. I cannot do any kind of dentistry without my mirror, and you need to have empathy for people. If you don’t have a heart and you don’t love what you do, there’s no reason to treat anyone.”
Something People Don’t Know: “Ever since I was a little girl, my passion has been music. I started singing professionally at age 5, and I still do so. It’s a way of expressing myself beyond dentistry.”
JASON M. BRESLER
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Doc Bresler’s Cavity Busters (seven locations in the Philadelphia area)
Education: Bachleor’s, Penn State; DMD, Temple University– Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: A devoted dentist to children and those with special needs, Dr. Bresler works at the same practice his father opened in 1982, alongside three other family dentists: his brother, Josh (a member of Incisal Edge’s 40 Under 40 in 2017); his sister, Rachel; his wife, Jill; and his sister-in-law, Tracey. “Dr. Jason,” as he’s known around the office, serves 30 to 40 special-needs adults each week in addition to his pediatric work; he’s also the clinical director of Pennsylvania’s Special Olympics Healthy Athletes’ Special Smiles division, through which he creates mouthguards and teaches athletes proper mouth care.
Inspiration: His father, Dr. David A. Bresler, was “was one of the best guys around.” The elder Bresler was an instructor at Temple’s Kornberg School from 1982 until his death in 2015; today, all his children teach there as well.
Sage Advice: “Once you’re done with school, don’t stop learning. There should never be a point where you think you’ve gotten to the peak of the profession. To stay on top, you always have to be learning—that’s the cool thing about dentistry.”
Most Memorable Patients: “My special-needs children. I spend the most time with them—kids with autism and Down syndrome or even rare diseases. Some of them I’ve treated since I graduated from dental school. Those are the most rewarding patients, without doubt.”
I love how 3D printing has changed the game in orthodontics. We’re able to have a retainer that fits beautifully the day of de-bond.”
—Dr. Danielle Bauer
BRYAN BAUER + DANIELLE BAUER
Ages: Bryan, 39; Danielle, 37
City: Wheaton, Illinois
Specialties: Bryan, general dentistry; Danielle, orthodontics
Name of Practice: Bauer Dentistry and Orthodontics
Education: Bryan, DDS, University of Illinois– Chicago College of Dentistry; Danielle, DDS, MS and certificate in orthodontics, University of Illinois–Chicago College of Dentistry
Why They Were Nominated: This oral-health power couple met in 2004, when Bryan was a senior at UIC Dental and Danielle was a freshman. Their joint practice is a focal point of Wheaton’s cityscape—they recently rehabbed the town founder’s house, transforming it into their office.
Inspiration: For Danielle, her late mother, who never let her forget that you’re able to choose your path. “She passed away when I was 8, and that has driven me to make the most of each day. Life is short.”
Biggest Challenge: Building a business and retaining the personal touch. “It’s harder to do that when more people are involved,” Bryan says. For Danielle, it’s the rise of DIY orthodontics, mail-in ortho and even artificial intelligence: “They challenge our profession to step up and show the value we have as doctors.”
Philosophy: “Since people are busier than ever, we want to be able to provide care for the entire family in one location,” Danielle says.
Most Memorable Patient: A woman with Sjögrens syndrome, an immune disorder that causes dry eyes and mouth. “She always had a positive attitude,” Bryan says. She has since passed away, but the Bauers remain close to her family.
Something People Don’t Know: “I could eat chips and ice cream for every meal,” Danielle says. “It takes a lot of willpower to actually eat real food.”
City: Los Angeles
Specialty: General dentistry Name of Practice: Environdental Education: DDS, University of Southern California School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: With a steady focus on sustainability, Dr. Caligiuri has built a truly eco- friendly dental practice in Los Angeles. In 2015, the year Environdental opened, he won OpenCare.com’s Patients’ Choice Award for L.A. dentists. Why He Became a Dentist: “I was a creative kid. I doodled and loved art and architecture. In college, I saw that dentistry is one of the few professions that blend art and science. I was hooked.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “I’d be useless without my loupes and headlight. I have the same pair I used in dental school, and they’re my security blanket.”
Philosophy: “Someone brilliant once said something along the lines of ‘integrity is treating well those who can do nothing for you.’ That’s a good way to live.”
Exciting New Trend: 3D printing. “We’re going to see a lot more applications of this technology, and anything that complements a digital practice is also good news for the environment.”
Something People Don’t Know: “To be fair, some people know this, but I love food. Everything about food: cooking it, eating it, exploring other cultures through it. I often tell people that I love to travel—which is true, but it’s really about trying new food in a foreign place. It connects us all; we can all relate to it. OK, I’m getting hungry.”
City: Westerly, Rhode Island
Specialty: General dentistry Name of Practice: Plum Dental
Education: Bachelor’s, Providence College; DDS, the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: A third-generation dentist (his brother, Marcus, was a member of Incisal Edge’s 40 Under 40 last year), Dr. Capalbo has expanded his practice from one to 12 locations across his home state of Rhode Island, as well as eastern Connecticut.
Philosophy: “I strongly adhere to the mindset of treating each patient like a family member. The notion of visiting the small-town dentist can be maintained alongside the positive, rapid advances in health care, technology and culture. I strive to achieve this harmony in my practice and find it to be the most important part of my work.”
Inspiration: “My father, Dr. Brian Capalbo, who is still practicing dentistry at age 71 and who truly enjoys coming to work and seeing each of his patients—some of whom he’s been treating for 40 years. I’m amazed by both his work ethic and his dedication to his practice.”
Biggest Challenge: “Finding the proper balance between corporate dentistry and maintaining your independence as a practicing dentist.”
Building a green practice, I was inspired by architecture and nature. I love the idea of preserving the old and blending it with the new in a timeless, sustainable fashion.”
—Dr. Matthew Caligiuri
City: North Hempstead, New York
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry Names of Practices: Little Neck Come Dental; SOMA Dental; Jericho Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DDS, New York University College of Dentistry; Jacobi Medical Center (pediatric dentistry)
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Choi was inspired to enter the profession after reading a book about doctors who treated patients in the Amazon. Since 2007, he has made annual mission trips to Oaxaca, Mexico, with some 50 dental professionals to treat patients in need. “I haven’t gone to the Amazon yet,” he says, “but I would like to use my God-given talent to help and love people around the world.”
Exciting New Trend: Silver diamine fluoride and triple antibiotic paste. “It’s an awesome tool to stop cavity progression or to buy time before definitive treatment can be rendered,” he says.
