BY: ELIZABETH DILTS, JOSHUA COE AND JERILYN FORSYTHE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Matt Furman and Macrae Marran
FASHION DIRECTOR: Joseph DeAcetis
FASHION STYLIST: Jeffrey Che Ampratwum
STYLIST: Greta Oriti
ASSISTANT STYLIST: Alan Fernandez
TAILOR: Patty Barbosa
HAIRSTYLISTS: Yukie Nammori, Daniela Basdogan
MAKEUP ARTISTS: Katia Gromova, Ayana Awaya
FASHION PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS: Karolina Ruffo, Den’eja Roubin, Augustus DiLorenzo
Shot on Location at the JAMES NEW YORK NOMAD 22 East 29th Street, New York, NY 10016


THE MEDICAL PROFESSIONS—dentistry perhaps chief among them—are in a constant state of flux these days, and for the most part that’s a good thing: Modern dentistry offers a sumptuous combination of better technology, more treatment options, highly informed patients and substantive research-and-development advances. One thing that never seems to change, though, is the remarkable number of young practitioners working hard to help tug our industry ever forward. For nine years now, Incisal Edge has been paying tribute to this passel of youthful talent with our annual 40 Under 40, highlighting some of the finest dental clinicians across the country. This year, though, for the first time, we’ve expanded our horizons a bit and are honoring general dentists and specialists in their own separate categories. This is, in the main, our recognition that both kinds of dentists make unique contributions to the field and deserve individual tribute. We’ve therefore honored them as such. The doctors showcased on the three dozen pages ahead offer a unique blend of professional skill in the office, good works out of the office and—as always with our 40 Under 40—a certain unassailable sartorial style they wear lightly, literally and figuratively, from morning till night. They’re an impressive bunch, this year’s dentists—and you need only turn the page to see why. Congratulations to all.

MEET THE JUDGES

 

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.

HOWARD STRASSLER - Howard Strassler, DMD is a professor and the director of operative dentistry at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry; he also writes the “Cutting Edge” column in each issue of Incisal Edge. He practices in Pikesville, Maryland.

HOWARD STRASSLER – Howard Strassler, DMD is a professor and the director of operative dentistry at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry; he also writes the “Cutting Edge” column in each issue of Incisal Edge. He practices in Pikesville, Maryland.

It’s hard to believE, but next year marks the tenth anniversary of the Incisal Edge 40 Under 40. (What that means, age-wise, for our inaugural group back in 2010 we’re far too polite to mention.) We’re planning a boffo blowout to celebrate in 2020, naturally. So if you know one of the finest dentists in America who will be age 40 or younger as of July 1, 2020—or you are one such dentist—get in touch! To nominate someone, just drop us a line at submit@incisaledgemagazine.com. You’re only young once, but the 40 Under 40 just might live forever. And be sure to check out the new 40 Under 40 website at incisaledge40under40.com!

THE GENERAL DENTISTS

ASK ANY TEN PEOPLE on the street to describe a dentist, and it seems safe to say they’ll paint you an oral picture, as it were, of a general dentist: the neighborhood jack-of-all-trades in a white coat who can treat Junior’s cavities and give Grandma her semiannual checkup all in a day’s work.

The term general dentist, though, hardly does justice to everything these committed practitioners bring to the operatory chair day in and day out. Just take a look at the 40 doctors whose talents are arrayed before you in the pages ahead. For one, they’re a much more diverse lot than the average dental patient might expect; never before has our profession been open to so many from such varied backgrounds. That in turn helps expand access to care for previously underserved communities.

For another, these doctors are busy: running a business, managing a team, volunteering during downtime and every day executing the finest modern dentistry possible. “I love working with people who are expecting the worst and knowing I can make it a pleasant experience,” says Dr. Emily Dodds . That, in the end, is the ethos of the general dentist—and these 40 exemplify it in spades.


@NGDENTALCENTER

HEIDI AARONSON

Age: 37
City: Wellesley, Massachusetts
Name of Practice: New Generation Dental Center
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: A lifelong lover of dentistry, Dr. Aaronson practices alongside her father (a dentist) and mother (the office manager of the family practice). In her free time, she provides free dental care to Holocaust survivors who live below the poverty line.
Why She Became a Dentist: As the daughter of a dentist and the granddaughter of a dental lab technician, Dr. Aaronson grew up so fascinated by dentistry that she never considered another career. “I made a pact with my friend in kindergarten that one day I’d be a dentist and she’d be my first patient. Twenty-one years later, she kept her promise after I graduated from dental school.”
Exciting New Trend: “I’ve fallen in love with treating tongue ties, especially in newborns,” says Dr. Aaronson, who took a course on treating tethered oral tissues in 2016. “During my training, I realized both of my daughters were tongue-tied; nobody diagnosed them properly. I can understand the frustration of nursing a tied baby, so it allows me to connect with moms on a whole new level.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I got to throw out the first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game,” says Dr. Aaronson, who runs a public-health program at Fenway Park that provides free oral-cancer screenings. “I was so nervous, I forgot to wait for the cue to throw the ball, and I threw it way too early—and way too high.”


@NICKELCITYDENTISTRY

MICHELLE AUGELLO

Age: 35
Cities: Buffalo and Amherst, New York
Name of Practice: Nickel City Dentistry
Education: DDS, University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Augello’s initial practice in upstate New York grew by 120 percent over her first five years.
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “Making qualitative changes for people at every appointment. I love that you can come in with a problem, and I can fix it and make it look awesome.”
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “The internet. My office software is cloud-based, and a lot of patient communication is via text or email.”
Sage Advice: “Treat everyone like family—both staff and patients. Under-promise and over-deliver.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’m definitely a morning person and usually get up early enough to get in an hour of hot yoga before the office opens at 7 a.m.”


FENWAYHEALTH.ORG

MEREDITH BAILEY

Age: 39
City: Boston
Name of Practice: Fenway Health
Education: DMD, Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Bailey is the First District representative to the American Dental Association’s Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs. She was a founding member of the Boston District Dental Society and was elected vice president of the Massachusetts Dental Society at the state House of Delegates in June. (In 2021, she will serve as its youngest president.) She’s a Pierre Fauchard Academy fellow and has received (among other laurels) the William McKenna Volunteer Hero award.
Sage Advice: “I encourage younger dentists to actively participate in organized dentistry, because it’s the voice of our profession. Organized dentistry also provides young dentists with opportunities to connect with colleagues to share ideas and experiences, complete continuing-education requirements and volunteer in the community.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Bailey carried the Olympic torch down historic Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia, before the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. “Thankfully, I succeeded in my sole responsibility of keeping the flame burning until I passed it to the next runner. I have the torch that I carried on display in my living room, and there are still Olympic ashes on the top.”


QUEENCITYDDS.COM

ANDREW BARTISH

Age: 35
City: Cincinnati, Ohio
Name of Practice: Velle Dental
Education: DDS, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Bartish is one seriously tech-savvy doc. “Photography is a huge part of my practice,” he says. “We use it to educate, to communicate and to plan treatment.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: His Canon DSLR.
Philosophy: “I believe the patient should be well-educated about the mouth. Don’t tell them what’s going on—use photography and show them.”
Exciting New Trend: “Photography as the standard of care. It’s so powerful, and it’s amazing when patients see what’s going on in their mouth. It helps build trust that what you’re doing is in their best interest.”
Sage Advice: Network with other like-minded dentists, Dr. Bartish advises, and join a study club.


 FACEBOOK.COM/THIRDCOASTFAMILYDENTAL

SARAH BLAIR

Age: 40
City: West Allis, Wisconsin
Name of Practice: Third Coast Family Dental
Education: DDS, Marquette University School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: After graduation, Dr. Blair purchased a practice and within two years tripled its patient base and production. She cofounded Indie Practices, a practice-coaching business focused on leadership devel­opment, and continues to mentor female dental students at her alma mater, Marquette, where she also served as a part-time faculty member.
Inspiration: “Many of the local female dentists I’ve met through my involvement in study clubs and organized dentistry. It’s powerful to know someone in real life who is achieving amazing success while remaining approachable.”
Most Memorable Patient: A middle-aged man who was going to the dentist ahead of his daughter’s wedding for the first time in a while. “He was very self-conscious about his unattractive and unhealthy smile. We were able to transform his appearance and overall oral health in just a few visits.”
Exciting New Trend: The ability to use clear aligners to create beautiful smiles quickly and affordably.


FACEBOOK.COM/WHITEHALLDENTALARTS

JAIME S. BREMNES

Age: 38
City: Garden City, New York
Name of Practice: Whitehall Dental Arts
Education: DMD, the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: At age 15, Dr. Bremnes formed a close bond with her dentist, who made her laugh and feel at home over several visits for restorative work, including multiple root canals. That dentist would later offer her a job as a dental assistant. Because of her firsthand experience, Dr. Bremnes makes sure her patients feel comfortable and safe under her care.
Sage Advice: “Take as much continuing education as you possibly
can. Find which aspects of dentistry you enjoy and fine-tune them. Take time off. And always appreciate your patients.”
Biggest Challenge: “Online reviews. Dentistry can be difficult, and online reviews present an extra little layer of stress.”
Exciting New Trend: Laser dentistry. “I can now treat patients without having to give painful injections. The Solea laser allows us to remove decayed tooth structure without the high-pitched sound of the drill. I’m so excited to see where laser dentistry goes in the future.”


@NYDENTALOFFICE

COREY BRICK

Age: 40
City: New York
Name of Practice: New York Dental Office
Education: DDS, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: After working nearly a decade in New York’s frenetic advertising industry, Dr. Brick found his calling in dentistry, which he loves for its patient relationships and the ability to work with his hands. “I never had doctors or dentists in my family, so I had to blaze the path for myself. Dentistry is my true passion and what I was born to do.”
Philosophy: “I treat every patient like I would treat my mother,” says Dr. Brick, who readily admits he had a good deal of dental work done in his teens and twenties because of a sugary diet. “With that history firmly in mind, I feel it’s my responsibility to always be upfront, to educate patients on their options and then support their decisions.”
Exciting New Trend: The focus on saving and restoring teeth through materials like silver diamine fluoride. “It truly arrests the decay and creates a barrier, so the pulp is protected. In many cases of large decay, these teeth would have assuredly become root canals. We’re now able to prolong the life of the tooth.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I turned vegan two years ago for health reasons. Going plant-based was strange, especially as I was the kind of person who would order an ‘extra non-vegan, non-vegan’ ice cream. Now here I am, the butt of my own joke.”


@BENNINGTONDENTALCENTER
@SHAFTSBURYDENTALCENTER
@TACONICDENTALARTS
@STRATTONROADDENTALARTS

ELIZABETH CARMACK

Age: 38
Cities: Bennington, Rutland and Shaftsbury, Vermont
Names of Practices: Bennington Dental Center, Shaftsbury Dental Center, Taconic Dental Arts, Stratton Road Dental Arts
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: One half of a husband-and-wife dental team (see Dr. Tyler Carmack, page 26), Dr. Carmack brings her experience in surgery, reconstructions, TMJ and facial esthetics to her patients in the Green Mountain State.
Why She Became a Dentist: “The experiences
I had volunteering with Operation Smile during my youth ignited a passion for health care and surgery. Transforming children’s lives through the correction of facial deformities inspired me to create lasting change through a smile.”
Exciting New Trend: “I’m learning the surgical, clinical and prosthetic implications of implant placement. The application of the CBCT, coupled with the use of computer-guided surgery, is enthralling.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I moved to India while working with Operation Smile and was able to meet [then–]Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, trek across the Himalayas—and have a private audience with the Dalai Lama.”


