In The Club

MEMBERSHIP HAS ITS privileges — and for the sixth year running, Incisal Edge has gone coast to coast to track down 40 of the finest dental practitioners age 40 and under, and induct them into this august professional group. That’s 240 young doctors in all since we inaugurated these honors in 2011.

We invited them to Manhattan, where our stylists and photographers treated them like the dental royalty they are — tricking them out in the latest couture and giving them the full VIP treatment.

Then we simply… let them be themselves. They mingled, joked, shared success stories and got ready for their well-deserved close-ups. Dressed to the nines and raising a toast to one another, these latest additions to our burgeoning roster of sterling young doctors have made it past the velvet rope with ease and into an even more exclusive group: the practitioners who are, through the sheer force of their commitment and expertise, helping our profession ascend to even greater heights in the years ahead. Congratulations to all — and welcome to the club.


Eric Appelsies

AGE: 30 | CITY: Newport Beach, California
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Newport Beach Dentistry
EDUCATION: DDS, Indiana University School of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Applesies and his wife, Dr. Alexandra Kantor, moved to Orange County, California, to be close to Camp Pendleton, where he provides dental care to U.S. Marines. After buying a failing practice a year ago, the two have turned it around with energy, gumption and creature comforts for their patients.

TOOL HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: The V3 ring system by Ultradent. “I’ve always had a difficult time getting a good contact when using the traditional Tofflemire bands. Since switching over to the V3 system, I’ve been able to create a contact with ease and achieve a better restoration.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: “In addition to working in private practice, my full-time commitment is to the U.S. Navy,” says Dr. Appelsies, a Naval Dental Corps lieutenant. “Our main objective is to make sure the Marines are healthy enough, from a dental standpoint, to deploy at a moment’s notice.”


Christopher Armento

AGE: 37 | CITY: Middletown, New Jersey
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
EDUCATION: DMD, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: In addition to running Red Barn Dental with his wife, Dr. Lisa Indelicato — the practice is in fact in a converted 110-year-old red barn — Dr. Armento is assistant director of the dental residency program at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and volunteers with the charity program Give Kids a Smile.

PHILOSOPHY: “I’m trying to put myself out of business,” he says wryly. His main goal is prevention, through which he aims to teach patients good oral health habits and how to take care of their teeth and existing restorations so they can preserve their smile and avoid unnecessary dental treatment.

TOOLS HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: His apex locator — and, he adds, “my partner, my wife.” The two have worked together since dental school; they collaborate constantly. “I love how she inspires our younger patients to care for their mouth,” Dr. Armento says.

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: Long a guitar aficionado, “I wanted to be a rock star,” Dr. Armento says. He keeps a six-string and amplifier in his reception area and invites patients to play. “I have some very talented patients,” he adds. “The acoustics are great inside the barn.”


Nick Augenbaum

AGE: 34
CITY: Rocky Point, New York
SPECIALTY: General dentistry

NAME OF PRACTICE: Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry EDUCATION: DDS, Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine; residency, New York Hospital of Queens; two-year implant surgery and prosthetic fellowship, Brookdale University Hospital

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Augenbaum is a general dentist with extensive training in implantology, oral surgery and restorative dentistry. With his extensive training, keen attention to detail and ability to work with his patients and dental team, Dr. Augenbaum offers exemplary care. He bought his practice in 2013 and has since earned a sterling reputation as a reliable clinical expert who employs state-of-the-art technology.

INSPIRATION: Dr. Allan Schulman. He was the chair of dental materials at New York University — and he’s also Dr. Augenbaum’s uncle. “His love for dentistry and the relationships he had with his colleagues and everyone he came into contact with left a lasting impression on me.”

PHILOSOPHY: “We use the highest-quality materials, cutting-edge technology and the most advanced skills, and we invest our time in continuing education and growth so we can always offer the best.”

TOOL HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Cone Beam CT. “I can produce a 3D image in less than one minute, allowing me to accurately diagnose disease and decay, plan dental implant and implant-related surgery, and perform the surgery with no surprises.”

SAGE ADVICE: “Never stop growing. Invest your time and profits in technology, education and professional development. Staying abreast of where dentistry is moving and creating happy patients will enable you to always love dentistry.”


Taurance Bishop

AGE: 40 | CITY: Newark, Delaware
SPECIALTY: General dentistry NAME OF PRACTICE: Smile Brite Dental Care EDUCATION: DDS, Howard University College of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: His lifelong passion for the profession. Few 6-year-olds, after all, like going to the dentist, and even fewer are sure they want to be one when they grow up. Dr. Bishop was — and the probable reason, he says, was all the bright, shiny doodads. “I loved the tools the dentist was using,” he recalls. He volunteers extensively, sponsoring needy families at Thanksgiving and Christmas and offering free services to patients without insurance — $40,000 in the last two years alone. He’s also a board member of Mom’s House (, which provides support for single parents.

PHILOSOPHY: “Replace what has been lost and restore what remains in a minimally invasive manner.”

TOOL HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: “My intraoral camera. It enables me to communicate and discuss treatments more easily.”

MOST MEMORABLE PATIENT: “Santa.” Or, at any rate, a man who looked exactly like him, and who made appearances at local nursing homes and daycare centers. Under the drill, however, Santa had a highly unusual request: no anesthesia. Says Dr. Bishop: “I would sweat bullets every time I worked on him.”


Ryan Boylan

AGE: 34 | CITY: Chesapeake, Virginia
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Ryan Boylan Comprehensive Dentistry
EDUCATION: DDS, University of Southern California School of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Boylan owns and runs three practices in the Norfolk, Virginia, area and recently opened a dental lab that manages work for his clinics and others. He’s passionate about continuing education and state-ofthe-art technology; the latest addition to his lab is an Amann Girrbach Ceramill Motion 2, the latest in wet and dry milling.

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “The part where you put it all together: the time you spent during education, continuing education, researching on your own, asking mentors, crafting the tooth and restoring perfectly.”

PHILOSOPHY: “I’m here to help people in my community solve their problems with their teeth, gums and mouth. Continually work to make sure you’re doing this better and better.”

EXCITING NEW TREND: Digital dentistry, which enables dentists to improve “the range, quality and price point of services offered.”