Sage Advice: “Having great hand skills is a must to be successful in dentistry. However, you should learn how to communicate with your patients or their parents about your treatment plans. If you work hard and are friendly and honest, they’ll appreciate your work and continue to refer more patients to your practice.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: Nitrous oxide. “I use laughing gas with most patients between ages 3 and 5 when they need dental work.
ALAN COMMET + WENFEI WANG
Age: Commet, 32; Wang, 32
Name of Practice: Renovo Endodontic Studio (six locations in the Chicago area)
Education: DMD, Harvard School of Dental Medicine; certificate in endodontics, UCLA (both)
Why They Were Nominated: This talented twosome met in high school (they took the same city bus home) and went on to attend the same universities and complete the same coursework—so it should be no surprise that they now co-own six practices throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. “We’ve managed to keep it together through college, dental school, residency—although there were some moments— starting a career and, probably the most stressful of all: newborn twins,” Dr. Wang says with a laugh. “I can’t imagine a better partner in life.”
Inspiration: “Each other, and our group of amazing doctors,” Dr. Commet says. “We’ve all had different training and different experiences, and the wonderful thing about working with such a large group is the many ideas and perspectives you get.”
Tool They Can’t Live Without: The microscope. “You can’t treat what you can’t see,” Dr. Wang observes.
Something People Don’t Know: “I love to draw, and my artwork is on our practice website,” Dr. Wang says. As for Dr. Commet, patients are often surprised to learn that he can speak both Spanish and Mandarin (some Mandarin, anyway).
JON COPELAND + STEPHANIE COPELAND
Ages: Jon, 37; Stephanie, 35
City: Wildwood, Missouri
Specialty: General dentistry
Name of Practices: Jon, Town Center Dental; Stephanie, Watson Dental Associates
Education: DDS, University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Dentistry (both)
Why They Were Nominated: This married couple regu- larly provide dental-care services to those in need, including international mission trips, public-health initiatives and work with veterans. Jon went on his first mission trip, to Honduras, when he was 18; during the visit he helped extract some 100 teeth. “I was hooked,” he recalls. Together, the duo once spent two weeks working in Zambia—and at the end of that trip, they got engaged.
Inspiration: “I was drawn to the profession to help others,” says Stephanie, who began her career in public health at a dental clinic treating the underserved in Union, Missouri.
Sage Advice: “Take time to get proficient at procedures you’re doing every day: fillings, crowns, et cetera,” Jon says. “Get better and faster at the routine dentistry before jumping off into sub-specialties.”
Something People Don’t Know: Along with a team of chefs, Jon used to enter barbecue competitions. “We competed at local barbecue events against professional teams and restaurants, and raised money for charities including Dental Lifeline Network,” he says. “It was really fun, but a ton of work.” Since his and Stephanie’s kids have gotten older, Jon has retired from competition—but still occasionally smokes meat in the family’s backyard.
City: Randolph, New Jersey
Specialty: General dentistry
Name of Practice: Dickerson Dental Group
Education: DDS and master’s in molecular cell biology, University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Dickerson built his practice from the ground up, literally—making way for the foundation of his current office behind the wheel of an excavator. His light touch with patients is a particular specialty; he often engages them in a friendly game of “OK, which TV show are we going to watch during this appointment?”
Why He Became a Dentist: Dr. Dickerson has always loved problem solving, he says, and saw dentistry as a means to continuous challenge: “The bigger the problem, the more I’m motivated to resolve it.”
Inspiration: Banks and the IRS. “If I can’t pay my mortgages and taxes, game over. That’s a problem I can’t solve.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: The TV remote. “My patients and I battle it out over which channel we’ll watch,” he says. “I usually lose—except when the New Jersey Devils are on.”
Most Memorable Patient: “It’s tough to narrow it down, but the patient sitting next to me helping me answer these questions is pretty memorable.”
Sage Advice: “Don’t fit into the norm of how a dentist is thought of, or how you’ve watched other dentists be. Practice how you want to. Make it fun, because it should be.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Dickerson loves construction and helped build his current office, which was fun, he says—well, mostly. “Nothing is more exhilarating than sitting on a 40-ton excavator and moving some serious earth after a difficult No. 15 root canal.”
GREGORY M. FELDMAN
Cities: Ocala and Lady Lake, Florida
Specialty: General dentistry
Name of Practice: Marion Dental Group
Education: DMD, the University of Florida College of Dentistry; fellowships, the International Congress of Oral Implantologists and the Academy of General Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Feldman’s initial interest in what he calls the “blend of science and art” of dentistry began when his family dentist replaced his premolar—missing since birth—with an implant. Dr. Feldman would later serve as a summer assistant to that doctor, a first step down the path that led him to complete a Mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry—an honor held by only a small percentage of dentists.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “My crown-spreader forceps. They make removing permanent crowns much easier and have saved me a lot of chair time.”
Something People Don’t Know: An Ultimate Frisbee player at the University of Florida, Dr. Feldman and his team won the sport’s national championship in 2010.
Most Memorable Patient: “A sweet older lady who had such a great personality. You could tell she didn’t love going to the dentist, but we developed a great relationship where our senses of humor really connected. Unfortunately, she very recently passed away. I will definitely miss her.”
City: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Name of Practice: West Chester Orthodontics
Education: DDS and MS in oral biology and certificate in orthodontics, the University of Maryland, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Ferrell has had a lifelong love for the profession; as a child, she often sported a T-shirt that read I LOVE MY DENTIST, HE’S MY DADDY. She went on to receive the Timothy O. Heatwole award from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, given to a student who exemplifies high ethical standards and humanitarianism. She now participates in school-supply and canned-food drives, and offers five sets of free braces to kids every year through a nonprofit called Community Volunteers in Medicine—making her entrance to the group’s events in her signature tooth-fairy car.
Biggest Challenge: Buying a practice while six months pregnant with her third child. “They say there’s never a right time,” she says, “so I went for it.” A year later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Having to manage a practice, attend to a family and get treatment was like having three full-time jobs.”
Tool She Can’t Live Without: Her iTero scanner. “Digital impressions are the way to go: fast, accurate and no gagging.”
Philosophy: “Be the best part of the patient’s day.”
Sage Advice: “Spend time shadowing dentists and the different specialties,” she says, addressing aspiring clinicians. “That will give you a good feel for what’s out there and can help you decide if this is what you really want to do.”