FACEBOOK.COM/BENNINGTONDENTALCENTER
FACEBOOK.COM/SHAFTSBURYDENTALCENTER
FACEBOOK.COM/TACONICDENTALARTS
FACEBOOK.COM/STRATTONROADDENTALARTS

TYLER CARMACK

Age: 38
Cities: Bennington, Rutland and Shaftsbury, Vermont
Names of Practices: Bennington Dental Center, Shaftsbury Dental Center, Taconic Dental Arts, Stratton Road Dental Arts
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Carmack created Helping Veterans Smile, a free dental day for area vets. He also oversees Benning­ton’s Oral Health Coalition dental program at Mount Anthony Union Middle School and runs four Vermont practices with his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Carmack.
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “I love helping patients overcome their dental fears and anxieties. My goal is to redefine their paradigm of what a dental office visit truly is.”
Sage Advice: “See through the lens of your patient’s eyes. Empathy is one of the greatest tools in creating a lasting doctor-patient relationship.”
Biggest Challenge: “My own personal fears. The faster you can forget fear and focus on the path you want to take, the easier the journey will be.”
Philosophy: “The world is round, and we eventually have to go down the road we leave behind. I try to treat others with the golden rule. It creates a much less bumpy ride.”


FACEBOOK.COM/BELLWELLDENTAL

STANFORD CHEN

Age: 38
City: Bellevue, Washington
Name of Practice: Bellevue Wellness Dental
Education: DDS, New York University College of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Chen volunteered and worked in many related settings—ENT training, OB-GYN clinics, the University of Washington Medical Center, U.C. Berkeley’s genetics lab—before discovering his passion while volunteering in a private dental office in Oakland. He’s an International Congress of Oral Implantologists fellow and a Master of the International Academy of Dental Implants, and has been certified by the Academy of Laser Dentistry and the World Clinical Laser Institute.
Philosophy: Always reach. “I have a penchant for learning and a willingness to step out of my comfort zone to provide comprehensive care to patients. This allows multiple treatment modalities to intersect to provide unique individualized care.”
Most Memorable Patient: “One who had a challenging  cosmetic case, with significant relapse and scarring from a previous surgical procedure elsewhere. She lived more than 65 miles from my office. I was able to treat her gingival display issues with minimal surgery and orthodontics, and her case study is being published in an orthodontic journal. It was an emotionally and professionally rewarding case.”


RVIC.COM

RILEY CLARK

Age: 33
City: Medford, Oregon
Name of Practice: Rogue Valley Implant Center
Education: DMD, Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Clark’s father was a dentist; as a teen, Riley was the janitor for his dad’s practice in Portland, Oregon. After receiving a Class III Anesthesia License from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and graduating from dental school, Dr. Clark was an adjunct professor at the University of Utah School of Dentistry, and studied under the prestigious WhiteCap Institute outside of Park City, Utah. He has performed thousands of implant surgeries, and has mentored and trained doctors from across the country in advanced dental implant procedures. He is a board-certified Diplomate for the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.
Inspiration: “My father. Seeing my dad practice dentistry at a young age was the catalyst for my passion for dentistry. He’s a rock star at life and a rock star of a dentist.”
Philosophy: “As an implant-only dentist, my philosophy is centered around patient education and advocacy. I’m passionate that patients understand their options and choose implants only when other restorative options have worn out or are unrealistic. The best tooth is a real tooth.”


@CHRISTEN_DINKHA

CHRISTEN DINKHA

Age: 38
City: Chicago
Name of Practice: Perfect Smile Dental Spa
Education: DDS, University of Illinois at Chicago
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Dinkha wanted to be a dentist ever since she was 5 years old and living in Iraq; at 20, she came to the U.S. as a war refugee, learning English (her third language, after Arabic and Assyrian) and graduating at the top of her dental-school class. She now owns her own practice and has completed mission trips to the Caribbean and Guatemala. She also regularly volunteers at clinics in greater Chicago.
Philosophy: “I convert extreme phobic patients to regular patients who need no sedation. This is life-changing for them and very satisfying for me. My practice has a special emphasis on creating a uniquely comfortable and soothing environment for the patient, approaching that of a spa.”
Tools She Can’t Live Without: “My loupes and my camera. Without my magnification, I cannot see details when fixing teeth to achieve perfect smiles. I also love to use my Canon Camera to capture before-and-after smiles.”
Something People Don’t Know: In her free time, you’ll find Dr. Dinkha cooking, baking or biking with her husband of 15 years and their three children.


Sage Advice:

“Focus on chasing excellence, and success. And see through the lens of your patients’ eyes. it will give you more empathy and courage to help them more meaningfully.”

– Dr. Tyler Carmack


@DODDSDENTAL

DUSTIN DODDS

Age: 35
City: Long Beach, California
Name of Practice: Dodds Dental
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Dodds spent five years on active duty in the U.S. Army providing dental care for soldiers in Texas, Washington state and Kentucky with his wife, Emily. At their Long Beach practice, they now give back to local veterans by volunteering with Donated Dental Services, a group that helps facilitate free treatment for vets at participating clinics one day a year.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: iTero intraoral scanner.
Biggest Challenge: “Growing an aging practice after taking over [from] a retiring dentist while also enhancing the patient experience and keeping an existing team in place.”
Philosophy: Treat every patient with honesty and integrity without becoming a salesman for dental treatment—a philosophy
Dr. Dodds picked up in the military: “We were able to provide patients with needed treatment without the worry of profit or cost.”
Exciting New Trend: The combination of 3D radiography and intraoral scanning/3D printing for streamlining digital workflow.


FACEBOOK.COM/DODDSDENTAL

EMILY DODDS

Age: 34
City: Long Beach, California
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: A former Army dentist like her husband, Dustin, Dr. Dodds says her military background influenced her practice philosophy: Do what is best for the patient no matter what.
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “I love working with people who are expecting the worst and knowing I can make it a pleasant experience. A patient telling me we provided the best dental experience is the greatest compliment.”
Tools She Can’t Live Without: “My loupes, my headlight and my compassion.”
Sage Advice: “Dentistry can be more challenging today with social media. There are so many perfect smiles floating around Instagram, and once you discover the ‘dental influencers’ it’s hard to not compare yourself and your work to them. Just keep working hard to better yourself every day.”


EAGLE.DENTAL

RYAN DULDE

Age: 33
City: Eagle, Wisconsin
Name of Practice: Eagle Dental
Education: DDS, Marquette University School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Five years ago, Dr. Dulde bought a practice in a small community of 2,000 in southern Wisconsin where people were hungry for personable, reliable dental care. He has since become an advocate for rural practices. “I love practicing in a small town,” he says. “Being the hometown dentist is so gratifying.” As editor for the Wisconsin Dental Association, Dr. Dulde oversees publication of the state’s dental journal and serves on the WDA’s board of trustees. He cofounded the American Student Dental Association’s National Leadership Conference; the meeting now attracts more than 800 dental students every year.
Something People Don’t Know: “I’m a big Green Bay Packers fan. I once broke into Lambeau Field on a Tuesday night and ran up and down the field and did a ‘Lambeau leap’ [into the stands from behind the end zone]—and didn’t go to jail.”


@THETOOTHFARREY

KAJUANA FARREY

Age: 36
Cities: Moultrie and Riverdale, Georgia
Names of Practices: Farrey Family Dentistry (two locations); Georgia Dental Education Institute
Education: DMD, Medical College of Georgia
Why She Was Nominated: The first dentist in her family, Dr. Farrey drew inspiration from her father, who wanted her to have the dental care he never did, and dedication from her faith. “Dentistry is a part of my purpose-driven life from God, and it is through the ministry of dentistry that I can touch the lives of so many other individuals forever.”
Tools She Can’t Live Without: “Prayer and an X-ray. Every morning before my first patient, my prayer is that God allows me to help each individual that my hands touch to the most effective treatment. And before any treatment is started, I carefully analyze all X-rays.”
Exciting New Trend: “I’m excited about digital impressions and the accuracy and comfort they add. This is particularly effective with orthodontic patients and when we’re conducting crown and bridge.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Farrey once met her “super ‘she-ro,’ ” Oprah Winfrey, when the mogul paid a visit to Macon, Georgia.


@HAPPYTEETHDENT

BRIANNA GANSON

Age: 39
Cities: Leawood, Overland Park and Salina, Kansas
Names of Practices: Happy Teeth Dentistry; Surgicenter of Johnson County; Salina Family Healthcare Center
Education: DDS, University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Living in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, Dr. Ganson was drawn to dentistry after learning how forensic dentists used teeth to reunite families with their deceased loved ones. She now specializes in working with children, especially those afraid of the dentist.
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “When I get a child out of pain. A child may have been having trouble eating, talking, drinking, smiling, and I get the opportunity to make them happy and healthy again.”
Philosophy: “Treat the patient as you would your own child. Do the right thing. Be kind. Laugh. And work fast.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I’ve been skydiving eight times, one of which established my nickname, ‘Crash.’ I’ve been swimming with sharks and recently went tornado chasing and saw my first tornado.”


@RANDIGREEN_DMD

RANDI GREEN

Age: 35
City: Springfield, Missouri
Name of Practice: Springfield Smile Doctor
Education: DMD, University of Mississippi School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Running her practice with her husband and manager, Daniel, Dr. Green specializes in treating patients with temporomandibular disorders.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “My 3D CBCT machine. In my opinion, 3D CBCTs should be the standard of care in dentistry. There is so much knowledge to be gained about each patient from their temporomandibular joint, airway health, et cetera, that I cannot imagine treating anyone without this tool.”
Exciting New Trend: “My newest educational endeavor is learning about oral myofunctional therapy and functional tongue-tie releases. I’m interested in how posterior tongue ties that limit tongue function can alter the course of a person’s facial development.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I love choir music. I had a choir scholarship in college. I also performed the National Anthem at two Major League Baseball games with my junior-high choir.”


FACEBOOK.COM/DRDANSCV

DAN IANNOTTI

Age: 36
City: Santa Clarita, California
Name of Practice: Daniel J. Iannotti, DDS, Inc.
Education: DDS, Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Iannotti opened a practice in the Santa Clarita Valley outside Los Angeles with his wife, Dr. Alexis K. Moore, after completing two years of advanced training in general dentistry at the Sepulveda Veterans Affairs Hospital, where the pair met. Dr. Iannotti gives back to the community, too, most recently by donating surgical care to patients at the Bridge to Home Santa Clarita homeless shelter.
Most Memorable Patient: “I was scheduled to prep a crown on a lower molar, and the patient’s beard was overgrowing his mouth! I said, ‘Don’t worry, I used to cut hair—let me trim that back, and I can get to the tooth without any problem.’ The assistant suctioned the hair clippings as I trimmed this dude’s mustache in the dental chair.”
Biggest Challenge: “Taking a daily lunch.”


@JOYCETHEDENTIST

JOYCE KAHNG

Age: 32
City: Costa Mesa, California
Name of Practice: Orange + Magnolia Dental Studio
Education: DDS, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry at the University of the Pacific
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Kahng, an assistant clinical professor at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry, is one of USC’s youngest female dental-faculty members. She graduated from dental school at 23 and went into solo practice at 27. She’s the author of Instagram Marketing for the Modern Dentist and believes that social media—including YouTube, on which she’s quite active—will change dentistry for the better.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “I’m obsessed with my computerized anesthetic unit, the STA. My practice has been syringe-less since I took over, and it has been amazing seeing patients who were once afraid of needles realize that the injections can actually be pretty close to, if not completely, painless. The sight
of a traditional syringe can really cause a lot of anxiety for many.”
Philosophy: “I spend a lot of my time educating patients about what is going on in their mouth. Everything in dentistry is patient-specific, and it all comes down to bacteria, habits and genetics. To say it’s as simple as brushing twice a day and flossing is really a disservice. Patients are smart enough to understand more-complex dental concepts. This conversation is what helps patients become their own biggest advocate.”


Biggest Challenge:

“Time! I Wish I could spend hours with new patients and talk to them not only about their teeth, bu about their overall health, sleeping habits, nutrition, exercise. I love the puzzle that is the human body.”

