Dr. Morgan Fryer and her older sibling, Dr. Kendra Zappia, run a successful
practice in Albany, New York. Here, Dr. Fryer discusses mentoring students, why working moms rock and a certain long-suffering (but ascendant) NFL team.

I STARTED behind the scenes at Kendra’s office when I was in college. I was studying biology at Siena College at the time, and those early days in her office helped me decide to pursue dentistry as a career. We laugh because if you look at either of our “About the Author” pages in our kindergarten books that we’d make in school, we both said that we wanted to be dentists.

Sibling revelry: At work on a longtime patient; (above, from left) Drs. Kendra Zappia and Morgan Fryer

We try to create a memorable patient experience. Our waiting room has more of a “boutique” look, which carries throughout our office with warm tones, fun light fixtures and—my favorite attraction—at the end of our main hallway, decals on the wall that say
a smile is the prettiest thing you can wear. We have built-in chair massagers and heaters, and we offer neck pillows, warm hand mitts and stress balls. When patients leave, we have several flavors of lip balm for them to choose from, which is a nice touch after having your mouth open for treatment.

Being able to work with students in the clinical setting at Hudson Valley Community College’s Hygiene Program is one of my favorite things. It’s an opportunity for me to stay current with dental hygiene practices while shaping future hygienists. My advice to students is to view their education as a short chapter in their lives. I remind them to take the time to master skills, ask questions, avoid shortcuts and make some lifelong friends in the process. If they squeeze everything they can out of this exceptional two-year program, they’re destined to have an amazing career.

My personal inspirations are my sister—and any working mom. Being able to balance dentistry and family can be challenging, but seeing how the females around me make it work has been inspiring to me as I raise a young family.

Whenever students ask for career advice, I feel like I’ve done my job and have been a positive influence in their lives. If they ask me what to expect on a job interview, what to look for in a practice or if we are hiring—the best compliment!—I feel like they value my opinion and I’ve done a good job.

I’m so blessed with a solid support system: My husband, parents who watch my son while I’m working, amazing dental school friends who are always there to bounce ideas off, and of course my sister, who is there daily. When you surround yourself with the right people, you can take on anything. The good times become your best memories and the bad times just become lessons.

My favorite season is football season—and you can find me cheering on the Buffalo Bills every week!

DR. MORGAN FRYER, 32, runs Zappia & Fryer General Dentistry with her older sister, Dr. Kendra Zappia. She lives in Schaghticoke, New York, with her husband and two young children.