Something People Don’t Know: As a child, she once sang on a television show. “It was on a local station in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The show was called Sonny Farms. My sister and I occasionally watch our performance on a VHS tape for a good laugh.”
CHRISTOPHER M. GREEN
City: Parker, Colorado
Specialty: General dentistry
Name of Practice: Green Dental Care
Education: DMD, Temple University– Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: After working at a Chicago- area practice, Dr. Green (a third-generation dentist) and his wife, Jenna, moved to Colorado. There, he opened a successful startup practice and is an engaged member of the American Dental Association, the Colorado Dental Society and the Metro Denver Dental Society.
Inspiration: “My dad and grandfather. Their love of dentistry started with their love for people.”
Philosophy: “There are no shortcuts. You can have a successful practice, make a great income and enjoy your free time, but to achieve all that you have to work hard and be intentional about your goals.”
Exciting New Trend: “Groups like the Dental Success Network, through which dentists are joining hands to compete against corporate dentistry. Putting our minds together, we’re helping one another solve everyday problems in real time. This leads to a better patient experience and better work-life balance for practice owners.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I spent six years in high school and college in a punk/hardcore band. It was a blast growing up playing music with some of my best friends, friends I’m close with to this day.”
Name of Practice: The Harvard Dental Center Faculty Group Practice
Education: DDS, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine; DMSc and certificate in prosthodontics, Harvard School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Just six months into his academic career, Dr. Grieco was named director of predoctoral prosthodontics at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.
Inspiration: “My students, who always push me to better myself, my teaching and my practice.”
Biggest Challenge: Teaching tomorrow’s dentists about the vast, always-evolving field of prosthodontics. “Instruction of these bright students is not a task I take lightly.”
Philosophy: “When I provide care, the only thing on my mind is the person entrusting the well-being of one of the most important parts of the body to me. Never let distractions get in the way of care of that single patient.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “If I were trapped on a deserted dental island, I’d want to take Super Snaps, an inverted-cone handpiece bur and a Hu-Friedy tungsten-tipped crown remover.”
Exciting New Trend: “My research and clinical interest lies in color science. I look forward to seeing how intraoral digital scanners and acquisition devices will be modulated and designed to assist clinicians in providing standardized, reliable shade matching.”
Something People Don’t Know: As an undergraduate at Boston College, Dr. Grieco served as the school’s mascot, Baldwin, a bald eagle, for three years.
In addition to your long- term goals, set small goals. A goal for each patient. A goal for each visit. Make them reasonable and achievable. That’ll drive you to be the best with every patient you see.”
—Dr. Peter Grieco
City: Beverly Hills, California
Specialty: Dental surgery
Names of Practices: Yes Dental Centers; Dash Dental Spa; VIP Dental Spa
Education: DDS, University of Southern California School of Dentistry; BS, University of California, Los Angeles
Why He Was Nominated: One of the industry’s youngest experienced entrepreneurs regarding dental-practice mergers and sales, Dr. Hakhamian is a sought-after lecturer on office management, marketing, purchases, acquisitions and product development for manufacturing companies. In addition to leading multiple volunteer missions in Guatemala, too, he is also authoring a book series for both patients and the general public about emerging dental technologies.
Why He Became a Dentist: Dr. Hakhamian was practically raised in his father’s dental office. He now works to introduce new technologies and travels the world seeking advanced treatments to bring back to the U.S. “I’ve been enamored witnessing the evolution of dentistry and patient care from my grandfather’s era to today, and I focus on promoting this positive trend by performing and teaching surgeries as well as full-mouth reconstruction,” he says. “I’m optimistic that the next era of dentistry will only continue to improve benefits for patients worldwide.”
Inspiration: “I’m proud to have maintained an active role in international volunteer groups. Not only have I become fluent in Spanish, but I’ve been given the opportunity to perform life-changing procedures in remote areas of the world where access to medicine is scarce. I come back humbled and emboldened by a sense of communal responsibility.”
Specialty: General and cosmetic dentistry
Name of Practice: Harris Dental Education: DDS, University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Harris Dental offers a highly modern twist: All new patients come via social media, and Dr. Harris does most consultations virtually through his Smile Virtual Consult platform. Prospective patients can upload two pictures of their smile and describe what they want changed; the practice will respond with options and estimated costs. His platform is now used by 50 dentists as far afield as Canada, the U.K. and Australia.
Why He Became a Dentist: “It was in my blood. My father, two of my brothers and my father-in-law are dentists. It just made sense.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: Herculite Flowable Composite shade kit XL1. “I use it every day for my Smile Test Drive procedure, which is the best way to diagnose and treat more cosmetic cases. Letting your patients see what their new smile could look like is powerful.”
Exciting New Trend: “How social media is opening up the market and enabling us to treat patients all over the world.”
Philosophy: “Stop telling patients what they need and start asking them what they want—and then find a way to make it happen. It’s that simple.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Harris has owned two pet monkeys. The most recent was a pigtailed macaque named Sunny.
EMILY F. HOWELL
City: Jefferson, Georgia
Name of Practice: Howell Orthodontics
Education: DMD and certificate in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, Medical College of Georgia
Why She Was Nominated: After being named Miss Georgia 2001 and competing in Miss America in 2002, Dr. Howell used the $25,000 in scholarship money to pursue her childhood goal of beautifying smiles.
Why She Became a Dentist: Having had braces as a child, Dr. Howell was fascinated by how her teeth straightened and her confidence increased. She realized that being an orthodontist was exactly what she wanted to do with her life. “I worked for my orthodontist for several summers,” she says, “which further convinced me that this was the field in which I wanted to work and help others.”
Inspiration: “My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Dr. Howell says. “He gave me life and a reason to live, and He has opened my eyes to what I can do for Him and for others through orthodontics.”
Biggest Challenge: “Staying on the cutting edge and deciding what to purchase [given all] the ever-changing technology.”
Tool She Can’t Live Without: Nickel-titanium wires. “It’s amazing to see the results from the memory in these wires and the increase in patient confidence—even by their first visit back after braces go on.”
Sage Advice: “The world tells you to try to earn more, be more and spend more to be happy,” Dr. Howell says. “Don’t serve money or let money rule you. Find your passion and give to others, and you’ll be much happier.”