– Dr. Sako Karakozian


@DDSCITY, @SAKOTACO

SAKO KARAKOZIAN

Age: 38
City: Studio City, California
Name of Practice: Dental Design Studio City
Education: DDS, New York University College of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: In addition to having practiced in both California and Nevada—including, in Studio City, with Dr. Taline Kotchounian (see page 32)—the telegenic Dr. Karakozian also regularly appears as an expert on The Doctors, an Emmy-winning health-focused talk show, and has filmed multiple Listerine commercials. He has also been a clinical director for the Special Olympics, Special Smiles Program and a faculty member at the University of Nevada School of Dental Medicine.
Biggest Challenge: “Time! I wish I could spend hours with new patients and talk to them not only about their teeth, but about their overall health, sleeping habits, nutrition, exercise. I love the puzzle that is the human body.”
Philosophy: “I never make decisions for patients; that’s not my job. My job is to provide knowledge and empower the patient. I’m a source of information and can offer my set of skills to patients in order to find out what their expectations are and try to get them as close as possible to achieving them.”
Exciting New Trend: Technology, “because of the gap in dentistry—both how it’s practiced and perceived—among younger and older generations.”


@KEITH_DENTISTRY

BILL KEITH

Age: 32
City: Mission, Kansas
Name of Practice: Keith + Associates Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Keith is a skilled, compassionate clinician who “speaks the language of business,” he says. Before dental school, in fact, he studied business, an education he put
to work flipping houses. Now he makes smiles and uses his financial acumen to make sure his family practice will be around for generations of patients.
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “A smile. It sounds clichéd, but
you can totally change the mood of someone afraid to be in the chair by smiling and making conversation prior to getting into
the nitty-gritty of the appointment.”
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “You get to use social skills, hand skills, mental skills and artistic skills during each visit. The best part is getting to interact with so many people each day.”
Sage Advice: “Take business classes in undergrad. I have accounting and finance degrees, and they’re invaluable. Being a great clinician is important, but if you don’t have the business skills to keep the business afloat, you won’t be able to attract good team members and ultimately won’t be open to provide
that great care for your patients.”


@MIRACLEDENTALASSOCIATES

BRITTANY KINOL

Age: 40
Cities: Wexford and Latrobe, Pennsylvania
Name of Practices: Miracle Dental Associates
Education: DMD, University of Pittsburgh Dental School
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Kinol treats needy children at her two practices, at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital and through her work with Autism Speaks.
Why She Became a Dentist: “I live to serve the children and underserved children of Pittsburgh. Another important aspect is to decrease the anxiety that both parents and children have, and to make it a fun experience.”
Tools She Can’t Live Without: “Our therapy dog and occupational therapist, who help our autistic or fearful patients.”
Exciting New Trend: “I’m really excited about teledentistry and the new possibilities it brings to increase access to care.” Something People Don’t Know: “I used to race cars. I played on a women’s professional football team and also played Division I soccer.”


FACEBOOK.COM/KLOOSTERFAMILYDENTISTRY

AREND KLOOSTER

Age: 34
Cities: Raleigh and Holly Springs, North Carolina
Name of Practices: Klooster Family Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of Detroit Mercy Corktown Campus School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: After graduating from dental school in Michigan, his home state, Dr. Klooster moved south to complete an Advanced Education in General Dentistry at the University of North Carolina, where he served as chief resident. He went on to purchase two practices. Most recently, Dr. Klooster became a Diplomate of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.
Why He Became a Dentist: “I love working with people, whether meeting new ones or getting to know them better. I’ve also always loved working with my hands and building things, and dentistry is a way to engineer something to last longer. It’s important to me to have a positive impact.” Biggest Challenge: Learning how to scale and grow both his practices, one of which he bought only this March.
Exciting New Trend: The wave of sleep apnea treatment as a part of dentistry. “I’m not only assisting someone with their dental care, but potentially expanding their life expectancy by helping them rest better.”


@REBECCA_THE_DENTIST

REBECCA KOENIGSBERG

Age: 34
City: New York
Name of Practice: Gallery 57 Dental
Education: DDS, Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Koenigsberg, who followed in the footsteps of her father, Dr. Andrew Koenigsberg—he graduated from Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery in 1980 and co-founded Gallery 57 Dental in 2006—was one of the first dentists in New York to be certified in the use of Solea laser technology. She’s also Invisalign-certified and a member of the Academy of Laser Dentistry, the New York County Dental Society and the Children’s Dental Health Committee.
Inspiration: “My father. He’s a conservative, innovative dentist who stays on top of the latest research and technology. He takes time to research each product we use. Ours was one of the first offices to have a lab with a full staff that makes same-day crown and veneers while patients wait in the chair.”
Most Memorable Patient: “A man fell outside our building and broke three front teeth. His parents were coming in from Asia that evening, and he didn’t want them to see him this way. I was able to restore his three front teeth in three hours, and in just one visit he looked as good as new. Having the lab in the back of our office is a huge advantage for shade matching and same-day procedures.”


@DRTALINE

TALINE KOTCHOUNIAN

Age: 38
City: Studio City, California
Name of Practice: Dental Design Studio City
Education: DDS, the University of Southern California
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Kotchounian was born in Montreal and grew up in Los Angeles. After dental school, she started her career by completing a general-practice hospital residency in the Bronx, New York. There, she began to understand the crucial connection between oral health and that of the rest of the body. She currently serves as the ethics chair of the San Fernando Valley Dental Society and, as a student, was on the board of the USC School of Dentistry Ethics Committee. She practices in tandem with Dr. Sako Karakozian.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “The iTero 3D intraoral scanner is one of our most valuable tools. It’s pretty awesome to be able to scan patients’ teeth in front of them and allow them to view their teeth on a screen and play around with their 3D renderings.”
Philosophy: “Patience and being a good listener are my greatest assets and truly define how I practice dentistry. We can learn so much from our patients when they can comfortably explain their thoughts, desires, fears and goals.”


FACEBOOK.COM/BEAR.BROOK.5

KIWON LEE

Age: 38
City: Montvale, New Jersey
Name of Practice: Bear Brook Dental Care
Education: DDS, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Lee is a Diplomat of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, a national organization at the forefront of sleep apnea research. He practices alongside his brother, Tommy (see page 44), a pediatric dentist with whom he opened a practice in late 2017. Dr. Lee treats his patients with kindness and a soft hand; he also shares his passion for oral health through mission trips, most recently to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Philosophy: “Not success, but service. When you only chase success, you’re never able to catch it—but when you offer good service, success follows you.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: An intraoral camera for treatment presentation: “Seeing is believing.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’m a huge coffee enthusiast and don’t mind traveling great distances for a good cup. I visited local coffee shops in Guatemala during my medical mission trip.”


@KMCCANN06

KATIE MCCANN LEE

Age: 35
City: Aurora, Colorado
Name of Practice: Aurora Modern Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. McCann Lee is a top-notch dentist who has chosen to spend her career training other dentists. “I was taught by my mentors that to be the most successful, I needed to find a way to touch more people and add value to their lives.” Through mentoring other great doctors, Dr. McCann Lee says she can “help many more patients receive excellent care.”
Why She Became a Dentist: At age 14, Dr. McCann Lee fractured most of her facial bones and lost several teeth in an ATV accident. “It took four years and nine reconstructive surgeries to rehabilitate my face and jaw function,” she says. “Being without teeth as a high schooler was traumatizing. It wasn’t until my dentist restored my smile that I regained my confidence and self-worth. I decided at that point that I wanted to give people the gift of confidence by fixing their teeth.”
Sage Advice: “We’re in the business of serving people, not the other way around. That means you must do whatever it takes to please them, and you must be available for their schedules.”
Something People Don’t Know: “My TMJ has been reconstructed using my rib bone.”


HAYMARKETDENTALCARE.COM

JEFFREY T. MOON

Age: 36
City: Haymarket, Virginia
Name of Practice: Haymarket Dental Complete Care
Education: DDS, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Unlike many on this list, Dr. Moon didn’t always know he wanted to be a dentist—but once he decided, there was no looking back. His father taught dental materials at Virginia Commonwealth University. He later found a crucial mentor (more on her below) and was ultimately able to buy his own practice. “Going into dentistry is the best career decision I could’ve made,” he says.
Inspiration: Dr. Rena Vakay, the first doctor with whom Dr. Moon went into private practice. A highly respected dentist with years of experience, Dr. Vakay took the fresh-out-of-school Dr. Moon under her wing. “I really believe that where you start as a working professional can determine the rest of your career,” he says. “Luckily, I was with Dr. Vakay, and she gifted me with a lot of her hard-earned sage wisdom about dentistry.” Tool He Can’t Live Without: “Electricity.”


@SMILE_DESIGN

BRETT MOORE

Age: 34
City: Plymouth, Minnesota
Name of Practice: Smile Design Dentistry
Education: DDS, the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Moore served as a U.S. Naval Dental Officer both on active duty and in the reserves, achieving the honorary rank of lieutenant commander. He earned his AEGD at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia, and has continued to prioritize advanced learning via the AAID Maxi Course at Rutgers, Cosmetic Dentistry Course at the University of Minnesota and a course in advanced bone grafting at the California Implant Institute.
Exciting New Trend: “Digital dentistry is changing the way we deliver care. Advances in the last five to 10 years have made dentistry more predictable, comfortable, efficient and functional. Digital planning and delivery of treatment is touching every facet of the profession.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Moore loves gardening; in his free time, you’ll find him planting or tending to shrubs, trees and perennials in his yard. It’s his catharsis, he says, and reflects his and his family’s love of the outdoors.


Something People Don’t Know:

I competed with a national jump-rope team in my preteen and teenage years. We had huge competitions at Disney World, and we were featured on ESPN.

– Dr. Nicole Naylor-Wells


@WESTLAKEDENTISTRY

NICOLE NAYLOR-WELLS

Age: 35
City: Denver, North Carolina
Name of Practice: West Lake Dentistry
Education: DDS, West Virginia University School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Voted one of “America’s Top Dentists” by the Consumer Research Council of America, Dr. Naylor-Wells volunteers with North Carolina’s Missions of Mercy program, providing free two-day clinics to needy adults.
Why She Became a Dentist: Dr. Naylor-Wells was introduced to the profession by her friend’s husband, another endodontist.
Biggest Challenge: “Coming to terms with the fact that I won’t always be everyone’s favorite person. I’m a people pleaser, and not everything I have to say is welcomed by all people. But that’s just life.”
Exciting New Trend: “Our new periodontal program is the most exciting thing—bringing to life the realization that the mouth is connected to the rest of our body and that all the
issues in the mouth are having negative effects elsewhere. It’s more than treating gums and teeth; in the end we could be helping to save a life.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I competed with a national jump-rope team in my preteen and teenage years. We had huge competitions at Disney World, and we were featured on ESPN.”


FACEBOOK.COM/OWENSDENTISTRY

J.C. OWENS

Age: 39
City: Coal Township, Pennsylvania
Name of Practice: Owens Dentistry
Education: DDS, New York University College of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: As the first member of his family to graduate from a four-year college, Dr. Owens felt called to establish a practice right out of dental school to treat people in his rural Pennsylvania hometown. That choice has posed challenges, but he strives to provide patients the best possible care that won’t hurt their pocketbooks.
Philosophy: “I feel it’s my job in the professional and spiritual [sense] to serve my ‘neighbor.’ I do many outreach activities in the area—a community garden at the office, free clinics twice a year, sponsoring local activities.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “My 330 bur. It’s a silly answer. Maybe computers, my intraoral camera or my cordless endo handpiece would be better. But I always use a 330. I joked once that I’m shocked I don’t try to prep for a crown with a 330.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I was the lead in my senior musical and always had a secret fantasy of being on Broadway.”
Sage Advice: “Don’t get sucked into corporate dentistry. There are lots of practices throughout the country looking for associates or to sell, and they might not be in a big city, but there is nothing like being your own boss.”