TOOL HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Digital impressions.

SAGE ADVICE: “Make your job fun. Work with people you enjoy, and have fun with your coworkers and patients.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: Dr. Boylan is a fan of any sport that involves a board. He used to wakeboard and skateboard, but now he spends more time on lower-impact pursuits: surfing, snowboarding and paddleboarding.


Daniel Coleman

AGE: 31 | CITY: Providence, Rhode Island
SPECIALTY: Periodontics
NAME OF PRACTICE: Rhode Island Periodontics
EDUCATION: DMD, MS, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: An instructor at Harvard School of Dental Medicine and author of a textbook on periodontal disease, Dr. Coleman brings superior expertise to students and patients alike.

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: Dr. Coleman feels most comfortable in the role of educator with his patients, his students and anyone who studies his textbook, Non-Surgical Control of Periodontal Diseases. “The word doctor has its origin from the Latin word docere, which means ‘to teach,’ ” he says. “Teaching patients how to maintain their dental health or instructing them about periodontal issues is the most important, rewarding part of my day.” TOOL HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: CBCT scanner for implant treatment planning. “With 3D anatomic information, we’re able to safely and effectively plan ideal treatment for our patients.”

MOST MEMORABLE PATIENT: In dental school, Dr. Coleman treated a woman who asked him to save a tooth that others said needed to be extracted. “She had a terminal disease, and it was important to her to keep her tooth for the remainder of her life,” he recalls. “We kept the tooth. After she passed away, out of the blue I received a letter from her family telling me she had named me in her will, and she included a note thanking me for all I did for her. I will always remember her and that gesture to remind me of the impact we can have on our patients’ lives.”


Fouy Chau

AGE: 33 | CITY: Encino, California
SPECIALTY: Orthodontics
NAME OF PRACTICE: Encino Orthodontics

EDUCATION: DDS, University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: The son of refugees, Dr. Chau is dedicated to giving back. He has two clinics, Encino Orthodontics and Bizoumis & Chau Dental Group. He volunteers with Smiles Change Lives to provide free orthodontic services to needy families; he’s also a provider for Denti-Cal, California’s dental Medicaid program. Last year, he co-opened Elite Care Treatment Center, a facility for people recovering from substance abuse and addiction.

INSPIRATION: Dr. Chau had crooked teeth from toddlerhood, but he didn’t get braces until he was 17, when a local philanthropic group called Assistance League of Long Beach stepped in to help his family pay for them. “When I got my braces off in college, it changed my life and my self-confidence,” he remembers — and at that moment he shifted his medical studies in the direction of dentistry.

PHILOSOPHY: Dr. Chau hopes to help all his patients similarly transform themselves: “The patient’s reaction when the braces come off reminds me of the life-changing smile I received years ago. It doesn’t get old.”

SAGE ADVICE: “Never give up. What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”


The team, whether the office staff or the other doctors in the practice, is so important. Being able to pick each other up or put in a little extra effort is critical to the success of our practice.
– Dr. Katelyn Murray

Don’t be a tooth mechanic. Think about how oral health integrates into overall wellness, but focus on mastering the basics first and referring everything else out. Don’t be a jack of all trades
– Dr. Michael Verber


Stephanie Collins

AGE: 30 | CITY: Flagstaff, Arizona
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Stephanie Collins, DDS
EDUCATION: DDS, Indiana University School of Dentistry

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: One of the youngest female dentists in Flagstaff, Dr. Collins is involved with her local Lucy Hobbs Project chapter and contributes to Missions of Mercy. She attends Loma Linda University and is pursuing a concentration in implant dentistry; in December, she will be defending her exam.

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “It’s so humbling. There’s so much to learn,” Dr. Collins says. “I never see two patients who are the same, and it’s challenging to see if there’s something better I could do to provide the best care in the most minimally invasive way.”

PHILOSOPHY: “Your work deserves as much attention and focus as your passion. Climbing is my passion, and when I climb I’m focused on my breathing, my body position, the rock and its features. I move systematically so that my climbing is efficient, purposeful and predictable. In my practice I focus on developing a system and being efficient so that outcomes will be consistent and predictable.”

EXCITING NEW TREND: Creating digital impressions with her new 3M True Definition digital scanner, and using microscopes. “We’re working in such a small area, in a way doing microsurgery,” Dr. Collins says. “Magnification is so helpful not just for root canals but also prep design, to evaluate margins and cracked teeth.”


Heather Crockett-Miller

AGE: 37 | CITY: Middletown, Connecticut
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Community Health Center Inc.
EDUCATION: DDS, The Ohio State
University College of Dentistry; MPH,
Yale School of Public Health

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Crockett-Miller is chief dental officer at one of the largest community health centers in the country, serving patients at seven comprehensive facilities, school-based clinics, mobile dental units and senior citizens’ centers. She provides clinical supervision for dental residents and students, mentors young girls interested in careers in science and volunteers both locally and abroad.

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: Interactions with patients, as well as “the craftiness: being able to explore new dental materials and techniques. In college some of my favorite classes were ceramics and book making. I’m glad I found a career where I could combine a passion for helping people and a love of working with my hands.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: “I’m a former NFL cheerleader. Once in a while a patient will discuss their favorite team and then be shocked that I know so much about football.”

MOST MEMORABLE PATIENT: “A special-needs patient who always asks me if she’s being a good patient. I always tell her she’s my best patient of the day. She thanks me and gives me a hug at the end of every appointment. She has no idea that whenever I see her name on the schedule, it just puts a smile on my face.”


Niki Fallah

AGE: 35 | CITY: Millbrae, California
SPECIALTY: Pediatric dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Mills-Peninsula Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics
EDUCATION: DDS, University of Southern California School of Dentistry;
pediatric residency training, University of California, San Francisco

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Fallah pours her heart into every patient at her Bay Area practice. She’s also a clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of the Pacific Dental Schools.

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “The best part of my job is not just helping children and promoting healthy lives, but being able to form and shape their views toward oral health,” Dr. Fallah says. “My young patients are still able to change bad habits into healthy ones.”