Cities: Concord, Lincoln and New London, New Hampshire
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Names of Practices: Concord Pediatric Dentistry; Concord Orthodontics; New London Pediatric Dentistry; Lincoln Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Hinton holds a number of distinctive pediatric-dentistry honors: She’s a diplomate with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and a fellow with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry; she also received the New Hampshire Dental Society’s 2018 President’s Award. In her practice, she uses laser technology to treat newborns and babies who have oral restrictions such as tongue and lip ties, which can cause breastfeeding difficulties.
Sage Advice: “Get involved in organized dentistry. Also, humor, kindness and good people skills will get you further in your career than a perfectly polished filling or having just the right treatment plan will.”
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “My CO2 light-scalpel soft- tissue laser for frenectomies on babies. It’s amazing technology—and it’s so rewarding to see these babies improve and thrive.”
Something People Don’t Know: “My first love—besides my family—is Broadway. I’m known to sing through my workdays and to help ease kids’ fear by making our time together in the office familiar and fun with songs they know. Music is so powerful—for both my patients and me.”
City: Poway, California
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry and orthodontics
Name of Practice: Dr. Ellen Im Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
Education: DDS, the University of Maryland School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: A skilled pediatric dentist who puts her community first, Dr. Im helps ensure the well-being of even her smallest patients by offering a “comfort menu” with such options as watching a movie, putting on a superhero cape or being handed a stuffed animal, blanket or squishy stress ball to hold. Even in a fast-paced environment, Dr. Im and her team keep things light by singing and dancing all day. She also prioritizes giving back by working with organizations including Hope for San Diego and Ronald McDonald House Charities, as well as pro bono services and programs that benefit troops overseas (her husband, Jim, is an Air Force veteran).
Exciting New Trend: “Increased engagement between patients and the practice via social media,” Dr. Im says. “It’s a great way to connect with our patients to inform, educate or just have fun.”
Biggest Challenge: “The business aspects of running a practice. Dental school does not prepare you for the business of dentistry. Hiring the right consultants and finding the right mentors have helped tremendously
Cities: Apple Valley and Rosemount, Minnesota
Specialties: General dentistry and implantology
Names of Practices: Dakota Dental Clinic; Minnesota Dental Surgery
Education: DDS, Marquette University School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: A small-town dentist, Dr. Isabella started his career at the same practice he went to as a child. Small-time, though, he is not: Dr. Isabella is a graduate of the Dawson curriculum as well as IV-sedation training, to which he attributes his ability to solve a range of complex problems. “I’ve been able to see patients who have been to other offices without getting work done due to fear or complexity, and special-needs patients who aren’t able to be treated in other settings without IV sedation.” For a few months leading up to Veterans’ Day, his offices provide free treatment for U.S. veterans through a program he calls Smiles for Freedom. Last year, Dr. Isabella gave away $40,000 in dental work to needy military vets.
Exciting New Trend: “We’re really getting into airway dentistry. It’s amazing how many patients have airway issues without realizing it. This is going to be one of the most rewarding things: to allow both children and adults the ability to correctly breathe.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’m a weekend warrior.” Most Saturdays and Sundays, he can be found running a 100-mile trail race or attacking an obstacle course. “In 2015, I did 15 triathlons and a bunch of running races.”
City: San Diego
Specialty: General and adult-special-needs dentistry
Names of Practices: The Boss with the Floss, Holistic Dental Health Concierge and San Ysidro Health
Education: DDS, University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: In 2013, Dr. Johnson helped pioneer a community-health-center dental program for adults with special needs and has been serving those patients at San Ysidro Health ever since. Born to a single teenage mother, she’s a first-generation high school, college and graduate student who became a Pierre Fauchard Academy Fellow this May. In 2016, she founded the Humanitarian & Educational Relief Operation Project (H.E.R.O.) to help professional grads from underserved backgrounds pay off student-loan debt.
Inspiration: “My ultimate source of inspiration is God and being of service to others. Much of what I do is motivated by my observation of social and spiritual injustice. It’s way beyond the teeth for me.”
Biggest Challenge: “By far, my student-loan debt and failed promises to receive debt forgiveness. Debt is a bigger burden than I—and many colleagues—expected.”
Tools She Can’t Live Without: “Stabilization board and mouth prop. These two wonder tools have allowed me to perform dentistry on the most uncooperative and anxious patients.”
Most Memorable Patient: “Whether it’s patients who cry throughout the procedure and leave laughing or the ones who yell and scream but then give me a big hug, I’ve learned to ride the highs and lows with them.”
Something People Don’t Know: “Even friends don’t know that I’m a closet artist and writer. I’m a little shy but want to come out. I sing and write songs, play the keyboard, guitar, percussions and a little flute. I also create socially and spiritually conscious art.”
I’d advise any aspiring dentist to go for it. The depth of dentistry is more than I could have imagined. It’s more than a cool job—it’s a humanistic, artistic and scientific profession.”
—Dr. Malieka Johnson
City: Laguna Beach, California
Specialty: General dentistry
Name of Practice: Laguna Family Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Kalmanovich opened his own practice when he was just 29. His achievements include the Grosso Endowment Award for Promise as a Dental Educator, which he received upon graduating from the Dugoni School. He’s also a diplomate of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy and a board member at the Orange County Dental Association.
Biggest Challenge: “Dentistry is very challenging physically and mentally, but opening and owning your practice is particularly challenging, because they don’t really teach you how to run a business in dental school.”
Sage Advice: Dr. Kalmanovich believes that the key to success is having good mentors: They’re there to guide you, impart to you lessons they’ve learned from their own mistakes and support you along the way.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: The dry shield, because it enables him to focus on doing good dentistry without anything—saliva or the tongue in particular—getting in the way.
BRANDON KELLY + EMILY K. SCHMALZ
Ages: Kelly, 35; Schmalz, 35
City: Rochester, Minnesota
Specialties: Dr. Kelly, general dentistry; Dr. Schmalz, periodontics
Names of Practices: Dr. Kelly, The Dental Doctors and Madison Lake Family Dental Care; Dr. Schmalz, Implant & Periodontal Professionals
Education: DDS, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry (both); MS in advanced periodontics, University of Minnesota (Dr. Schmalz)
Why They Were Nominated: This dental supercouple, married five years, cover all the dental bases across the three practices they run in and around Rochester, a city just south of Minneapolis.
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: For Dr. Schmalz, it’s the way the profession blends science and art. “I’m a fairly creative person, so [dentistry] was a way I could incorporate an aesthetic aspect with helping people in health care.” Her husband loves working with his hands, developing trust with patients and realizing how much more he has to learn. “It keeps me curious and motivated to become a better dentist,” Dr. Kelly says.