@MINTEDDENTAL

ONIKA PATEL

Age: 34
City: Phoenix
Name of Practice: Minted Dental at Desert Ridge
Education: DMD, Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health
Why She Was Nominated: “I created Minted Dental to be a place where we thought of everything from diagnosis, treatment, amenities, knowledge and financing options. Our office focuses on community and all things local to provide a fresh approach to dental care.”
Why She Became a Dentist: “I truly love clinical dentistry.
I knew I wanted to help people and work in health care. I loved that dentists could diagnose a problem and find a solution. I loved creating art with my hands as a teenager. Dentistry was the perfect blend of science and art in health care.”
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “A PopSocket for my phone. Phones are getting bigger and bigger, and I have small hands. It also doubles as a stand when I do virtual or FaceTime consul­tations with patients.”
Something People Don’t Know: “Going to the dentist makes me nervous, too.”
Sage Advice: “Dentistry is a beautiful profession. If you want to teach, own an office, work in public health, be an associate, researcher or anything, do it.”


SOUTHWESTPAINMANAGEMENT.COM

SEENA PATEL

Age: 33
City: Phoenix
Name of Practice: Southwest Orofacial Group
Education: DMD, Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Patel says she’s drawn to the variety of dentistry—and that shows in her expertise, which ranges from dental sleep medicine to treating patients with orofacial pain, oral lesions and complex medical conditions. Why She Became a Dentist: Service, leadership, independence and an obsession with straight teeth. “My family inspired me to enter a profession that enabled me to improve a person’s quality of life and serve others while at the same time being creative, artistic and innovative.”
Biggest Challenge: “Overcoming my perception of failure.
Being successful is easy, but when faced with difficult patients, difficult cases, challenging encounters with students and a deadline on a grant, I felt burned out as a new dentist. Over time, I learned to let go of the stress and focus on the opportunity to learn from these challenges.”
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “My treadmill. Regular exercise helps me stay focused and balanced.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I could eat Taco Bell every day. It’s the best comfort food.”


@DRSHALINPATEL

SHALIN PATEL

Age: 37
City: Dallas
Name of Practice: DECA Dental Group
Education: DMD, University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Since its founding in 2008, DECA Dental has become one of the country’s fastest-growing DSOs—and Dr. Patel, its partner and chief clinical officer, has been key to its success. His team has created an exceptional culture by recruiting and training hundreds of elite dentists from across the nation.
Inspiration: “My parents, Kamlesh and Mayurika Patel. I will never take for granted being able to share my life’s greatest moments with them. I still talk to them all the time and am forever grateful for the lessons of unconditional love, endless positivity and tireless work ethic I learned from this power couple.”
Exciting New Trend: “The Journal of Dental Education estimates that by 2025, ‘large, DSO-managed group practices will be the setting in which the majority of oral health care is delivered.’
Working for a DSO can assist a recent graduate in mentoring, building clinical skills and confidence, and allow them to earn income while paying down loans. The DSO model also offers
experienced dentists opportunities for practice ownership, with the additional benefits of handling the business side of the pro­fession so the dentist is able to focus on the dentistry.”


FACEBOOK.COM/REBECCALPOUNDSDDS

REBECCA POUNDS

Age: 40
City: Pittsburgh
Name of Practice: Cherry Way Dental
Education: DDS, University of Maryland School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: A certified bioesthetic dentist, Dr. Pounds runs a top-of-the-line patient-centered practice in downtown Pittsburgh.
Why She Became a Dentist: Dr. Pounds was inspired by two early mentors in life who were both dentists: her group leader
at a leadership conference, and her college track coach.
Tools She Can’t Live Without: “My loupes—and the light on my loupes.”
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “My relationships with my patients. I am very much a people person, and I really enjoy being able to help so many with their oral health.”
Biggest Challenge: Business management. “I have really enjoyed learning the business of dentistry, but it has been very challenging as well.”
Something People Don’t Know: A former track and cross-country athlete, Dr. Pounds has completed 11 marathons, inclu­ding the Boston Marathon twice. She grew up in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, home of the famous groundhog.


@NOBLEDENTISTRY

TRICIA QUARTEY-SAGAILLE

Age: 37
City: Brooklyn, New York
Name of Practice: Noble Dental Care
Education: DMD, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now known as Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences)
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Quartey-Sagaille was a high-school math and science teacher and a mortgage broker before changing her career path. Dentistry’s blend of art and science held great appeal—and she now provides top-notch care in the family-oriented Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope.
Sage Advice: “If you want to own your own practice, stay away from the big cities. The Manhattan/Beverly Hills dentist is not always the most profitable, as some might think.”
Philosophy: “I try to make dentistry fun with actual jokes. If I can get the patients to laugh hard, I know I’ve won them over. Plus, I try very hard to be painless.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I dance ballet for fun. It’s something I’ve done since I was 9 and has always been a stress reliever, even throughout dental school. The focus makes me forget all my worries.”


FACEBOOK.COM/CALEBAROBINSONDDS

CALEB ROBINSON

Age: 38
City: New Philadelphia, Ohio
Name of Practice: Caleb Robinson, DDS
Education: DDS, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Admitted to dental school at only 18, Dr. Robinson was the youngest member of his class. Understanding the value of teamwork from his service in the U.S. Navy, he champions the values of camaraderie and collaboration within his team of top-notch dental professionals.
Inspiration: “When I was in high school, my crooked front teeth were corrected by my orthodontist. I was amazed at what he was able to do, and the treatment he gave me inspired me to pursue
a career in dentistry.”
Favorite Aspect of Dentistry: “Practicing in a relatively small town, I get to treat grandparents and great-grandparents, and discuss the news and events of their children and grandchildren who are also patients,” Dr. Robinson says. “One of our patients, who turned 100 years old last fall, was born on the day World War I ended and was named Peace.”
Sage Advice: “Dentistry can be fulfilling, but also physically and mentally taxing. Make sure to prioritize your physical and emotional wellness—yoga, massage and chiropractic care will prove invaluable.”
Something People Don’t Know: “In junior high school, I competed in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., two years in a row.”


@WATTS_DENTAL

JASON WATTS

Age: 30
City: Tampa, Florida
Names of Practices: Watts Dental at Fishhawk; Watts Dental at Apollo Beach; Watts Dental at Twin Creeks
Education: DMD, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Watts is the youngest member of the dental advisory board for the Medpro Dental Group. He speaks to dentists and students throughout the country
about economic trends, Invisalign, negotiating and more. The two-time Iron Man competitor started a charity called TriSmiles, through which he has raised funds to help buy wheelchairs, kayaks and accessories for competitive athletes.
Biggest Challenge: The journey of fulfillment. “People always tell me to slow down, relax. That’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not who I am. There’s only one life to live, and I want to live it to its fullest.”
Sage Advice: “Failure is OK. It’s very easy to open a dental practice, but to make it successful takes a lot of hard work, strong support and long hours. In the end, every second is worth it.”
Exciting New Trend: Increased numbers of older people maintaining their original teeth—signifying that people are giving more thought to keeping their overall health good as they age.


FACEBOOK.COM/LYSDC

RICHARD WEBER

Age: 33
City: Tabernacle, New Jersey
Name of Practice: Love Your Smile Dental Center
Education: DMD, Rutgers School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Weber had an exemplary academic career, graduating at the top of his class and, through residency and externships, went on to learn esthetic dentistry, implant placement and restoration, endodontics, emergencies, surgery and braces. In 2017 he opened a from-scratch practice that now serves more than 900 patients. This past December, he became a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.
Philosophy: “My job is to educate, inform and empower patients to make the best decisions for their oral and overall health. The choice is always the patient’s, but my role is to make sure they fully understand what they’re signing up for when they decide their treatment.”
Something People Don’t Know: “When I was 10 years old, I met Mother Teresa. She placed her hands on my head and said a prayer. I remember being a tiny little guy at that time, but we were about the same size.”


THE SPECIALISTS

NO ONE WHO isn’t in the field much bothers to understand the difference between an endodontist and an orthodontist, a prosthodontist and a periodontist. Until they find themselves in need of quality care, of course. Then those distinctions mean everything. That’s the abiding lesson of the 40 dental specialists profiled in the pages ahead. They’ve chosen to dedicate their career to mastery of a certain skill, pursuing medical excellence to improve their patients’ oral health as they boost American health care more broadly. They’re an impressive group whose knowledge is a credit to dentistry. Root canals, implants, tooth alignment or simply getting an especially anxious kid to calm down: These specialists can do it all.

@DCO.ORTHO

DANIEL CASSARELLA

Age: 37
City: Philadelphia
Specialty: Orthodontics
Name of Practice: DCO Orthodontic Specialists
Education: DMD, Harvard University School of Dental Medicine; MS in orthodontics, University of California, Los Angeles
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Cassarella launched DCO Ortho­dontic Specialists after nearly a decade of ortho experience; it’s now one of the fastest-growing specialty practices in suburban Philadelphia. He has held faculty positions at the University of Maryland and, currently, the University of Pennsylvania.
Why He Became a Dentist: “Being an orthodontist provides me with a unique opportunity to be a scientist, artist, business owner and teacher all at the same time.”
Biggest Challenge: Losing a great friend and classmate in dental school. “His tragic passing awakened in me a sense of urgency in cherishing every second we have with those we love.
It also helped me see with enhanced clarity the beauty and gifts that so many others bring to our lives.”
Sage Advice: From Marcus Aurelius: “The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.”
Most Memorable Patient: A teenage boy with Down syndrome. “During his first visit, he had a lot of anxiety and did not want to sit in the chair or open his mouth. After three months of our getting to know him, he began to tell the team that he loves them at every visit. He is such an uplifting presence for our whole team.”


Why He Became a Dentist:

Being an othodontist provides me with a unique opportunity to be a scientist, artist, business owner and teacher all the same time.

– Dr. Daniel Cassarella


@MY_CDMR, DR.QUINNCHAN, @DR.BINAOH

QUINN CHAN AND BINA OH

Ages: Chan 40; Oh 36
City: Lincoln, Massachusetts
Specialties: Quinn, prosthodontics; Oh, periodontics and implants
Name of Practice: Center for Dental Medicine & Reconstruction
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (both)
Why They Were Nominated: Together—you’ll hear that word a lot regarding this married dream team. Having met at Tufts 15 years ago, Drs. Chan and Oh say they “grew up” as dentists together. Each also attended the University of Michigan for their residency.
Why They Became Dentists: Neither considered the field until college; Dr. Chan studied engineering, while Dr. Oh was an art-history and studio-art major. They were soon to discover though, that dentistry was more immediately rewarding, and just as artistic, as their initial choices.
Inspiration: “Art,” Dr. Oh says. “It’s a source of calm in a chaotic world. Dentistry is a form of art, many would agree.” Biggest Challenge: Balancing business and clinical aspects, Dr. Chan says. “I’ve long felt that those two sides compete against each other in many unfortunate ways. It’s a challenge we’re still trying to solve.”
Philosophy: Transparency and authenticity. Says Dr. Chan: “We spend a lot of time educating and explaining to patients what their problems are, along with different approaches to treatment for their solutions, and we’re upfront about the upsides and downsides of every treatment.”
Most Memorable Patient: Their most recent pro bono case. “She could not remember the last time she had food without pain,” Dr. Oh says. She had generalized periodontal abscess as well as periapical infections the size of ping-pong balls on multiple teeth. “We started to earn her trust, and we’re at a point where we’ve contained the fire from spreading.”
Something People Don’t Know: Crediting Dr. Oh’s family, Dr. Chan became a convert to rescuing dogs, saving two so far. “If I had more free time and a bigger home,” he says, “I’d rescue more.”


OLNEYSMILES.COM

MONICA CHANDRAN

Age: 36
City: Olney, Maryland
Specialty: Prosthodontics
Name of Practice: Olney Smiles
Education: DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine; MS in prosthodontics, University of Maryland School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Chandran’s community service is both local and global—through Team Smiles in Baltimore and groups including International Dental Relief in Nicaragua and India. She also organizes outreach programs for senior citizens at local community centers.
Inspiration: Her mother, who was one of only a handful of women in her medical school in India. After emigrating to the U.S., “she had a successful solo pediatric practice for 30 years, all while making sure we had a packed lunch and home-cooked meals every day,” Dr. Chandran recalls. “She is the definition of breaking the glass ceiling.”
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “Teflon tape helps block out undercuts and clean up cement, protects implant access, shields adjacent teeth from bonding and other materials. The uses are endless.”
Most Memorable Patient: A patient in his mid-forties with fractured, decayed teeth. “He had trouble finding work and lacked confidence. We made upper and lower immediate dentures, and within a month he found gainful employment and was a new man. It totally changed his life—and mine.”
Sage Advice: Work in the practice type that fits your personality, “whether fast-paced or slow-, large or small.” Something People Don’t Know: “A friend and I started an a cappella group in college, and it’s still going strong 15 years later.”