PHILOSOPHY: “My training and background focus on a conservative approach. I try to promote prevention first and foremost. My goal is to provide an emotionally and physically safe environment for my patients and their families; I designed my practice in the hope that it would be a pleasant environment.”

MOST MEMORABLE PATIENT: Dr. Fallah’s final surgery case during her residency was an 18-month-old leukemia patient who needed several cavities filled before he could receive a bone-marrow transplant. “I remember looking at this baby in the pre-op and thinking how small and weak he looked,” she says. Talking with Dr. Fallah after his successful treatment, the boy’s parents began to sob. “I knew at that moment I was in exactly the right profession,” she says. “I was meant to help children, both healthy and sick.”


Theodore Gialanella

AGE: 33 | CITY: Albany, New York
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Gialanella Family Dentistry
EDUCATION: DDS, New York University College of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Along with his brother, Dr. Gialanella has recently integrated two other practices into their own in upstate New York. He devotes a great deal of his practice to treating patients with TMJ pain; he’s also the youngest-ever president of the Third District Dental Society.

INSPIRATION: “My father was a psychiatrist and my mom is a nurse, so I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field; I just didn’t know what. Then my brother decided to go to dental school.” After shadowing him for a day at the NYU College of Dentistry clinic, Dr. Gialanella chose to pursue the profession himself.

SAGE ADVICE: “One misconception I had when I started practicing was that we would set up our systems for the way we want the practice to run, and then we could just coast. That is not the case. You constantly need to be evaluating things and looking for ways to improve; otherwise you’re falling behind.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: Dr. Gialanella, who played football in college, practices yoga and meditation. “Dentistry is physically demanding, and yoga and guided meditation help keep me loose and will ultimately increase my longevity in dental practice.”


Ashley Hoban

AGE: 33 | CITY: Las Vegas
SPECIALTY: Pediatric dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Summerlin Pediatric Dentistry
EDUCATION: DMD, University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: The independent owner of a fast-growing pediatric dental practice, Dr. Hoban is passionate about treating special-needs patients: “Special-needs and medically compromised kids are my heart and soul, definitely the most rewarding part of my job.”


SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: “My mom taught me to sew as a child, and I still love to do sewing projects.”

MOST MEMORABLE PATIENT: A young girl who had spent much of her life in foster care and suffered from extreme anxiety. She needed several cavities filled, but because of her condition, Dr. Hoban had to perform the surgery with the girl under general anesthesia. The patient gained two pounds over the next week simply because she could eat more comfortably. She had also taken to “proudly showing off her new ‘sparkly’ teeth,” Dr. Hoban recalls.


Carlos J. Huerta

AGE: 39 | CITY: New York
SPECIALTY: General and cosmetic dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: The Dental Boutique
EDUCATION: DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Huerta’s approach is to manage patients’ comfort before treating them. He does so in a luxurious Manhattan practice in which patients are invited to enjoy refreshments at an iPad bar before moving on to an operatory where they can choose their own music. He also gives out highend lotions and lip balms.

INSPIRATION: When Dr. Huerta, who grew up in Oklahoma, was in eighth grade, he was asked to research potential careers, and chose architecture and dentistry. “I realized that dentistry is much like architecture, but adding the human element and medicine to it,” he says. “I knew then that I wanted to become a dentist.”

TOOL HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: “My dog, Luna,” Dr. Huerta says of his diviel mix — who, he jokes, might do more for his business than his own dental expertise. “People have sought me out and referred my practice simply based on Luna,” he says. “I guess that makes us a team. Now I’ll have to cut her in for shares.”


Matthew Huff

AGE: 39 | CITIES: Kerrville, Fredericksburg and Austin, Texas
NAME OF PRACTICES: Precision Dentistry & Implants
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
EDUCATION: DDS, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Huff is a multifaceted clinician who performs nearly every procedure, including endodontics and orthodontics, in-house. He learned the value of versatility early in his career as the clinical director of an Indian Health Service clinic located on a Chippewa-Cree reservation in Montana. “If I didn’t know how to do it, they couldn’t get it,” he says — so he learned fast.

PHILOSOPHY: “It doesn’t matter if you come in on a Learjet or a bicycle; you’re going to be treated the same. We’ll give you the best science has to offer.” TOOL HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: “My CT scan is vital to my practice. I place a lot of implants and do a lot of full-arch rehab. Getting all those measurements is really important. My CT scan went down a couple months ago, and I didn’t have one for a month. I had no idea how often I use it.”

MOST MEMORABLE PATIENT: A woman born in the late 1920s who grew up unaware that her German town was the site of one of Hitler’s concentration camps. “She said she remembered being scared and nervous. Her parents would listen to the BBC, which was illegal. One day her sister had to write a report for school, and she used news she heard on the BBC.” When the teacher confronted her sister, their mother pointed out the teacher would recognize information from the BBC only if she was listening to it as well. “I was so late for my other patients that day,” Dr. Huff marvels. “I just wanted to hear her stories.”


Lisa Indelicato

AGE: 33 | CITY: Middletown, New Jersey
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
EDUCATION: DMD, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Focused on providing comprehensive, family-oriented dentistry, Dr. Indelicato runs Red Barn Dental with her husband, Dr. Christopher Armento (see page 44) out of a 110-year-old converted barn. “It’s quaint and cozy, and really makes our patients feel at home,” she says.

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “I love helping patients overcome their anxiety,” says the Staten Island native. “My favorite moments are when I’m mid-procedure — whether it’s a simple filling or a difficult root canal — and I have my patient and assistant laughing. Who said dentistry can’t be fun?”

PHILOSOPHY: “We always tell our patients we want only what is best for them. We treat them no differently than we’d treat one another or anyone in our immediate family.”

TOOL SHE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: A patient mirror. “I like to let my patients hold it in their lap while I’m working,” Dr. Indelicato says. “Most find it fascinating to be able to see the dentist working in their mouth. I also find it makes them feel more in control and therefore more comfortable.”

SAGE ADVICE: “Treat all patients like family and make your office or workplace feel like home — this way you’ll love going to work, even when you have to stay late or go in on days off to treat emergencies. Patients are at ease knowing you enjoy what you do and are there to help them.”