Inspiration: Dr. Schmalz had an “amazing orthodontist growing up” who inspired her, while Dr. Kelly came from a family of dentists. “I always thought I’d continue my grandfather’s and uncle’s practice,” he says. Instead, he struck out on his own and purchased one practice “in a wonderful lake community” and opened another a few blocks from the Mayo Clinic.
GURPREET S. KHURANA
City: Bellevue, Washington
Specialty: General dentistry
Names of Practices: Dentistry of Bellevue; Dentistry of North Bend; Pure Braces; Alpine Dental and Wellness
Education: DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine; MBA, Johns Hopkins University
Why He Was Nominated: Running multiple businesses isn’t easy, but Dr. Khurana has managed to juggle care for his patients, business management, creating supplements to help his patients with bleeding gums and aphthous ulcers, and publishing a book for aspiring dentists.
Biggest Challenge: Managing emotions. “By emotions, I don’t just mean mine, but my patients’ and staff’s emotions,” Dr. Khurana says. “It takes effort and leadership to exude proper emotions to staff and patients, and it makes or breaks the day.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: His Surgically Clean Air purification system. “Dentists work in a hazardous environment. We breathe in toxins. Luckily, I’ve invested in this system, which has revolutionized the way I work and keeps my staff and me healthy.”
Philosophy: “Every problem brings an equal or better opportunity. Don’t focus on the problem; focus on the opportunity within.”
Most Memorable Patient: “A recent patient had just turned 100, so I asked him what his secret was. He pulled me closer and whispered in my ear, ‘Just keep breathing.’ ”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Khurana speaks five languages—Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Spanish and English—and collects classic cars.
RICHARD JAY KIM
Cities: Fairfax and Fort Lee, Virginia
Specialty: Comprehensive dentistry
Name of Practice: Mosier Troop Medical and Dental Clinic
Education: DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine; master’s in health care management/ public health, Harvard University
Why He Was Nominated: An employee of the U.S. Government Dental Health Services and medical servant to some 25,000 active-duty military personnel, Dr. Kim is a champion of whole-body and accessible health care that starts with the mouth. His numerous accolades include having completed a Dental Care for the Developmentally Disabled program from the Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine in 2007, and being named a Fellow with the International College of Dentists.
Philosophy: “My mission in life and in dentistry is to make sure health care is recognized not only as a commodity or a privilege, but a human right. Not only as a professional but as a human being, I want to make sure to take the time and effort to educate and provide health care to anyone interested in obtaining it.”
Biggest Challenge: Coordinating the best treatment plan within the patient’s budget.
Tools He Can’t Live Without: “My loupes and Isolite system. They have become my second skin and are a staple of high-quality dental care.”
KENT McBRIDE + SPENCER STILES
Ages: McBride, 38; Spencer, 36
City: Morgantown, West Virginia
Names of Practices: MMS Endodontic Specialists; MMS Perio
Education: DDS and MS, West Virginia University School of Dentistry (both)
Why They Were Nominated: The two endodontists met in dental school. Now operating seven of- fices across three states with their partner, Dr. Jeffrey Minchau—with at least two more opening soon— their dental group, Meridian Dental Solutions, recently hired a CEO, parttime CFO, marketing coordinator and (soon) an insurance specialist.
Biggest Challenge: “Juggling the demands of a growing business while attempting to be physically and mentally present for my family,” says Dr. McBride (left in photo). Dr. Stiles: “Finding time to work on the business as well as in the business.”
Tools They Can’t Live Without: Dr. Stiles says it’s their office teams. “While not exactly ‘tools,’ our people have the best work ethics, senses of humor and attitudes. I couldn’t— and would never want to—work without them. They drastically increase the level of excellence and personalized care we provide.”
Most Memorable Patient: A 16-year-old girl Dr. McBride treated during dental school. “She came in because her ‘sweet 16’ present from her parents was supposed to be full-mouth extractions and dentures. She had rampant caries, but most of the teeth were salvageable. It was exciting to find a better solution for her and enable her to keep her natural dentition.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. McBride grew up on a farm and helped care for some 16,000 chickens, as well as cattle, sheep and goats. “The chicken business is incredibly humbling. However, growing up on a farm made me appreciate the importance of working hard,” he says. Dr. Stiles’s new passion is aviation; he and Dr. McBride recently earned their instrument ratings. Says Dr. Stiles: “There’s nothing that compares to the peace and freedom found in the sky.”
Specialties: Cosmetic dentistry; oral and maxillofacial radiology
Name of Practice: Lincoln Shine Dental Education: DDS, Shahid Beheshti Dental School (Tehran, Iran); master’s of oral science and certificate of oral and maxillofacial radiology, the University of Iowa
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Mehr was an accomplished dentist for nearly a decade in Iran and the broader Middle East before she moved to the U.S. in 2010. After she completed her certificate and residency at the University of Iowa, she spent two years practicing in rural Illinois, treating an underserved population. She’s also a faculty member at Advocate Illinois Masonic’s dental-residency program.
Inspiration: Dr. Mehr is an accomplished amateur painter. Her practice’s website notes that she would like “patients to know that her passion is expressed in her profession, just like in her artwork. Perfection, excellence and beauty is her personal signature on every work she does.”
Philosophy: To treat “patients like family, with empathy and honesty, while always focusing on maintaining excellent relationships with them.”
LYNNE A. MERIWETHER
City: Corning, New York
Specialty: General dentistry
Name of Practice: Corning Dental Associates
Education: DDS, the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Meriwether values giving back to the community in which she grew up and now practices; she and her staff participate in events that help spread dental-health awareness in a fun way. Dr. Meriwether won the Frederick J. Halik Award in 2011, an accolade for new dentists named after an esteemed Rochester practitioner who died in 2016. It was a special honor for Dr. Meriwether, who knew Halik personally, to be recognized by her peers so early in her career. She has been a county representative to New York’s Seventh District Dental Society and president of the Steuben County Dental Society, and has volunteered with Mission of Mercy and other faith-based health organizations.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “My amazing staff, including my dental assistant of 11 years. I could not provide the type of dental care I strive for daily without their hard work and friendship.”
Exciting New Trend: “Digital imaging, CAD/CAM and 3D printing. They will allow excellent treatment options in a comfortable way for patients.”