@BREEZEORTHO

RITA Y. CHUANG

Age: 38
City: Torrance, California
Specialties: Orthodontics and Invisalign
Name of Practice: Breeze Orthodontics
Education: DDS, University of Southern California School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Chuang is a passionate mentor, college admissions counselor and youth life coach in her community. (She also won the 2018 Woman to Watch Lucy Hobbs Award.) She has partnered with the anti-bullying nonprofit group Smiles Change Lives, and is working to develop a program with the Freedom Writers Foundation to help students in impoverished neighborhoods get the dental care they need.
Why She Became a Dentist: “To help adolescents who are embarrassed by their smiles discover their true smiles and, in the process, become their biggest empowerment coach and cheerleader.”
Inspiration: “My father, who grew up in a poor village in Taiwan with limited resources. He was the first person in his village to graduate from high school and attend college and graduate school.”
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “My Vatech Green CT with low radiation, which allows me to visualize and be able to [offer] comprehensive treatment plans.”
Most Memorable Patient: A 64-year-old woman suffering from snoring and sleep apnea. “Her physician referred her to me to make her an oral sleep appliance, which helped her snoring to subside. She was so grateful that the next time she came into my office, she gave me the biggest hug and shared with me that not only did I save her life, I also saved her relationship with her boyfriend.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’m a first-generation immigrant who moved to the U.S. from Taiwan at age 10. Through hard work, I mastered the language and was admitted to top institutions, including two Ivy league schools, as well as medical and dental schools.”


@PEDIATRICDENTALSPECIALISTSAZ

CHARLIE CLARK

Age: 38
Cities: Gilbert and Chandler, Arizona
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practices: Pediatric Dental Specialists
Education: DMD, A.T. Still University
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Clark serves on the board of directors of the Brighter Way Institute, providing clinical services to at-risk populations in the Phoenix area. In addition, he organizes an annual mission trip through Canada-based Dentistry for All, reaching underserved areas in the San Marcos region of rural Guatemala.
Inspiration: “Mentors who share a passion for dentistry, education, and service.”
Biggest Challenge: “When working with children, all we want to do is provide the best possible care in the best possible environment. Our hands are often tied due to insurance, cost of care, low parental dental IQ or other factors.”
Philosophy: Behavior management. “Pure and simple. From managing parents’ understanding of the importance of prevention to the management of an anxious child resistant to necessary treatment.”
Exciting New Trend: Growing collaboration between oral-health providers and other medical practitioners. “Pediatrician and medical groups in our community have expressed interest in learning about prevention strategies and how we can team up to improve health outcomes.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Clark was a 23-year member of the Dave Matthews Band Fan Club, until he missed the renewal date by two months this year. “When I called to see if I could get an extension, they said no,” he recalls. “So I joined the Zac Brown Band Fan Club.”


Philosophy:

Behavior management, from managing parents’ understanding of the importance of prevention to the management of an anxious child resistant to necessary treatment.

– Dr. Charlie Clark


TWEETSMILES.COM

TORI-THUY CONRAD

Age: 38
City: Chanhassen, Minnesota
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Tweet Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Cynical about the American Dream? Dr. Conrad’s story will renew your faith. Four decades ago, she was a 6-week-old infant drifting away from Vietnam’s coast in a fishing boat with 11 family members. Today, she owns an 11-chair pediatric practice she built from the ground up. She also assists organizations including Feed My Starving Children, Union Gospel Mission, Ronald McDonald House, Operation Gratitude and more.
Why She Became a Dentist: “I love to socialize. What better career allows you to converse, tell jokes and be goofy all day?”
Biggest Challenge: “Starting a practice with three children under age 3”—though she has learned to shift from practitioner to Mom “in a split-second.”
Tool She Can’t Live Without: A sharpener. “A chef without a sharp knife is no good; a dentist without sharp instruments would be in trouble.”
Exciting New Trend: Lasers. “Soft-tissue procedures without sutures, and aiding new moms with lactation and breastfeeding. Fascinating technology.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Conrad loves to create original dishes without a recipe and share them with her team, neighbors, friends and anyone willing to eat them. “Someday,
I’d like to compete on the Food Network show Chopped.”


@HARPDENTAL

MARK M. DAWOUD

Age: 33
City: Palm Harbor, Florida
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Harp Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Dawoud became a board-certified pediatric dentist to provide care for kids including those with autism, Down syndrome and cleft lip or palate. He has training in laser, sedation and hospital dentistry.
Why He Became a Dentist: “My first week in dental school, I received an excited phone call from my parents telling me they found my eighth-grade yearbook. They told me that in the yearbook each student was asked ‘What is your dream job?’ and I wrote ‘dentist.’ I knew I wanted to go into health care to serve people who need it most.”
Biggest Challenge: Opening a startup practice. “I had to venture out of my dental comfort zone. I had to think like a CEO, HR director and manager, and be the dentist.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “Isolite.”
Sage Advice: Do what gives you a sense of purpose. “Don’t follow what everyone else is saying you have to do. Find the philosophy that gets you out of bed every morning and live it every day. Money will not give you that sense of purpose.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I can make some seriously good jerk chicken and papaya sauce—even my wife agrees.”


@CUMMING_PEDO_ORTHO
@CRABAPPLE.PED_ORTHO

HEMANT DHAWAN

Age: 38
City: Atlanta
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Names of Practices: Cumming Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics; Crabapple Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
Education: DMD, University of Pennsylvania
School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Dhawan has distinguished himself as the “go-to guy” wherever he’s gone. Having first entered private practice, he joined a respected, established multi-specialty group in Connecticut comprising 24 doctors and four locations. He took over a small struggling practice and transformed it into the second-largest practice within the group.
Why He Became a Dentist: “I love the autonomy. Like most doctors, I enjoy people and genuinely want to help. The beauty in pediatric dentistry is that I get to see lots of children and help them with their oral health in a safe, fun way.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “My staff. I cannot live without the wonderful people around me. As practitioners, we rely on our staff to ensure the practice performs at an exceptional level and each patient receives the care we would want for our own families.”
Most Memorable Patient: “A patient who had gone off to college and was coming home for the summer. His mom had made his appointment, and when he came in, he asked when we could go out for lunch and hang out. He was excited to share his experiences about college and sought out my advice. It showed me that my interest in my patients comes full circle.”


FACEBOOK.COM/TREEHOUSEPEDIATRICDENTISTRY

NASEM DUNLOP

Age: 36
City: Foothill Ranch, California
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Treehouse Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: At age 4, Dr. Dunlop walked around with a baby doll and doctor’s kit, telling anyone who would listen that she wanted to be a “baby doctor.” For the past decade, she has held hospital privileges at Children’s Hospital Orange County, where she sees children with special needs who are unable to complete treatment in a traditional practice setting.
Why She Became a Dentist: “Because it’s more preventative than medicine can be. I don’t just treat disease; I work every day to prevent disease in
children and to pave a healthy, dental-friendly future for each child.”
Biggest Challenge: Access to care. She has gone to Washington to advocate for the inclusion of dental coverage in state insurance policies.
Tool She Can’t Live Without: Her sense of humor. “My patients love my silliness, my assistants love my corny jokes and the moms love that I’m not afraid to spend extra time to make sure their child is establishing a relationship with me.”
Exciting New Trend: Tethered oral tissues and fren­ectomies. “The research is striking, and the difference you can make in a few-day-old infant is incredible.”


DENTALPGH.COM

TROY EANS

Age: 31
City: Pittsburgh
Specialty: Prosthodontics
Name of Practice: Gruendel, Eans & Boles Dentistry
Education: DMD, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: If literally writing the textbook on your specialty is the capstone of a successful career, then coauthoring a chapter—“Implant Treatment: Advanced Concepts & Complex Cases”—in Contemporary Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is a firm foundation on which to build. Dr. Eans’s expertise has earned him invitations to lecture nationally for dental implant and prosthodontic procedures and led to the founding of “The Implant Protocol,” this University of Pittsburgh faculty member’s own course.
Why He Became a Dentist: “I woke up one day in the summer between high school and college and decided that I wanted to pursue a dental career. Prior to that, I wished to pursue higher education in computer technology.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: CBCT. “This technology has forever changed the field of dentistry. We can see things more clearly than ever before.”
Exciting New Trend: “Dental implants are one of the most challenging and exciting aspects of treatment. We can give patients new hope with the recent advances in complex biological augmentations, implants and very precise prosthetic restorations. I have the luxury of having a full-service dental laboratory in my office with an exceptionally skilled technician. With a laboratory technician on site, the possibilities of true customization are endless.”
Sage Advice: Spend time in multiple offices. “Every practitioner operates differently. It’s important to investigate what aspect of dentistry sparks your inner enthusiasm. Dentistry should be enjoyable.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I have never seen Star Wars.”


FACEBOOK.COM/FALLSCHURCHKIDSDENTAL

ROSELYNE GICHANA

Age: 37
City: Falls Church, Virginia
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Falls Church Pediatric Dental Center
Education: DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Gichana has been named one of the top pediatric dentists in the D.C. metro area by both Washingtonian and Northern Virginia magazine. With a certificate in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, she specializes in providing care to patients with special needs—and her state-of-the-art practice recently incorporated a Fotona laser.
Why She Became a Dentist: “Growing up, I recall seeing kids with cleft lip who had speech and facial-appearance concerns, and other kids with special needs. My heart went out to them. That was the initial motivation for a career in dentistry.”
Inspiration: “The simple things: patients’ smiles, talking to parents and reassuring them that we will take the best care of their little ones, witnessing their appreciation at the end of it.”
Biggest Challenge: Establishing a startup dental practice. “I had underestimated the amount of work and time that went into getting the practice up and running. Dental school did
not prepare me for this, and there was no manual.”
Tool She Can’t Live Without: Isolite. “Kids love it and call it the ‘whale tail.’ ”
Exciting New Trend: “The use of lasers is quite exciting. Anesthesia-free fillings on little ones. No needles! Who wouldn’t want that?”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Gichana can speak six languages: English, Spanish, Italian, French, Swahili and Kisii (a local Kenyan dialect). She hopes to learn Russian next.


FACEBOOK.COM/NYPWPD

SUSAN HERNANDEZ

Age: 40
City: Brooklyn, New York
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Pearly Whites Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DMD, University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine; GPR, Department of Veterans Affairs New York Harbor Healthcare System
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Hernandez maintains a private practice in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and for 10 years has been a clinical attending specialist of pediatric dentistry at NYU Langone Dental Medicine’s postdoctoral residency program. In addition, she has been featured twice on her local CBS affiliate’s “American Health Front” segment, providing comprehensive pediatric oral health-care information to New York viewers.
Why She Became a Dentist: “I was constantly teased as a child for my malocclusion. Yet I remember the kind words of my crush: ‘You are truly beautiful! The only thing you need is to fix up your teeth, and that’s it!’ So I got braces and witnessed firsthand how fixing your teeth builds confidence.”
Philosophy: “Never look back—always look forward.”
Exciting New Trend: “Minimally invasive dentistry. I’ve had success with resin infiltration for the treatment of anterior white spot lesions. I’ve also integrated silver diamine fluoride underneath Hall crowns as a minimally invasive restorative procedure for very young patients.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’m an avid golfer. I’m the female John Daly with my driver!”