Andrew Jordan

AGE: 35 | CITY: West Chester, Ohio
SPECIALTY: General and cosmetic dentistry
EDUCATION: DDS, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: For the last three years, City Beat magazine named Vita Dental, run by Dr. Jordan and his partner, Dr. Aaron Shaftel, “the best dental practice in Cincinnati.” The duo also recently earned fellowships from the American Academy of General Dentistry, making them one of the few practices in the U.S. with two such designees.

INSPIRATION: Fascinated by dentistry from age 5, Dr. Jordan recalls a moment when he was in the room with his mother while she was being numbed for dental work. “In an attempt to hide the needle from me, the doctor blocked my view. I kept moving around him so I could see what he was doing.”

TOOL HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: CAMBRA. “I’ve always found it frustrating to see the same patients continue to struggle with the breakdown of their teeth. CAMBRA gives us the ability to finally help patients who consistently fight caries see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

MOST MEMORABLE PATIENT: “One of my patients holds more than 20 oral-care patents, including several relating to the addition of stannous fluoride to toothpaste.”


Alexandra Kantor

AGE: 33 | CITY: Newport Beach, California
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Newport Beach Dentistry
EDUCATION: DDS, Indiana University School of Dentistry

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Kantor runs the year-old Newport Beach Dentistry with her husband, Dr. Eric Appelsies. When she isn’t working, she’s likely listening to podcasts about the latest implant techniques or reading the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry. She and her husband “live, eat
and breathe dentistry,” Dr. Kantor says.

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “I love being able to transform a smile. A patient once came to me embarrassed with
the way his smile had looked for the past 20 years. I was able to redesign it with ceramic crowns. I’ll always remember the
excitement in his eyes the moment we handed him the mirror.”

TOOL SHE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: The OptraSculpt by Ivoclar. “The pad on the end of it makes aesthetic composites so easy to place and shape.”

SAGE ADVICE: “Don’t limit yourself to learning only about dentistry. Read books and take CE classes geared toward running a business and becoming a great leader. Even though those aren’t specific to dentists, the fundamentals will still help you be a successful dentist and business owner.”


Jenna Khoury

AGE: 32 | CITY: Carlsbad, California
SPECIALTY: Pediatric dentistry
EDUCATION: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: After six years as an associate, Dr. Khoury launched her own state-of-the-art green pediatric practice. In her mercury-free office, Dr. Khoury employs a whole-body approach to treatment, and makes use of bioactive materials to treat dental disease.

PHILOSOPHY: “We evaluate the patient as a whole, including a child’s breathing patterns, sleep patterns and craniofacial and dental development. Children are not small adults; they have their own personalities and physical requirements.”

EXCITING NEW TREND: “I’m thrilled about the amount of research being done on sleep-disordered breathing and my functional habits in children. There have been a lot of advances emphasizing the importance of the tongue and other oral structures in a child’s craniofacial and airway development. It’s fascinating to be able to assist and intervene even at the newborn stage of life.”

MOST MEMORABLE PATIENT: “We treated a baby at 6 weeks for a tongue-tie release. The baby was diagnosed ‘failure to thrive’ and could not receive nutrition in any form — breast milk or formula. After the tongue tie was released, the child was able to nurse and bottle-feed without interruption. He was taken off all reflux medications, and after 12 days was in the thirtyfifth percentile for weight. To be able to help a mother feed her child was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.”

Never give up. What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals
-Dr. Fouy Chau

One misconception I had when I started practicing was that we would set up our systems for the way we want the practice to run, and then we could just coast. That is not the case
– Dr. Theodore Gialanella


Thien Le

AGE: 39 | CITY: Annandale, Virginia
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
PRACTICE NAME: Springdale Family Dentistry
EDUCATION: DDS, New York University College of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: A former computer programmer, Dr. Le applies considerable technology know-how at his northern Virginia practice to treat his patients more affordably.

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “I do a lot of braces and implants, and my favorite part of the job is seeing the final result.”

PHILOSOPHY: “I want to make dental care affordable for everyone,” Dr. Le says. “Technology brings efficiency. With efficiency I can lower overhead, and with lower overhead, I can bring affordability to the patient.”

TOOL HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: 3D Cone Beam. “Cone Beam allows me to see patients’ oral structure in three dimensions, which helps me place the implant more accurately and reduce human error.”

MOST MEMORABLE PATIENT: “One who wrote me a thank-you note and tipped me $100 after I restored her teeth.” The patient had suffered dry mouth for years and needed three root canals and a dozen crowns. Dr. Le shared the note (“I can’t thank you enough for bringing back my smile”) on his Facebook wall.


Karl Maloney

AGE: 36 | CITY: Branchburg, New Jersey
SPECIALTY: Oral surgery
NAME OF PRACTICE: Branchburg Oral, Maxillofacial and Implant Surgery

EDUCATION: DDS, New York University College of Dentistry WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Maloney is on staff at two Level 1 trauma centers, and treats all types of facial fractures and soft-tissue injuries to the maxillofacial area. He was also the first to publish case studies on a new technique for treating alveolar fractures with wires when traditional splinting isn’t possible.

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: Collaborating with others on complex cases. “After working with orthodontists on dentofacial-deformity cases, I’ve learned more about dentofacial growth patterns and long-term orthodontic stability,” he says. “I learn the most from these types of cases, because I’m able to learn how to analyze things from a different perspective.”

PHILOSOPHY: “Always be honest with patients, even when that may not be what they want to hear. I understand people aren’t exactly thrilled about having oral surgery. It’s my goal to make every patient have the best experience possible by minimizing any confusion or anxiety.”

EXCITING NEW TREND: “3D technology to plan implant and jaw surgery and reconstruction cases. It enables us to start from where we want the final result to be and work our way backward from there.”


Pamela Maragliano-Muniz

AGE: 39 | CITY: Salem, Massachusetts
SPECIALTY: Prosthodontics
NAME OF PRACTICE: Salem Dental Arts
EDUCATION: DMD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: A former veterinarian’s assistant turned dental hygienist, Dr. Maragliano-Muniz has become an advocate for and lecturer on implementing cariesmanagement programs. She is also editorial director for’s Pearls for Your Practice.