Most Memorable Patient: “An elderly patient who passed away a few years ago. Every time he came in for an appointment, he would grab my arm and pull me in close and give me a kiss.”
Biggest Challenge: “From managing day-to-day business tasks to managing our 30-plus staff, I feel that I have two full-time jobs: dentist and CEO.”
Cities: Chicago and Riverwoods, Illinois
Specialty: General dentistry
Name of Practice: Cusp Dental
Education: Certificate in public health with an emphasis on dental health, A.T. Still University; DMD, the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health
Why She Was Nominated: In addition to working at two Chicago-area practices, Dr. Mullarkey is also an adjunct professor at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois, and continues to prioritize international pro bono work through Access Health Africa’s dental volunteer program. She took her annual trip to Malawi this August; last year, her group treated about 150 dental patients and provided more than 300 children there with fluoride treatment.
Exciting New Trend: “Cone Beam technology is changing the way we diagnose and treat our patients. Dentists are able to see things we can’t typically see on traditional X-rays, which allows us to provide more comprehensive care and offer a wider range of services.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Mullarkey began her college career as a dance major and professionally trained as a ballerina at the Boston Ballet. She remains a passionate fan of ballet, and takes classes in Chicago on occasion. She’s also a triathlete who completed her first such race earlier this summer and is training for another.
Name of Practice: Premier Periodontics
Education: DDS, Marquette University School of Dentistry; certificate in periodontics, the Mayo Clinic
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Morales’s dental career is the pinnacle of many firsts in his family’s pursuit of the American Dream. The first-generation-American sons of Mexican immigrants, he and his brother became the first in the family to go to college.
Why He Became a Dentist: Good work-life balance and interaction with patients. “After [undergraduate studies at] Notre Dame, I took a gap year and shadowed a dentist in Knoxville, Tennessee,” Dr. Morales says. “His demeanor and relationships with patients solidified my decision to apply to dental school.”
Inspiration: His parents. “They did so much for us. I admire their drive to provide for us a better life with fulfilling careers. They are the American dream if there ever was one.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “I have a soft-tissue grafting kit from Brasseler that has some instruments that are no longer made. I have to find a way to replicate some of these before they’re gone for good.”
Exciting New Trend: Digital dentistry. “Treatment planning is so critical to successful outcomes. I find it fascinating how you’re able to create a treatment plan virtually with software.”
Something People Don’t Know: Growing up, Dr. Morales had so much decay on his four front teeth that he had stainless-steel crowns on his maxillary anterior centrals and laterals. It didn’t help that his grandfather had sugar cane in his backyard, he says, and would give him cane to chew. “It was delicious but really did a number on my teeth,” he recalls. “Thank goodness this didn’t affect my permanent teeth.”
UPEN J. PATEL
City: Sacramento, California
Specialty: Restorative dentistry
Name of Practice: Upen J. Patel, DDS, MAGD
Education: DDS, University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Born and raised in London and Wimbledon, England, Dr. Patel moved to the United States after high school and was the first person in his family to attend college. “My parents worked 24/7, 365 days of the year, to send me to the best schools in the world while taking full student loans so that I could have the opportunity to become a health-care provider.”
Philosophy: “I like to think of dentistry the way a professional athlete treats the Olympic Games: I’m always training, learning and improving my clinical and communication skills, so when it’s time for treatment, I’m ready for showtime. I always want to achieve the highest clinical excellence, or ‘gold-medal’ care for my patients.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: 4.5-magnification dental loupes and headlight.
Something People Don’t Know: “Had I not become a dentist, I would’ve pursued my dream of becoming a professional athlete and world champion in the indoor racket sport of squash.”
City: San Diego
Name of Practice: I-Orthodontics San Diego
Education: Master’s in biomedical ethics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; doctorate and dual-degree candidate, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine; hospital and general practice residency, the University of Southern California; orthodontics and master’s in oral biology, the University of Nevada–Las Vegas
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Pfeffer gives back to more than 150 organizations, many of which are unrelated to oral health. She focuses on foster children, human trafficking and the less fortunate. She has also helped pioneer Targeted Skin DNA, a genetic skin test tailored specifically for an individual’s genome.
Why She Became a Dentist: Growing up in a family of dentists, Dr. Pfeffer knew she wanted a career that blended science and humanity. She helped run her father’s practice after his passing. “I would see patients coming in crying, and I thought, ‘He’s just your dentist,’ ” she recalls. “But I quickly realized what a difference he was making in their hearts and lives.”
Biggest Challenge: Saying no. “Losing family members and being surrounded by people who have nothing yet still push through to give more makes me not want to stop.”
Exciting New Trend: Oral DNA and tele-medicine. “Oral DNA is the future of medicine: to have something tailored to your specific DNA rather than guessing based on what others think.”
Something People Don’t Know: Before becoming an orthodontist, Dr. Pfeffer worked in oncology. “I miss the research and science side of things,” she says—though both now feed her work with Targeted Skin DNA.
City: Austin, Texas
Specialty: General dentistry
Name of Practice: Circle C Dental Education: DDS, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Why He Was Nominated: The author of three professional-improvement books, this self-styled “dental maverick” runs an online communication, leadership and management training program of the same name (DentalMaverick.com). He also hosts an annual continuing-education conference, the Dental Maverick Summit.
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “The psychology. I enjoy learning about patients so I understand their values and can present treatment in a manner that addresses their concerns. Outside of clinical dentistry, my favorite part is teaching other dentists to be successful in their practice.”
Philosophy: “Everyone has a style that best suits who they are. For me, it’s a slower-paced practice. With plenty of time for patients, I never have to rush my work and can spend time conversing with patients and still have plenty of time to appease the obsessive-compulsive nature of practicing dentistry.”
Sage Advice: There’s a way out of every single difficulty, Dr. Pham says. “Solve every little problem, and over time, very few problems will persist in daily practice. I wish I had recognized that when I was a dental student.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’m an awesome fly-fisherman.”
City: Charlotte, North Carolina
Specialty: General and cosmetic dentistry
Name of Practice: SouthEnd Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: A native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, Dr. Picot got interested in dentistry when he shadowed an endodontist and general dentist in sixth grade. In 2004, while in dental school, he founded the UNC Malawi Dental Project, which sends students annually to that southern African country to provide free dental services and education about HIV and AIDS. He founded SouthEnd Dentistry in 2009 and has donated a student locker room, which bears his name, at the UNC School of Dentistry. He received the 2016 Charlotte Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional of the Year award and for eight years running has been named a Top Dentist by Charlotte magazine.