@SPRINGCREEKPD

KEVIN KENNEDY

Age: 34
City: Clarksville, Tennessee
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Spring Creek Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of Tennessee College of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: After transitioning from a group practice, Dr. Kennedy opened his own practice in March 2019 and saw 290 patients the first month alone. He has served on the board of directors of Manna Café, a nonprofit food-relief agency serving more than 200 low-income people as manyas four meals each week.
Why He Became a Dentist: “When I was researching professions in high school, I never encountered a dentist who didn’t love their work. Their belief in the profession spoke volumes.”
Most Memorable Patient: “Annie was a 1-month-old who was really struggling with breastfeeding and unable to gain weight in a healthy way. Her mom reached out to me to see if I could take a look at her tethered oral tissues. I paid them an in-home visit late one night, confirmed her suspicion and performed the procedure the next week. I now see Annie every once in a while around town, and it gives me great joy that a simple procedure helped her achieve healthy weight gain.”
Exciting New Trend: “New research regarding sleep disturbances in children and the connection with the oral anatomy.”
Sage Advice: “Do whatever you can to minimize your education debt burden before beginning your career.”


@SLAVASANIDDS

SETAREH LAVASANI

Age: 38
City: Pomona, California
Specialty: Oral and maxillofacial radiology
Name of Practice: Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine
Education: DDS, Ajman University of Science and Technology, United Arab Emirates
Why She Was Nominated: This associate professor has been proclaimed “Queen of Radiology” and “The Selfie Queen” by her students and colleagues. The former reflects her teaching excellence while the latter reflects this hard-learned lesson: Ordinary days feel extraordinary when you take a moment to appreciate the fact that you’re smiling. A breast-cancer and leukemia survivor, she now conducts national and international lectures, all or some of whose proceeds are donated to St. Jude Children’s Cancer Research Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Why She Became a Dentist: “My sister is an endodontist, my cousins are all dentists, one of my aunts is a dentist—so basically we have a mini–dental convention when we get together.”
Biggest Challenge: “Going through treatments, finding a bone-marrow donor, returning to school to relearn the old knowledge and completing new courses and graduating residency. Surviving it all was nothing short of a miracle.”
Tools She Can’t Live Without: The six monitors in her office, which she says draw comparisons to NASA’s Mission Control.
Exciting New Trend: “The very-near-future introduction of artificial-intelligence algorithms in dental radiology software.”
Sage Advice: “Give back any way you can, as small or large as you can.”


FACEBOOK.COM/LAVOIEPEDIATRICDENTISTRY

NICHOLAS A. LAVOIE

Age: 32
City: Swansea, Massachusetts
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Lavoie Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DDS, MPH, MA, Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: In 2018, Dr. Lavoie helped launch the Providence Community Health Center’s pediatric dental resident-provider component in Rhode Island. He also recently opened his own practice alongside the Swansea Pediatrics physician group with the intention of creating a health-care hub for children in the Southeastern Massachusetts/Rhode Island area.
Why He Became a Dentist: “My undergraduate nursing studies opened my eyes to the impact early-childhood caries have on overall health and emotional well-being, and I wanted to be an active part of solving this health-care problem.”
Biggest Challenge: “Dealing with insurance companies. They are administratively cumbersome, to say the least.”
Tools He Can’t Live Without: “I absolutely love the properties of many new restorative products entering the market. Two I use daily: Activa bioactive restorative material and TheraCal liner.”
Exciting New Trend: “The increasing popularity of group practices is convenient for patients and eliminates the ‘island effect’
to which solo practices are prone. I enjoy engaging with and learning from colleagues daily.”
Sage Advice: “The road to a career in dentistry is long but rewarding. It requires a lifetime of commitment, but the oppor­tunities are endless. Take time to appreciate each step of the journey.”


FACEBOOK.COM/BEARBROOKDENTALCARE

TOMMY LEE

Age: 33
Cities: New York; Montvale, New Jersey
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Names of Practices: Tribeca North Dentistry; Bear Brook Dental Care
Education: DMD, Boston University School of Dental Medicine; pediatric-dentistry specialty, Yale School of Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Lee has dedicated his life to helping children gain confidence and self-assuredness. His expertise has helped earn him his current assistant clinical professorship at Columbia University Dental.
Why He Became a Dentist: “Growing up, I always wanted
to be a doctor who could help children. I’ve always been good with kids, so I thought I could definitely help them.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: His puppet, Ashley the Gator. “Many of my patients love brushing Ashley’s teeth. While they’re brushing, I tell them, ‘today, we’re going to do the same thing you’re doing for Ashley: We’re going to count how many teeth you have, and we’ll brush them together!’ ”
Exciting New Trend: Atraumatic and interim restorative treatments. “With these new techniques, we can offer more treatment options to arrest or prevent the progression of carious lesions in young, uncooperative or special-needs patients.”
Sage Advice: “I watch a lot of kids’ movies and shows to learn about new characters. This helps me connect with my patients better. It’s important for pediatric dentists to look at things from the child’s perspective.”
Something People Don’t Know: “During my college years, I did modeling as a summer job. I also took an acting class in New York after finishing dental school because I believed this would help me become a more confident and creative pediatric dentist.”


@DR.LOMBARDI

DANIELLE LOMBARDI

Age: 32
City: New York
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Park Smiles NYC
Education: DDS, New York University College of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Having cowritten the book The Chronicles of Women in White Coats, Dr. Lombardi strives to promote the work of women in medicine. In addition to the book—which explores sexual assault, life with breast cancer, professional training as a single mother, burnout and finding one’s true passion—she also helps edit the anthology’s accompanying blog.
Why She Became a Dentist: “Growing up, my mother dealt with several health issues. She was treated by so many wonderful doctors that I was originally inspired to attend medical school.
I [later] realized that dentistry would give me more opportunities to develop personal relationships with patients.”
Biggest Challenge: “When parents first meet me, they often think I look very young, and am therefore not experienced. While I’m thankful for the good genes that run in my family, it challenges me to work harder and show my value as a doctor.”
Philosophy: Trust your gut instinct. “If a patient seems like they’re having an off day or a parent is unusually quiet, asking a simple question to make sure you’re all on the same page can help make a dental visit a positive experience instead of a catastrophe.”
Exciting New Trend: Triple antibiotic paste for pulp therapy in primary teeth. “If used in the appropriate situations, we can save teeth that normally would be extracted.”


FACEBOOK.COM/NORTHPITTSBURGHORALSURGERY

SHAWN MARSH

Age: 37
City: Pittsburgh
Specialty: Oral and maxillofacial surgery
Name of Practice: North Pittsburgh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Marsh’s advanced surgical-procedure training has been life-changing for children around the world. With the Ruth Paz Foundation, he traveled to Honduras and treated both children and adults in San Pedro Sula, at the time considered the murder capital of the world.
Why He Became a Dentist: “I always knew I wanted to be involved in the medical field. I found myself drawn to the personal connection dentistry affords.”
Biggest Challenge: “Managing the wide patient demographic. On one hand you can have a day where 10 healthy 18-year-olds come through the door for routine wisdom-tooth extractions. The next may be filled with 10 60-year-olds who smoke and haven’t been to the doctor in 20 years.”
Most Memorable Patient: A 7-year-old girl suffering from hemifacial microsomia, “a condition where one side of your facial structures fails to fully mature. After the completion of her treatment she began to cry and walked around the room hugging each of us one by one and thanking us for ‘making her normal.’ ”
Exciting New Trend: “I began dental school in 2004, and the rapid inclusion of Cone Beam technology as an industry standard has been exciting.”
Something People Don’t Know: A huge music fan, Dr. Marsh originally wanted to be a rock star. “I settled for oral surgeon.”


@PRECISIONPERIO

RYAN L. MENDRO

Age: 39
City: Winter Garden, Florida
Specialty: Periodontics
Education: DDS, Columbia University College of Dentistry; MS, University of Florida
Name of Practice: Precision Periodontics and Dental Implants
Why He Was Nominated: Despite working in a crowded perio­dontal market, Dr. Mendro has been named one of Orlando’s best dentists by Orlando magazine every year since 2012. Along with his wife, fellow periodontist Dr. Lucia Roca Mendro, Dr. Mendro treats his patients in a state-of-the-art practice opened in 2018. (The practice itself has been open a decade.)
Why He Became a Dentist: Unlike his wife, who came from a dental family, Dr. Mendro never had an inkling that a career in periodontics might be for him. “But it turned out to be the perfect blend of art and science. It also lets you be your own boss, while having the opportunity to help people in a way that few of us can.”
Philosophy: “Treat patients with compassion and respect.
Most patients will never know how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ a dentist you are. All they know is how they were treated and how you made them feel. If you treat them with compassion and respect and
can gain their trust, the dentistry is the easy part.”
Sage Advice: “Work hard. Never settle. Most importantly, be kind.”
Something People Don’t Know: “In my free time I enjoy traveling and sandwiches—and also calling beer ‘sandwiches.’ ”


@RIVERSIDEORALSURGERY

JUSTIN MESSINA

Age: 34
City: Englewood, New Jersey
Specialty: Oral and maxillofacial surgery
Name of Practice: Riverside Oral Surgery
Education: DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine; MD, Harvard Medical School
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Messina has received extensive subspecialty training during clinical rotations in anesthesiology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and head-and-neck surgery. He regularly participates in trauma call and maintains staff privileges in local hospitals. At Hackensack University Medical Center, the largest provider of in- and outpatient services in New Jersey, he trains postgraduate general-practice dental residents.
Why He Became a Dentist: “When researching careers, I looked to my own health-care experiences, and I always enjoyed the patient-doctor relationship that I had with my own dentist.”
Inspiration: “My former chief of service at Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Leonard B. Kaban, a role model in the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: Molt #9 Periosteal Elevator. “The workhorse of oral surgery.”
Most Memorable Patient: His first extraction in dental school. “The first of any procedure is always interesting, but this patient was the most pleasant and understanding person. It made the extremely stressful experience that much easier.”
Sage Advice: “Work hard, but don’t let academics hinder you from experience. In the end, the dental field is a business, and to succeed involves troubleshooting, creativity and the ability to keep up with the ever-evolving field.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’m an extreme-sports enthusiast. Wakeboarding, snowboarding, surfing, whitewater rafting, you name it.”


@DRDANSCV

ALEXIS K. MOORE

Age: 36
City: Valencia, California
Specialty: Endodontics
Name of Practice: Daniel J. Iannotti, DDS, Inc.
Education: DMD, Harvard University School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: She’s the endodontist in a multi-speciality practice that she opened with her husband, Dr. Dan Iannotti (see page 30), and has made it her mission to give root canals a good reputation by making a potentially uncomfortable procedure as comfortable as possible. She also works closely with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide dental care to our nation’s veterans.
Why She Became a Dentist: “When I was in high school I had to have a lot of dental work done and saw just about every different kind of dental specialist in existence. Seeing so many dentists in a short period of time made me realize that the bedside manner of a practitioner could dramatically change my experience as a patient.”
Most Memorable Patient: “One who had been told by another dentist that she needed a root canal. She was so terrified that she was crying hysterically before I even walked into the room to start the consultation. She did need a root canal—and although treating her took extra special care and patience, at the end she gave me a big hug and thanked me for taking away her pain.”
Something People Don’t Know: At age 12, Dr. Moore moved away from her family to attend the Royal Ballet School in London with dreams of becoming a professional ballerina.


Most Memorable Patient:

One who needed a root canal and was crying hysterically before I even walked into the room. A the end, she gave me a big hug and thanked me for taking away her pain.

– Dr. Alexis K Moore


FACEBOOK.COM/ADVENTUREORTHODONTICS

BAR NGUYEN

Age: 36
City: Spring, Texas
Specialty: Orthodontics
Name of Practice: Adventure Orthodontics
Education: DDS, University of Texas Health San Antonio School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Nguyen is one of a few Digital Smile Design (DSD) orthodontists plying their trade. He’s known for treating complex adult cases. He’s also passionate about airway health in both children and adults, using Invisalign, expanders and braces to achieve airway expansion with or without surgery. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the Houston native helped raise money, matched donations and volunteered at local shelters.
Why He Became a Dentist: “As an orthodontist I can change people’s lives.”
Biggest Challenge: Taking over a 40-year-old practice. “It has taught me so much—you never learn from successes, only failures.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: “My hands. With clear aligners, you can now straighten teeth with no brackets, wires or instruments, but I still need my hands.”
Philosophy: “I’m not treating teeth, I’m treating a person attached to those teeth.”
Most Memorable Patient: “A boy with extreme crossbite, open bite and crowdings. We improved his jaws, bite and teeth. He could breathe through his nose, his airway improved, he could eat properly and his smile is beautiful.”
Sage Advice: “Be a better version of yourself.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I traveled the world with my wife for six months: We bought one-way tickets to Australia and made our way across the globe one destination at a time.”