INSPIRATION: “As a hygienist, I could spot a problem, but I had no idea how to fix it. I progressed from being excited to hear how the dentist would fix the problem to wanting to fix it myself.”

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “I love the variety. It’s a joy to fabricate restorations and be part of my patients’ transformations from start to finish. I never get bored of watching their quality of life improve. And I love teaching, lecturing and writing.”

PHILOSOPHY: “Although I’m a prosthodontist, I believe prevention of disease or its recurrence during and after treatment is so important.”

TOOL SHE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: “I would be lost without my Canon 80D camera,” Dr. Maragliano-Muniz says. “I’m always breaking it out to document cases, and I use it to communicate with my lab and educate my patients.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: Growing up, Dr. Maragliano-Muniz was the only female hockey player in her league. A gifted goalie, she even tried out for the 1998 Olympics, but narrowly missed the cut.


LAST YEAR, Incisal Edge named Adam Saltz, a student at Nova Southeastern in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a “Student to Watch” based on his pursuit of a master’s in public health and his charitable work for Give Kids a Smile. In June, Saltz, 24, showed up at the 40 Under 40 photo shoot in Manhattan, and later spoke with IE about life, career plans and more.

I graduated with my MPH degree this summer, just in time to prepare for the rigors of fourth year: applying to residency, graduating and becoming a licensed dentist.

I hope to pursue specialty training in periodontics and dental implantology. I’m drawn to the mechanics of surgery and the interdisciplinary approach periodontics demands. This field best blends my interests in oral health and medicine, as the links between periodontal and systemic diseases only strengthen.

After residency, I hope to practice in New England. As a Maine native, I’m not totally opposed to the cold winters, but I’ll miss the year-round beach weather here in South Florida. I hope to translate my role as the national editor in chief for the American Student Dental Association to other publications, like the Journal of Periodontology.

I was honored to meet accomplished dentists from across the country. I enjoyed comparing, and laughing over, our different experiences and seeing how they used their interests, drive and network to catapult themselves into a league of their own. The shoot itself was fun — you could feel the energy.

It’s inspiring to see young dentists excel that early in different leadership roles in academia, research and organized dentistry. More importantly, they were still able to balance work and family. Their ability to fulfill their goals so young surprised me most. I’m always concerned that I’ll lose out on opportunities as a resident, new dentist and Millennial, but I now see that I’m wrong. I hope to return to the 40 under 40 issue in the next decade, as a leader in periodontics and organized dentistry.


Micah G. Mortensen

AGE: 40 | CITY: Salt Lake City
SPECIALTY: Orthodontics
NAME OF PRACTICE: Redwood Orthodontics
EDUCATION: DDS, University of Washington School of Dentistry;
MSD, Saint Louis University

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Mortensen is drawn to both the clinical and
entrepreneurial sides of dentistry. Owner or co-owner of five practices across four
states in the western U.S., he has plans to open four more this year. He loves to
practice, and sees patients five days a week.

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “I love working with people. Teeth are
boring; people are fascinating. I’ll talk your ear off and hope you’ll do the same.”
PHILOSOPHY: “Keep it simple: Don’t oversell, don’t undersell. It’s just teeth,”
Dr. Mortensen says. If that sounds flippant, he maintains that his priority over the
two years, on average, that he treats a patient is to build a personal relationship,
and he will go to great lengths to make that happen. “Bend over backward,” he
says. “Stop by a patient’s home if needed, personally return phone calls, show
parents that you genuinely care about their children.”

SAGE ADVICE: “You’re not as smart as you think you are,” Dr. Mortensen says,
“but you’re not as dumb as you think you are, either.” Remembering both is crucial
to maintaining an even keel. Also, keep your student debt to a minimum: “Debt
can severely limit your practice possibilities after graduation.”


Katelyn Murray

AGE: 29 | CITY: Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Verber Dental Group
EDUCATION: DMD, Temple University School of Dentistry

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: A native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Dr. Murray
serves her hometown region with a unique combination of academic and athletic
prowess. Before dental school (in which she graduated at the top of her class),
she played Division I basketball at St. Bonaventure University — she was a
shooting guard — and was named an Academic All-American.

PHILOSOPHY: “Having been involved in sports my entire life, I know the
importance of a team, whether it’s the office staff or the other doctors in the
practice,” Dr. Murray says. “Being able to pick each other up or put in a little extra
effort here or there is critical to the success of our practice.”

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “Managing a patient is the hardest but
most rewarding aspect. Everyone is so different, and gaining trust from someone
you might have met just five minutes ago is a personal challenge.”
SAGE ADVICE: “Put your head down and do the work to get where you want to be.”


Ron Nguyen

AGE: 33 | CITY: Westminster, California
SPECIALTY: General dentistry

EDUCATION: DDS, University of Southern California School of Dentistry WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: The inventor of the Ultralight Optics Headlight, Dr. Nguyen believes that curiosity can lead to groundbreaking improvements in any practice. “Explore more than just clinical dentistry, and be innovative,” he tells young dentists. “You never know where even the smallest ideas can lead you.”

INSPIRATION: “When I was in dental school, I would run a miniature dental distribution business with my classmates as clients — trying to think of new techniques or fabricate prototype instruments to get the work done better and faster,” he says. “Eventually, I hit a roadblock when I was trying to see hard-toreach angles with my high-speed, and the solution was better lighting. I explored current lighting systems and asked, ‘Why can’t they make this better?’ That’s when the idea of Ultralight Optics was born.”

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “The business side is what gets me up in the morning. I became financially free at age 26, and now focus on venture capital in dentistry and other industries. Over the years, I’ve evolved from having to work to wanting to work. The business side gives dentistry diversity, and each day is vastly different from the next.”

TOOL HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: “My Ultralight Optics LED Headlight, of course — I’ve had times when my associates asked to cancel their entire morning when they forgot their batteries at home. Good thing I always have extra batteries.” SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: “I’m ambidextrous and can practice with both hands, though I haven’t picked up a high-speed in years.”