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Picot is a former competitive springboard diver who still cliff-dives when traveling abroad. He has also played the saxophone since he was in sixth grade.
City: Schwenksville, Pennsylvania
Specialty: General dentistry
Name of Practice: Schwenksville Dental Care
Education: DDS, New York University College of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Born in Kenya, Dr. Saini came to the U.S. in 1998 to pursue his dental dreams. He started his career in corporate dentistry but left after two years to work in private practice, where he felt the patient-centered model enabled him to spend more time to develop relationships and a trustworthy reputation. For nine years, he contributed expertise as a clinical instructor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, where he supervised patient treatment of third and fourth year students.
Inspiration: “I get so much job satisfaction out of helping people regain their oral health. I want to devote my career to caring for, educating and serving the entire family unit.”
Exciting New Trend: “The use of operating microscopes in restorative dentistry,” says Dr. Saini. “This allows the dentist to identify, classify and successfully handle any cracks in dentin and enamel, as well as complete caries removal. This has tremendous bearing on the diagnosis, selection of the restoration to be used and the outcome of the treatment.”
Something People Don’t Know: “Having grown up in Kenya and enjoyed countless safari game drives, I have a passion for wildlife conservation and safari photography.” Dr. Saini is a supporter of the Orphan’s Project, which rescues and rehabilitates elephants and rhinoceroses who are under threat from poachers.
I love making patients feel welcomed and at ease, and I want them to know that I encourage second opinions. I want my patient relationships to be grounded in trust.”
—Dr. Eddie Morales
MARQ J. SAMS
City: Wichita, Kansas
Name of Practice: Implant and Perio Specialists of Kansas
Education: DMD and MSD, University of Louisville School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Having had a serious accident during his periodontal residency, Dr. Sams doesn’t take his success for granted. He took over a well-established and respected periodontal practice in Wichita. With a focus on teamwork, customer service and technology, he continues to enjoy significant business growth, especially in advanced implant therapy and reconstruction. He invests himself heavily in his community, volunteering for a number of charities including Donated Dental Services. Last year, he was past-president of the Wichita District Dental Society.
Why He Became a Dentist: “Dentistry fulfilled almost everything I could want in a career: to affect lives, to work with my hands and to be in constant motion—not just physically but mentally.”
Inspiration: “God first, my family, my team members and the people who believed in me when there was nothing to believe in. You don’t start where I started and get where I’ve gotten without people and the favor of God.”
Biggest Challenge: That accident. A driver’s-side collision with a drunk driver left him in a coma for two weeks, and his doctors told him his head-injury symptoms wouldn’t go away for nine months, if ever. Yet he was able to return to his residency within four months and graduated with his master’s in oral biology on time. “After overcoming that challenge, the biggest challenge is myself,” he says.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “My team. I couldn’t live without them, and they couldn’t be replaced with something else. Team is the ultimate advantage.”
Exciting New Trend: Using digital workflow for full arch rehabilitation. “We’ve been doing guided full arch rehabilitation and digital scanners for the past several years.”
Something People Don’t Know: When he was a kindergartner in Georgia, Dr. Sams dreamed of becoming a lobsterman in Maine.
City: Dublin, Ohio
Specialty: General dentistry and all specialty services
Name of Practice: River Park Dental Education: DDS and Ph.D., The Ohio State University College of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: In a saturated field, Dr. Saurer created a practice that encompasses modern ways to drive dentistry forward while maintaining strong focus on patients’ comfort and convenience. The compassion she and her team of professionals provide has been noticed by local and national organizations.
Sage Advice: “Before committing to buying or starting your own practice, I would focus on mastering your technique and increasing your speed. Push yourself out of your comfort zone every once in a while and try to learn something new.
Philosophy: “Treat others as you want to be treated. Always err on the side of being compassionate, honest, generous and empathetic. You never know what kind of day someone is having, so always be kind even if they might not be so kind to you.”
Exciting New Trend: All the latest technology. “Patients love having fillings done with no anesthesia using the SOLEA laser. They also love that we can digitally scan their mouth instead of using traditional impression material.”
Biggest Challenge: “Gaining the trust of those with a healthy fear or mistrust of dentists, especially if they’ve had bad experiences.”
City: Verona, Wisconsin
Specialty: General dentistry
Name of Practice: Main Street Dentists
Education: DDS, Marquette University School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Having begun dental school at age 19, Dr. Schacherl is now a partner in her father’s practice. She has also followed in her philanthropic dad’s footsteps, having treated patients at his clinic in Siguatepeque, Honduras. She is currently one of four faculty members at the Pinhole Academy in Pasadena, California, and has trained dentists from all over the world in that minimally invasive gum surgery.
Biggest Challenge: “I entered college when I was 16 and dental school when I was 19, and have always looked young for my age. I’ve always had to go the extra mile to prove myself.”
Most Memorable Patients: Those she treated at an off-site HIV/AIDS clinic during her first year of dental school. She recalls talking about restaurants and great things to do in the Milwaukee area with her first patient. “I heard him tell the front desk that this was his best medical appointment since his diagnosis,” she remembers. “He confided that I was the first health provider who treated him ‘like a person’ since he had been diagnosed.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I love music festivals. I’m going to Austin City Limits for the fourth year in a row.”
City: Wilton, Connecticut
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Wilton Pediatric Dentistry Education: DDS, the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine; advanced education in pediatric dentistry, Temple University Hospital
Why She Was Nominated: The fact that this Torontonian started dreaming about becoming a dentist at just 5 years old is apparent in her fierce commitment to the industry and her countless hours of volunteer and pro bono work. In dental school, Dr. Sebro founded the Pediatric Education and Dental Outreach club, an organization that helps pay for dental services for underserved children. She has completed several domestic and international mission trips, and—a notable accomplishment in its own right—she opened her own pediatric practice this year at just 30 years old.
Philosophy: “Treat the whole child. I try to look past just the dental issues and evaluate my patient as a person to see where treatment fits in.”
Tools She Can’t Live Without: “Stickers and prizes. Being able to reward good cooperation is key in pediatric dentistry.”
Exciting New Trend: “Medical management of caries that allows us to delay treatment a little until a child is better able to tolerate restorative work in the chair.”