FACEBOOK.COM/CREATIVEPEDIATRICDENTISTRY

LIZZIE O’DELL

Age: 34
City: Hurricane, West Virginia
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Creative Pediatric Dentistry
Education: DMD, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. O’Dell’s practice uses social media like a dental tool to spread her pediatric message. These efforts earned her practice nearly 2,000 followers on Facebook alone—not bad considering the town it’s in has just 6,000 residents. She’s also a member of the cleft-and-craniofacial team at the CAMC Health System in Charleston, West Virginia.
Why She Became a Dentist: “The moment I knew I wanted to become a dentist was during an internship at a practice in Milpitas, California. I was shadowing an operative procedure on a young child. She was anxious, and I was too. She asked me to hold her hand, and as the dentist managed to calm her fears, I witnessed a change from fear to trust. That experience was incredibly rewarding.”
Tool She Can’t Live Without: Isolite. “It’s the most amazing piece of plastic that helps tame wiggly tongues and keeps drool under control.”
Exciting New Trend: “Silver diamine fluoride is all the rage in pediatric dentistry. Keeping young kids who need dental work out of the hospital has really changed our industry and outlook.”
Sage Advice: “Treat your dental team better than you would treat your family. They keep your engine running.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. O’Dell is a lifestyle blogger with 24,000 Instagram followers. Follow her @prettypistachio to see what makes her smile outside the operatory.


@ROOTCANALDR

VALERIE OKEHIE

Age: 36
City: Greenbelt, Maryland
Specialty: Endodontics
Name of Practice: Elite Root Canal Specialties
Education: DDS, University of Maryland School of Dentistry; MS and certificate of endodontics, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Why She Was Nominated: Born and raised in Nigeria, Dr. Okehie grew up lacking a dependable health-care system. She established the nonprofit Health Savers Foundation in 2017 to improve oral health care in developing and developed nations alike. It focuses on partnering with other established foundations in Nigeria through monetary contributions, and hopes to expand.
Why She Became a Dentist: “My experience undergoing orthodontic treatment soon after relocating to the U.S. was my first exposure to the field. I realized the impact dental health can have on one’s physical, emotional and mental well-being.”
Inspiration: “My 10-month-old daughter. In many ways, having my daughter was the catalyst in my decision to finally move forward with opening my endodontic practice.”
Biggest Challenge: “Not being taken seriously enough at times because I am a woman and look younger than my age.”
Most Memorable Patient: One who had been in an abusive relationship. “As a direct result of the abuse, she was very self- conscious about the appearance of her teeth. I listened as she spoke, and established a level of trust. Next time she returned,
the procedure went smoothly because she understood that she was in a safe space. After treatment, I approached her for a handshake, but she gave me a big bear hug instead.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Okehie is a very good basketball player. “Because of my athletic build, people assume that I played in school or for a team,” she says. “I actually taught myself how to play.”


@LILIORTIZ

LILIANA ORTIZ CAMACHO

Age: 31
City: New York
Specialty: Prosthodontics
Name of Practice: New York University College of Dentistry; she is the director of clinical removable prosthodontics there
Education: DDS, Universidad del Zulia, Maracaibo, Venezuela
Why She Was Nominated: “I am grateful, I can do it, and I will do it!” That’s one of Dr. Ortiz Camacho’s mantras. After receiving her DDS summa cum laude, she completed a two-year international program and a three-year postgraduate training in prosthodontics at New York University College of Dentistry. She’s now a full-time clinical assistant professor at NYU Dental.
Why She Became a Dentist: “From an early age, I knew that I would be in the health field, because I grew up in that environment.” Her mother is a pediatrician; her father was an OB-GYN.
Biggest Challenge: “My father passed away when I was starting dental school. I promised myself that in his honor and as a gift to my mother, I’d be the best of the class. And it happened!”
Most Memorable Patient: During her prosthodontics training, Dr. Ortiz Camacho treated a 16-year-old diagnosed with Amelogenesis imperfecta. The treatment was interdisciplinary, involving multiple specialists. “After the insertion of the definitive restorations,” she recalls, “the gratitude the boy displayed made me realize that prosthodontics is an art.”
Exciting New Trend: CAD/CAM dentures. “It’s great that patients can have dentures in a few appointments with good results.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Ortiz Camacho loves to organize events. She was known as “Dr. Party Planner” during her last year of prosthodontics training.


@HUBIEP

HUBERT PARK

Age: 37
City: Lynn, Massachusetts
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Broad Smiles Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
Education: DMD and certificate in pediatric dentistry, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: In June 2017, Dr. Park was entrusted to be the new owner of a 40-year pediatric dental and orthodontic practice. Building off the legacy of the previous owners, he added modern digital technology, minimally invasive dentistry and clear aligners as added benefits for patients. This year he’s serving as chair of the Boston District Dental Society.
Why He Became a Dentist: “My aunt was my orthodontist and my uncle was my oral surgeon. Their care for their patients inspired me to pursue this path when I entered college.”
Biggest Challenge: “Student loans, and running the office while balancing time with family and close friends.”
Most Memorable Patient: “I recently lost a young patient after a major seizure episode at home. In the few years I knew him, he exemplified strength and overcame the challenges presented to him with autism and epilepsy. His passing was extremely disheartening. However, I celebrate his life—everyone I met in the ICU in his last few days was profoundly affected by his positivity.”
Sage Advice: “I cannot overstate the importance of trust, and to gain trust one must master the art of communication and make the patient’s needs your top priority.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I got into old-school jazz at a young age and picked up the saxophone purely out of my desire to play. Jazz band was a huge part of my high school years.”


@LOLLIPOPDENTAL

MARY REGINA PHAM

Age: 38
Cities: Placentia, Garden Grove and Costa Mesa, California
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Names of Practices: Lollipop Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics
Education: DDS, University of Southern California School of Dentistry; MS in oral biology and pediatric-dentistry certification, University of Illinois at Chicago
Why She Was Nominated: Founding and building three pediatric practices in Orange County is no easy feat with two young children of one’s own. Through her marriage to orthodontist Hideki Ikeda, she has consolidated her success with his and forged an ortho-pediatric empire of sorts.
Why She Became a Dentist: “I love being able to build relationships with children and their families and be part of kids’ positive dental experience. I’m living my dream.”
Biggest Challenge: Learning to delegate. “I realized I’m not Superwoman and that if I take time to hire and train the right people, that allows me to be the best mom, pediatric dentist and boss I can be.”
Philosophy: Be the reason someone smiles today. “No matter what language you speak, a smile is universal.”
Exciting New Trend: Silver diamine fluoride. “It’s exciting because it’s a treatment of early cavities without having to drill the cavity from the tooth.”
Sage Advice: Be positive. “There’s always someone who would love to have your life right now.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Pham used to be a celebrity manicurist. Among those whose digits she dazzled: Penelope Cruz, Hayden Panettiere, Jennifer
Hudson and Teri Hatcher.


FACEBOOK.COM/SEANPIERCEDDS

SEAN PIERCE

Age: 28
Cities: Newport Beach and Tustin, California
Specialties: Cosmetic dentistry and oral surgery
Names of Practices: Pierce Aesthetics; Sean Pierce, DDS
Education: DDS, Marquette University School of Dentistry
Why He Was Nominated: The youngest doctor on this year’s list, Dr. Pierce is also one of the most ambitious. In 2018 he founded the California Dental Institute, a fully accredited dental-assistant program with a custom curriculum focused on advanced techniques and modern technology.
Why He Became a Dentist: “As a child, I would say that I wanted to be a dentist when I grew up. That dream never really changed, and I’m so happy it didn’t.”
Biggest Challenge: “Separating myself from others while also remembering that there are many great dentists out there—a huge concentration of them in Southern California. Many are neighbors, friends and colleagues.”
Philosophy: Patients first. “The patient’s perception is always the most important factor in dentistry. I always do my best to relate to every patient and make them feel comfortable.”
Most Memorable Patient: His first ER patient, a singer in a heavy-metal band. “He had a freak accident during a softball game and broke his arm. While having an X-ray done on his arm, he passed out, hit the floor and broke his jaw and front teeth. That’s when I was brought in. We were able to repair his broken jaw and replace his broken and missing front teeth.
I learned a lot about customizing treatment: He did a lot of intense vocals that made his healing period challenging. We both had to adapt our ways. The final result was outstanding.”
Exciting New Trend: “The Mavrik whitening system is a machine that will completely change whitening and reduce post-operative pain and sensitivity. The Yomi robot by Neocis will allow for amazing same-day surgical precision for implant placement.”
Something People Don’t Know: Despite his O.C. credentials, Dr. Pierce is a small-town Midwesterner from Green Lake, Wisconsin. Total population 1,100; he went through K-12 with the same 36 kids.


@PREMINGERPEDIATRICDENTISTRY

JOEL PREMINGER

Age: 36
City: Cedarhurst, New York
Specialty: Pediatric dentistry
Name of Practice: Preminger Pediatric & Orthodontic Dentistry
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Hailing from a long line of surgeons, Dr. Preminger demonstrates his family’s Hippocratic ethos by being available to patients 24/7 and employing the latest technology. He has also created a kid-friendly practice with a tire swing, iPads, books, hopscotch, television sets and a snack area.
Why He Became a Dentist: With his grandfather an internist and his father a urological surgeon, it’s no wonder medicine was in the cards for Dr. Preminger. He chose dentistry for its unique combination of art and science.
Inspiration: “Working with children. I have six children of my own.”
Tool He Can’t Live Without: Digital radiography. “The ability, specifically in pediatric dentistry, to take an X-ray and see the image immediately is life-changing. Another advancement is the Nomad. It enables me to obtain superior-quality images with significantly less radiation than conventional wall-mounted units. It also doesn’t hurt that the Nomad looks like a cool laser gun.”
Philosophy: Make every visit a positive experience. “When I first meet a child, I stoop to their level and introduce myself. I don’t believe in wearing a white coat or dental scrubs. Children perceive that as a scary doctor and immediately become fearful. My goal is to keep them at ease.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Preminger loves architecture and interior design. Not only did he design his practice, he even renovated the vacant commercial space next door, turning it into a WeWork-style office space for lease.


Tool He Can’t Live Without:

The Nomad. It enables me to obtain superior-quality images with significantly less radiation than conventional wall-mounted units. It also doesn’t hurt that the Nomad looks like a cool laser gun.

– Dr. Joel Preminger


BUDENTALCENTER.COM/DR-KADAMBARI-RAWAL

KADAMBARI RAWAL

Age: 33
City: Boston
Specialty: Geriatric dental medicine and dental public health
Names of Practices: Boston University Dental Health Center; Hebrew Senior Life (Roslindale and Dedham, Massachusetts)
Education: BDS, India; CAGS and MSD, Boston University
Why She Was Nominated: In 2016, the woman universally known as “Dr. Kady” won the “Woman to Watch” Lucy Hobbs Project Award. For nearly a decade, this clinical assistant professor has provided full-mouth rehabilitation and esthetic dentistry at Boston University’s Dental Health Center. At Hebrew Senior Life’s long-term-care facilities, she treats centenarians and older adults every week. Currently, she’s advocating for geriatrics to be added to official dental school curricula in her native India, which has more than 100 million senior citizens.
Why She Became a Dentist: “My mom, a family physician, inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. My dad, an engineer, always saw an engineer and artist in me. Dental medicine is a true amalgamation of art and science.”
Inspiration: “The women in my family. My paternal grandmother turns 95 this year and continues to inspire me with her wit, strength and determination.”
Biggest Challenge: Treating a progressively older population living with multiple co-morbidities. “We have treated a few centenarians in our offices, and the number grows every year, as does the number of centenarians with natural teeth living with multiple medical conditions and medications. Risk of dental disease is high in this population, and patient management is key.”