It’s best to be a leader rather than just a boss. I make sure I’m willing to do all the things I ask my employees to do.
— Dr. Christen Raynes

I love working with people. Teeth are boring; people are fascinating. I’ll talk your ear off and hope you’ll do the same
— Dr. Micah G. Mortensen

Charitable dentistry is good for your community, good for our profession, good for your heart and good for your practice.
— Dr. Jacob Young


Amy Planz

AGE: 40 | CITY: Hillsborough, New Jersey
SPECIALTY: Pediatric dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Hillsborough Pediatric Dentistry
EDUCATION: DDS, University of Maryland School of Dentistry

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Voted one of New Jersey Family magazine’s
Favorite Kids’ Docs four years in a row, Dr. Planz runs a prevention-focused
practice in which she entertains and educates patients in a children’s paradise.
FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “As a mom of two young children, I can
relate to how kids can feel and take that into account.”

PHILOSOPHY: Dr. Planz’s practice — a far cry from the strange-smelling
dentists’ offices of her youth that had just one years-old copy of Highlights
magazine lying around — has TVs above each operatory chair, plus prize drawers
and video games in the waiting room. “The whole experience is about the child,
and I can often mix in education as well to help prevent future dental problems.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: Before returning to school for pediatric
dentistry, Planz treated elderly patients as a general dentist in a VA hospital. “I’ve
seen patients who are days old right up to patients in their nineties,” she says.


Jaime Preble

AGE: 35 | CITY: Pine River, Minnesota
SPECIALTY: General dentistry

NAME OF PRACTICE: Pine River Dental Arts EDUCATION: DDS, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Preble started out as a full-time dental assistant, an experience that taught her two things: She loves the profession, and she knows how to run a dental office. Dr. Preble also recently realized a dream by taking over full ownership of her thriving Minnesota practice.

INSPIRATION: Dr. Preble enjoyed the four years she spent as a dental assistant in a large practice. One day, the doctor pulled her aside after work. “Thinking I was in trouble, I followed him back to the operatory,” Dr. Preble recalls. “He told me that he thought I should go back to school to become a dentist. He practically insisted. It has been the best decision I ever made.”

TOOL SHE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: CAD/CAM technology for digital impressions. “Not having to fill patients’ mouths with impression materials while praying it turns out has been amazing.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: Dr. Preble is an avid painter, but with two small children at home, she has less time for the pursuit these days. “When my kids are a little older, I intend to begin painting again and would love to display my art at my office.”


Ashton A. Prince

AGE: 36 | CITY: St. George, Utah
SPECIALTY: General dentistry

NAME OF PRACTICE: Bloomington Courtyard Dental EDUCATION: DMD, University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Prince is a third-generation dentist who brings global expertise to his community and peers in southern Utah. He helped put together a Seattle Study Club in his town, and for five years, it has gathered some 30 dentists for monthly clinical expertise and training seminars.

PHILOSOPHY: “Communication to increase patient education is the No. 1 concept I focus on,” says Dr. Prince, who heads the dental advisory board at his undergraduate alma mater, Dixie State University. “If someone is able to understand what’s happening to their teeth as much as I do, they’ll be much more likely to care for their teeth and make educated treatment decisions.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: “I’m terrified of heights.”

MOST MEMORABLE PATIENT: A man who suffered so badly from loose and infected teeth that he chewed his food with his lips. “He didn’t feel like he could smile or even kiss his wife,” Dr. Prince says. After extensive work, the patient was able to eat steak for the first time in years. More importantly, his relationship with his wife has since improved. “It was one of those true life changing moments for him, and I was honored to be able to help.”


Christen Raynes

AGE: 36 | CITY: Charleston, West Virginia
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Family & Cosmetic Dentistry and Simpson Dental Associates EDUCATION: DDS, West Virginia University School of Dentistry

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Raynes works alongside her father, Dr. Mark Simpson, at their West Virginia practice; most of their work involves implants. She learned the trade early and hosts seminars that explain implants’ uses and benefits to people who are interested in learning more about them.

PHILOSOPHY: “I’ve found it’s best to be a leader rather than a boss — to make sure I’m willing to do all the things I ask my employees to do,” Dr. Raynes says. “We cross-train our employees so anyone can answer a phone, clean a room or do initial charting.”

SAGE ADVICE: “Have patience and understand that it takes about 10 years to start to feel completely comfortable with treatment planning and diagnosing.” SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: “I competed in collegiate gymnastics for West Virginia University, and we made it to the NCAA national championship in 1999 and 2000.”

MOST MEMORABLE PATIENT: A local community activist well-known from TV ads and fundraisers. “He had a nice smile, but small teeth with spaces. I was able to do a combination of crowns and veneers to give him a great smile, and he was so grateful. He has become somewhat of a spokesperson for our office.”


Ryan Rother

AGE: 28 | CITY: Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Verber Dental Group

EDUCATION: DMD, Temple University School of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: A second-generation dentist, Dr. Rother is an instrumental resource in his community. In order to skillfully communicate with patients, he creates customized relationships based on several personality observations. He also designed the Verber Dental Plan, whose goal is simple: to provide patients who lack dental insurance with the ability to receive the highest-quality dentistry at reasonable fees.

PHILOSOPHY: “Systems. Communication. Consistency. Systems lead to predictability, improved communication, less stress, greater patient comfort and consistent success. The easiest way to implement a system is to create a checklist. Do that, and you’re already on your way to minimizing costly mistakes.”

TOOL HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Dr. Rother puts his photography hobby to work creating smile designs for better laboratory communication. His Nikon D7100 captures brilliant images that he then imports into the Dawson Wizard, which offers unparalleled communication with lab technicians and the desired results every time.

SAGE ADVICE: “Manage your debt. You’re already smart, so do yourself a favor and take a weekend to educate yourself on budgeting, retirement planning and investing. It’ll pay dividends.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: “I’m quite the weekend warrior with house projects. I’ve built decks, placed roofs and tampered in masonry and plumbing. My favorite projects involve fabricating accent furniture. However, I draw the line at electrical work — don’t ask why.”


Jean Resnevic

AGE: 35 | CITY: Greenville, Rhode Island
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Dr. Jean Resnevic Dental Care
EDUCATION: DMD, Temple University School of Dentistry

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: After graduating dental school summa cum laude, Dr. Resnevic spent several years practicing in Texas before returning home to Rhode Island to follow in the spirit of her parents and grandparents by opening her own practice.