CAREY TRI + JESSICA TRI
Ages: Carey, 37; Jessica, 35
Cities: Farmington and Lakeville, Minnesota
Specialty: General dentistry
Name of Practice: River’s Edge Dental Clinic
Education: DDS and postgraduate program in advanced esthetic dentistry, the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry (both)
Why They Were Nominated: This husband-and-wife team met in dental school a decade ago and now spend their days complementing each other’s work at the practice they own, providing five-star family, cosmetic and implant dentistry, and Botox Cosmetics as well. The Tris’ space itself is impressive, too: Their new 11,000-squarefoot facility also has an orthodontist, chiropractor, hair salon and (perhaps best of all) a Serenity Lounge—a soundproof, spa-like space with Himalayan salt lamps, meditative music and zero-gravity massage chairs.
Exciting New Trend: The Tris use NuCalm, a multifaceted neuro-scientific approach that employs headphones, eye shades and electrodes to promote relaxation and stress relief. It’s also used by a variety of professional athletes and cancer patients.
Tool They Can’t Live Without: “Our team is the best in dentistry. We work well together; we pick each other up if someone is down. Everybody is committed to providing a truly five-star experience for the patient, and our entire team looks out not only for themselves but for their team members as well. We’re like a family, and we work together to ensure that each day is better than the previous.”
City: Sandusky, Ohio
Specialty: General dentistry
Name of Practice: Sandusky Dental Partners
Education: DDS, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: With the Free to Smile Foundation, a nonprofit that provides medical assistance to children with cleft lips and palates in developing countries, Dr. Zucker has helped young patients in Guatemala and Cambodia. (He himself was born with a cleft lip.) “There is no greater feeling on earth than knowing you were able to positively affect someone’s life,” he says.
Inspiration: His parents. “They were able to move to a small town where they didn’t know anyone and build a wonderful dental practice with a phenomenal patient base,” says Dr. Zucker, who took over its operations in 2012. “They’ve dedicated their entire life to public service both inside and outside of dentistry. I certainly have big shoes to fill.”
Biggest Challenge: Transitioning from being “little Andy” in his parents’ practice, which to this day is full of patients and staff members who watched him grow up. “Luckily, my staff has been absolutely phenomenal helping me.”
Sage Advice: Seek out mentoring from veteran private-practice dentists and hygienists. Dr. Zucker is concerned by the trend of younger dentists going into corporate practices, which he maintains often denies them a variety of wonderful learning opportunities. “Retiring dentists and hygienists can teach us more than any book or lecture ever could,” he says. “Allowing those practitioners to retire without passing down their vast experience and knowledge is a disservice not only to dentistry but to our patients as well.”
Something People Don’t Know: A self-proclaimed “over-sharer,” Dr. Zucker contends that there’s practically nothing about him that people don’t know.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Think 40 Under 40 alumni are content to rest on their considerable accomplishments? Not a chance. Here’s what some have been up to.
CLASS OF 2017
Dr. Jeremy Crow
Weirton, West Virginia
“Over the last year we’ve celebrated one year in our new building; reached a production goal of $2 million, double what the practice produced when I bought it 11 years ago; and served as a rural site faculty for West Virginia University’s School of Dentistry, welcoming students to my of-fice for six-week internships.
Dr. Andy Janiga
Fort Eustis, Virginia
“In March I presented at a Navy dental course in Portsmouth, Virginia, on tooth-
implant supported restorations; in April I presented with Dr. William Belknap at Fort Lee, Virginia, on ‘The Management of Complex Teeth.’ ”
Dr. Sarah Khan
Dr. Khan (middle) recently met up in Paris with two other 40 Under 40 standouts: Dr. Hitesh Tolani (left, 2016) and Dr. Gurpreet Khurana (2018; see page 51). Dr. Khan was also recently accepted to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School.
Dr. Kunal Saggar
Jericho, New York
“We’re approaching our two-year anniversary in October. One exciting thing: We’ve created a niche in our community for no-prep veneers where there’s no grinding of teeth. Essentially, we take an intraoral scan to grab an STL file and then digitally design the case. Then we make really thin prototypes from PMMA or composite, and the lab fabricates the finals. We’ve seen good success.”
Dr. Wah-Yung Tsang
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Her devotion to the geriatric population and passion for go-anywhere dentistry led Dr. Tsang (below left) to open Caring Mobile Dental, a mobile branch that provides treatment around Colorado Springs. She and her husband, Dr. Stephen Lambert, welcomed their first child, Bradford Marcus, on April 17.
Dr. Katherine Vo
“I ran the London Marathon on April 22 with the Amnesty International team,” Dr. Vo (below, having crossed the finish line) reports. “This September, I was awarded the Pierre Fauchard Academy Fellowship. The biggest project in the works, though, is motherhood: My husband and I are expecting our first child in January.”
CLASS OF 2016
Dr. Fouy Chau
Huntington Beach, California
“My business partner and I just purchased a general dentist office next door to our pediatric/orthodontic office. We’ll be upgrading the office to give it a makeover.”
Dr. Jeff Shao
The Woodlands, Texas
“My clinic received Best Orthodontist of the Woodlands, Texas, award for the third time in a row—and a spot on the front cover of Living magazine.”
Dr. Hitesh Tolani
“Virtudent is America’s first commercial tele-dentistry practice, and we’ve entered into multiple states. We also now cover 4,200 pediatric lives in New Hampshire, for whom we offer free preventive dental care. The key to our practice’s success is our team, and we recently had a private team-appreciation event with the Boston Red Sox. Here we are on the Green Monster.”
CLASS OF 2015
Drs. Janice + Justene Doan
The Southern California–based sisters recently published their first book, Keys to a Healthy Smile After 40: 7 Secrets to Feeling 7 Years Younger. The work also tells the gripping story of their years-ago escape from abject poverty in Vietnam to extraordinary dental success in the United States.
Dr. Jesse Harris
Dr. Harris is the first dentist in the Old Dominion to use the Gentlewave System for endodontics. “We’re in the process of opening a second location,” he says, “and I’ve hired an associate who started in July.”
Dr. Stephanie Swords
“In September and October 2017, my staff and I organized and hosted ‘Mouthguard Day’ for the University of Texas at Dallas men’s and women’s basketball and soccer teams. As a part-time adjunct faculty member at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Dentistry, I had several junior and senior dental students help make impressions and fabricate custom athletic mouthguards. I’m a former college basketball player, and it was a great way to give back to the community and to college athletics.”