@STYLE.YOUR.SMILE

SAMANTHA RAWDIN

Age: 31
City: New York
Specialty: Prosthodontics
Name of Practice: Gallery 57 Dental
Education: DMD, Midwestern University, Glendale, Arizona; certificate in prosthodontics from Montefiore Medical Center, the Bronx, New York; fellowship in implantology from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, New York
Why She Was Nominated: Sometimes great things come in pairs, and Dr. Rawdin—half of one of Gallery 57 Dental’s two pairs of dad-daughter dental duos—is a prime example. With her prosthodontist father, Dr. Robert Rawdin, and general-dentist colleague Dr. Rebecca Koenigsberg (see page 32) and her father, Dr. Andrew Koenigsberg, Dr. Rawdin sees patients in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.
Why She Became a Dentist: “My father suggested I spend some time with him and his colleagues to get a better feel for life in private practice. I truly fell in love with dentistry, and prosthodontics in particular.”
Most Memorable Patient: “She came from a program for domestically abused women. I reached out to see if there was a patient who was in need of pro bono work to help her reenter the workforce. I was lucky to have met this patient, who has transformed from a shy, timid woman into someone with self-confidence who is proud of her smile.”
Exciting New Trend: 3D printing. “We just got a printer in our office, and it has opened the door on the treatments and services we can provide.”
Sage Advice: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. “You’re not expected to know everything right away—but that doesn’t let you off the hook when you’re unsure of an answer or don’t know what to do.”


 

FACEBOOK.COM/TROYBRACES

TUHINA SEN ROY

Age: 39
City: Little Falls, New Jersey
Specialty: Orthodontics
Name of Practice: Troy Orthodontics
Education: DDS, University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine; orthodontics certificate, Vanderbilt University
Why She Was Nominated: By May 2016, Dr. Roy’s two-year-old upstart ortho business was booming. Then came June, and a random attack of Guillain-Barre syndrome left her quadriplegic. With the support of her family—who cared for both her and her daughter, Rayna, now 5—during the first year of her disability, she returned to the office less than five months after losing the proper function of her hands and limbs. “I had to rebuild and start over in my practice, and at the same time relearn to walk and feed myself,” she recalls. She trained younger colleagues in her clinical techniques and took up administrative duties.
Why She Became a Dentist: “I liked the idea of a long-term presence in one community [rather than] having to move around the country for my career.”
Philosophy: Offer solid orthodontic care in a pleasant and respectful environment. “Both of my children and I spent a lot of time consuming medical care over the last six years, so I’ve seen firsthand how important it is to treat every patient with dignity.”
Most Memorable Patient: “In orthodontics, we get to know our patients over several years. It’s always memorable when a fearful child comes in and then grows to trust you over the years and allows you to work on their smile.”
Sage Advice: “Learn to keep people happy, and don’t take patient problems home with you.”
Something People Don’t Know: Like Dr. Troy Eans (see page 43), Dr. Roy has never seen Star Wars. “But I did enjoy watching The Big Bang Theory from start to finish.”


@ENDOAUSTIN

YULIYA SALMERON

Age: 35
City: Austin, Texas
Specialty: Endodontics
Name of Practice: Edge Endodontics
Education: DMD, Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine; endodontic specialty, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Long Beach, California
Why She Was Nominated: Arriving in the U.S. from post-Soviet Russia with a limited understanding of English, Dr. Salmeron went from waiting tables at the local diner to graduating at the top of her dental-school class. In 2018, she opened her first private practice, in Austin. “I didn’t know a single dentist and didn’t have any background in business,” she recalls.
Why She Became a Dentist: “As a child I had fillings done without anesthesia, and I had my first root canal at 9 or 10 years old—talk about nerve pain! I feared dental offices to death. One day
I had to have dental work done here in the U.S. and was amazed that I felt no pain. That made it for me.”
Biggest Challenge: Being different, being relentless. “Because of my ambition, perseverance and hustle, I had a lot of opposition, especially in my last two years of dental school and residency. I used to be bothered by it; now it motivates me to strive for more.”
Most Memorable Patient: A veteran with seven or eight root canals, Type 2 diabetes and poor blood-sugar control. “I almost gave up. I didn’t know if I could heal his teeth or not.” It took a dozen visits over six months before the bone healed around the roots. “Don’t give up,” she says she learned from the experience. “When you feel like this is it, keep going—patience and hard work will win over anything.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Salmeron left Russia at 19 years old with just $500 to her name. “All I had is faith in God and a strong belief that I was born with a big purpose in life.”


FACEBOOK.COM/BERKSPROS

ANDREA SMITH

Age: 39
City: Reading, Pennsylvania
Specialty: Maxillofacial prosthodontics
Name of Practice: Berks Prosthodontics
Education: DDS, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Dr. Smith opened Berks Prosthodontics after serving for nearly a decade as clinical director and head of the Department of Prosthodontics and Maxillofacial Prosthetics at the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic. Founded in 1938, the LCPC was the world’s first clinic for patients with cleft palate and other orofacial anomalies. The state-of-the-art facility still treats some of its earliest patients, who first visited before World War II.
Why She Became a Dentist: Dr. Smith began her career at 14 when she was offered a dental-assistant job by her own dentist.
Biggest Challenge: “Getting sufficient insurance coverage for patients who require major oral reconstruction as a result of congenital anomalies or cancer.”
Tool She Can’t Live Without: “My Steaman Jr. steamer in the lab is a must. It cleans everything—crowns, dentures, temporaries—fast and easy.”
Most Memorable Patient: One with an aggressive form of cancer that first took half of his palate, then recurred. “Then after another recurrence,” Dr. Smith recalls, “the entire left side of his face had to be removed, including his eye and part of his skull. With each recurrence, I made him larger and larger prostheses to replace the missing structures. Through all this, he maintained a positive attitude and seemed mostly concerned with the whiteness of his remaining teeth. Even after cancer had taken away so much, he maintained the same personal pride he always had.”


@EPIONEDENTAL

SARAH STIPHO

Age: 35
City: Framingham, Massachusetts
Specialty: Periodontics
Name of Practice: Epione Dental Associates
Education: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Why She Was Nominated: Deemed a Top Dentist by Boston magazine two years in a row, Dr. Stipho also received the Dr. Chad Anderson Family Award for innovative methodology
and research design while studying at Tufts. Now an assistant professor at her alma mater, she has presented her contributions to the field of periodontics at the American Academy of Periodontology, the International Association of Dental Research and the Yankee Dental Congress. Mission trips to Guatemala and the Dominican Republic complete the picture.
Biggest Challenge: “Trying to manage a busy schedule while staying on time—I do the best I can, but sometimes dentistry is not so black-and-white, and you have to adapt to surprises.”
Tools She Can’t Live Without: Her periodontal probe, scalpel and CBCT machine. “These are essential to my practice.”
Most Memorable Patient: A 92-year-old woman on whom she placed an anterior implant. “She was and is a very sharp and healthy lady and made me realize that having the right kind of restoration can deeply affect the quality of life—which is the basis of what makes one happy. Never make assumptions!”
Exciting New Trend: “Digital dentistry has evolved to the point where standard impressions will no longer be needed. Soon everything will be able to be scanned and 3D-printed.”
Something People Don’t Know: “Although my height does not favor me to play basketball, I’m a basketball fan and a Boston Celtics season-ticket holder.”


@YOUR.SMILE.SPECIALISTS

WALTER D. THAMES

Age: 39
City: Garden Ridge, Texas
Specialty: Prosthodontics
Name of Practice: Smile Specialists
Education: DDS, University of Texas Dental School at Houston
Why He Was Nominated: Establishing a dental-prosthetics laboratory, a specialty practice and a dental-assistant school
in just 19 months was just another tough mission accomplished for this Navy lieutenant commander. Through his 11 years in the U.S. Navy’s Dental Corps, Dr. Thames supported Marines and sailors stationed overseas.
Why He Became a Dentist: “In college, I volunteered for a dentist, plastic surgeon and oral surgeon, and fell in love with dentistry.”
Inspiration: His older brother, Dr. Paul Thames, an ophthalmologist in Abilene, Texas. “He’s a respected clinician and devoted family man. I saw what he was able to accomplish and wanted
to strive for the same type of success.”
Biggest Challenge: The transition to civilian life. “In the Navy everything is so structured professionally that you were able to just provide dental services without consideration of cost.”
Philosophy: The ideal dental relationship is lifelong. “I want patients to feel so confident and comfortable in my office that they will make me their ‘forever dentist.’ ”
Most Memorable Patient: “In dental school I had a patient who was psychologically challenged. She told me every appointment that her husband was an imposter and an alien. This experience helped me learn that mentally unwell patients need to be treated by those specifically trained to treat them.”
Something People Don’t Know: Dr. Thames, a trained sculptor, won the Texas state sculpture championship in high school.


@AVPERIO

ALEXANDER VOLCHONOK

Age: 31
Cities: New York and Greenwich, Connecticut
Specialty: Periodontics
Name of Practices: AVPeriodontics
Education: DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
Why He Was Nominated: Dr. Volchonok built two private practices from the ground up, specializing in laser periodontal therapy, advanced cosmetic implants and minimally invasive periodontal plastic surgery. He also developed a surgical technique for patients with compromised bone in the esthetic zone. In his spare time, he directs the NYC Interdisciplinary Study Club and lectures at CE programs across the country.
Why He Became a Dentist: “I discovered dentistry after a family friend who was a periodontist took me under his wing. After spending time with him I was hooked and knew I wanted to be a periodontist.”
Most Memorable Patient: “One of the most selfless and caring people I’ve ever met. He lost his teeth in his early years and had been struggling with dentures much of his life. I had the pleasure of giving him a new, beautiful, confident smile through implants. This man happens to be my grandfather.”
Exciting New Trend: “There will be marketplace polarization: Individual offices will be caught up in a large rollup and corporatization. At the other end of the spectrum will be doctors who differentiate themselves and create unique value. That’s where I want to be.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I’ve been known to do random happy dances from time to time.”


@STEPHANIEZELLERDDS

STEPHANIE ZELLER

Age: 35
City: Seattle
Specialty: Prosthodontics
Name of Practice: Jayne & Kois Dentistry
Education: DDS, University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Dentistry; MS, Baylor University
Why She Was Nominated: Writer, podcaster, entrepreneur, educator, prosthodontist—these past few years have been a wild ride for Dr. Zeller. Through speaking, social media and her podcast, Dental Outliers, she’s been able to connect with thousands of people worldwide. More recently, she founded the XX Dental Collective, a group of female clinicians working to empower, support and promote one another.
Why She Became a Dentist: “I’ve always loved puzzles and problems, which is why I pursued prosthodontics—to explore the most complex puzzles in dentistry.”
Inspiration: “Honestly, I feel I can be inspired by anyone. Those I feel most drawn to are the courageous, the risk-takers, the artists and the perpetual learners.”
Biggest Challenge: Learning to believe in herself. “But this, I’ve discovered, is human. When I started lecturing, particularly on bigger stages, I would sometimes be the only female on the program. This can feel isolating, even intimidating. Yet I’m so grateful for all the opportunities, for all the male mentors who have taught me so much and for all the amazing women who have come up to me and told me how much it means to them to see a woman on the stage.”
Most Memorable Patient: “Those who have challenged me. These are often the more demanding patients, and they tend to be a challenge both clinically and emotionally. I’ve learned to stay curious with these patients, to ask a lot of questions and to believe that with their help we can find a treatment plan that best suits their needs.”
Exciting New Trend: “The Millennial mindset in conjunction with technology is a disruptive force, and not just in dentistry.”
Something People Don’t Know: “I have two tattoos and plan to get many more.”