INSPIRATION: “Funny enough, I actually had the epiphany to go to dental school while sipping a margarita during an art auction on a cruise ship,” says Dr. Resnevic, who studied fine arts during her undergrad years at George Washington University. “The answer was actually in front of me for a lifetime. I grew up going to my dad’s office and listening to stories about his dental career.”

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “The art of creating functional little ‘sculptures.’ It’s satisfying when restorations blend in seamlessly.”

TOOL SHE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: “My dental mirror. I’ve had an assistant joke with me that it’s my ‘security blanket’ — even when my hands are full, it’s the last thing I want to put down.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: “If I’m dressed like an astronaut on the weekend, it’s because I’m tending to my beehive,” says Dr. Resnevic, who is also an avid gardener. “I’m fascinated by how [bees] work together to keep their colony thriving.”


Aaron Shaftel

AGE: 36 | CITY: West Chester, Ohio
SPECIALTY: General and cosmetic dentistry
EDUCATION: DDS, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: It’s rare to hear a small-business success story that emerged from last decade’s financial crisis, but Dr. Shaftel and his partner, Dr. Andrew Jordan (see page 54), launched Vita Dental near Cincinnati in 2009 and have succeeded ever since. The practice has grown so much that the duo just broke ground on a new 9,000-square-foot facility.

PHILOSOPHY: “Each smile is connected to a person. Anxiety, systemic medical issues, financial limitations and aesthetic concerns all factor into how a patient wishes to proceed. A person’s mouth can be restored in numerous ways, but providing successful treatment requires the doctor to take into account other factors not related to teeth.”

EXCITING NEW TREND: “The use of Cone Beam CT in pathology recognition and treatment, implantology, orthodontics and endodontics.”

TOOL HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: High magnification, whether via loupes or an operative microscope. “Magnification changed the way I practice with every procedure, from oral surgery to endodontics to basic operative dentistry,” Dr. Shaftel says. “Dentistry is a mixture of precision and art, and to have predictable, successful outcomes in both, magnification is necessary.”


Jeff Shao

AGE: 29 | CITY: The Woodlands, Texas
SPECIALTY: Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
NAME OF PRACTICE: Showtime Orthodontic Arts
EDUCATION: DDS and MS, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: In just one year, Dr. Shao’s practice has built a solid following in north Houston thanks to his au courant combination of social media savvy, community volunteer work and clinical expertise.

INSPIRATION: The seventh dentist in his family, Dr. Shao says that crafting treatments came naturally to him. But a mentor at dental school, Dr. Clarence Bryk, truly inspired his interest in orthodontics.

TOOLS HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Cone Beam CT and the Nola Dry-Field System. “The CBCT allows me to see teeth in all dimensions and accurately diagnose the severity of impacted canines for more efficient and effective treatment. The Nola system allows perfect isolation to keep saliva away from the teeth. Good isolation equals good bonding — simple as that.”

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “Building not only beautiful smiles but long-lasting relationships. My patients are fascinating, and I love getting to know them as their treatment progresses. It’s an honor to provide care for such wonderful people and to help them attain great oral health and a beautiful smile while we become friends.”


Uyen Thompson

AGE: 36 | CITY: Chula Vista, California
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Thompson Center for Dentistry
EDUCATION: DDS, University of Southern California School of Dentistry

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: In addition to pursuing a rigorous continuing-education program, Dr. Thompson runs a large 11-operatory office on an acre of land, where she also grows fruits and vegetables. She works just five minutes from her home, enabling her to have lunch with her two small children almost every day.

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “Helping patients understand the connection between oral health and whole-body health.”

PHILOSOPHY: “I’m detailed-oriented and uncompromising. When I craft a wellness plan, I do so with a lifetime relationship in mind. My goal is to help my patients keep their natural teeth for as long as possible.”

EXCITING NEW TREND: “Increasing awareness about obstructive sleep apnea’s effects on adults and children.”

TOOL SHE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: “My family, dental team and support network. I surround myself with happy, honest, passionate people. When you have the right people around you, everything is possible.”


Hitesh Tolani

AGE: 34 | CITY: Boston
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
EDUCATION: DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Tolani, a true entrepreneur, is revolutionizing the traditional dental practice by pairing mobile dentistry and telemedicine to create an award-winning model that makes delivery of oral health care more convenient and patient-centric. Virtudent, run by Dr. Tolani and a small team of oral-health specialists, sets up pop-up clinics in schools, workplaces and geriatric centers to provide basic phase-one preventative care, while remote dentists make diagnoses through telemedicine.

INSPIRATION: “My undergraduate training was in computer science, but one night I found myself debugging and talking to my screen. I knew at that moment I couldn’t program for the rest of my life,” Dr. Tolani says. “I was too much of a people person.” A childhood family friend was a dentist, and Dr. Tolani was attracted to the public-service aspect of the profession. “So I debugged my last code and decided to become a dentist.”

SAGE ADVICE: “Think bigger. As dentists, our degrees are powerful; you can leverage them across industries to enhance our profession and your own career.”

MOST MEMORABLE PATIENT: “On a mission trip in Honduras I was speaking to a man about dietary habits to improve oral health. He told me he didn’t have the luxury to choose what he eats. That was a paradigm shift in my practice methods. I stopped telling patients what to do and started working with them to decide what makes sense in their lifestyle to achieve better oral health.”


Ambrose To

AGE: 39 | CITY: Damascus, Maryland
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Damascus Dental Group
EDUCATION: DDS, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. To has three general dentists, a perioprosthodontist, an oral surgeon and an orthodontist all under one roof. Offering patients comprehensive dental care as much as possible is an important goal, he says, and having specialists in-house helps immeasurably.

TOOL HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: “My dental loupes with LED lights. They give me direct vision on complex procedures that often involve a number of intricate parts, such as implant screws and abutments.”

SAGE ADVICE: “You need to show patients that you care about them. Many practices have evolved from mom-and-pop sole practitioners to commercialized chains. We now often see TV commercials for same-day dentures in clinics and teeth-whitening kiosks in the mall. These changes remind me to put the individual first, before a treatment plan. With the explosion of social media, we readily receive reviews and feedback. Word of mouth is easier than ever.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: “I love to roll homemade sushi for my family and friends. My wife often jokes that my sushi-making was one of the reasons she loved me when we first met.”


Michael Verber

AGE: 40 | CITY: Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
SPECIALTY: Cosmetic dentistry, occlusion and implantology
NAME OF PRACTICE: Verber Dental Group
EDUCATION: DMD, Temple University School of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Verber’s style is the quintessential pairing of modern and traditional dentistry: He’s a hometown boy who built his father’s office into a thriving group practice, and also an award-winning scholar of comprehensive dentistry and an implantology opinion leader. An active teacher and mentor, Dr. Verber is at home in either camp. “Good dentistry,” he says, “is dentistry that lasts.”

SAGE ADVICE: “Don’t be a tooth mechanic. Think about how teeth fit into a larger masticatory system and how oral health integrates into overall wellness. First focus on the basics, then do what you’ve mastered. Refer everything else out. Don’t be a jack of all trades.”

TOOL HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: “There’s so much temptation to [cite] one of the many sexy new technologies that have changed the way we practice, but I’m going to go old-school here,” Dr. Verber says, confessing his love for the semiadjustable articulator. “I didn’t use one much at the beginning of my career. After I started respecting occlusion, I realized a dramatic improvement in my work.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: Dr. Verber is the king of costumes. In dental school, he threw an annual Halloween party that nearly halted all work as he and hundreds of classmates worked on their costumes. Now, when he visits an elementary school to promote oral health, he dresses up as “Ted the Tooth Fairy” and performs a skit about going to a Tooth Fairy Convention. “The kids go bonkers when they see a 6-foot-6-inch guy dressed up as a Tooth Fairy dragging in their teacher dressed as a tooth.”


Whitney Wauligman

AGE: 29 | CITY: Cincinnati, Ohio
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Wauligman Dentistry
EDUCATION: DDS, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry

WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Since Dr. Wauligman graduated from dental school, she has led the complete reconstruction of her father’s dental clinic. She updated it to the highest environmental standards, including geothermal heating and cooling and extensive byproduct-filtration systems. An avid proponent of volunteering, Dr. Wauligman donates services to several nonprofit groups that help needy families, veterans and school-based clinics.

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “It requires artistic skills to create solutions. No two cases are exactly the same, and thinking outside the box is often beneficial. You can be really proud of your work because you put a lot into it.”

TOOL SHE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: The overhead light. “It might sound ridiculously basic, but you miss having a good light when you do volunteer screenings and only basic room lights are available.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: “I brush my dogs’ teeth every night,” says Dr. Wauligman, who has three rescue pooches at home. “They line up when they see me brushing my own teeth. They know it’s time to get theirs cleaned.”


Giles Willis Jr.

AGE: 39 | CITY: Cary, North Carolina
SPECIALTY: General dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Willis Family Dentistry
EDUCATION: DDS, Howard University College of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Growing up in small, rural Lewisville, Arkansas, inspired Dr. Willis to pursue a career in which he could give back. He has treated Hurricane Katrina victims in Louisiana; families living in remote jungle areas of Honduras; and homeless people and those recently out of drug rehab in his North Carolina town.

INSPIRATION: Once, when he was 8 years old, Dr. Willis had a bad toothache. “My mom and dad couldn’t afford the dentist, and there was only one in the county. I put Orajel on the tooth one night and tried to pull it myself.” He eventually had it removed, and the experience made him want to help others in communities like his.

PHILOSOPHY: “A beautiful smile is never out of style. I also pride myself on operating on time and not making patients wait in the waiting room.”

TOOLS HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: “My Schick intra oral camera and my Nomad.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: “I secretly wanted to be a B-list actor. I also have a yearning to learn guitar so I can play all my favorite riffs.”


AGE: 39 | CITY: Schaumburg, Illinois
SPECIALTY: Endodontics
NAME OF PRACTICE: Renovo Endodontic Studio
EDUCATION: DDS, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Having opened four endodontic specialty
practices in five years, Dr. Wong (and his five endodontists) incorporate cuttingedge
dentistry into each office: 3D technology, microscope dentistry and
customized reports that all patients and referring doctors receive at the end of
each appointment.

PHILOSOPHY: “We’re always available for emergency treatment, we have
multiple locations and we’re open longer because we have multiple doctors.”

EXCITING NEW TREND: Revascularization and regeneration of teeth that
failed to develop fully. “Using current knowledge of endodontic techniques
combined with biological processes — available semi-differentiated stem cells
at the periapex — we’re able to allow the tooth to continue development, more or
less,” Dr. Wong says. “I call it the Frankenstein technique.”

SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW: “I have almost half a body’s worth of
tattoos,” says Dr. Wong, who often discusses his ink (hidden from view by his
professional attire) with tatted patients. “They’re often extremely surprised and
think it’s cool when they see some of them.”


Jacob Young

AGE: 38 | CITY: Belton, Missouri
SPECIALTY: General and cosmetic dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Young Cosmetic and Family Dentistry
EDUCATION: DDS, University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Dentistry

WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Young has given away more than $100,000 worth of full-mouth restorations to six lucky patients as part of Smile Makeover Giveaway, a program he runs annually. “Charitable dentistry is good for your community, good for our profession, good for your heart and good for your practice,” he says.

FAVORITE ASPECT OF DENTISTRY: “I do a lot of cosmetic dentistry and repair a lot of broken smiles that have been holding people back. Knowing that we’ve opened up new possibilities for them in happiness, self-esteem, job and love prospects is the greatest part of my job.”

EXCITING NEW TREND: Advances in digital impressions. “I love the fit, feel and look of a milled dental restoration from the lab. If [labs] are scanning models from traditional impressions, we should instead be scanning the preparations directly in the mouth. It will only increase accuracy.”

SAGE ADVICE: “Take time to do charitable dentistry. Your community will recognize your heart and trust you with their oral health.” In addition to Smile Makeover Giveaway, which Dr. Young runs with his colleague Paul Simpson, he also volunteers with Share a Smile With a Vet and Missouri Mission of Mercy.