Incisal Edge Magazine Feature: The Top 40 Under 40 Dentists of 2011

Categories: Featured Articles
Published: 5/18/2012 11:18:50 AM EST

By: Megan Feldman
Photography by: Matthew Furman
Photographed at the Michael Reslan Penthouse in New York City - Styling: Renessta Olds - Hair and Makeup: Natasha Denis

They are the future leaders of the industry who are making their mark - today. Incisal Edge reveals its survey of the top 40 dentists age 40 and under. 

To chronicle the top dentists age 40 or younger, Incisal Edge solicited scores of nominations from dozens of industry leaders. These finalists were then evaluated — based on accomplishments, industry leadership and innovative execution — by an expert panel consisting of Dr. Nikki Jones, a lauded third generation dentist; Incisal Edge columnist Dr. Howard Strassler, of the University of Maryland Dental School; and Benco Dental's managing director, Chuck Cohen, and VP of marketing, Paul Jackson. To make the top 40, each dentist had to pass muster with each judge. And pass they did: a tech-savvy, patient-oriented, solutions-minded group offering assurance that our industry's best days lie firmly ahead. NOTE: The list is not ranked in any order.

John R. Carson 
There's always more to learn," he says, "and spending time with others who are passionate about what they do is truly awesome."
  • AGE: 37 | CITY: Tucson, Arizona
  • SPECIALTY: General
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: John R. Carson, DDS, P.C.
  • EDUCATION: DDS, University of Oklahoma
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Carson focuses on constantly staying current with new techniques and technology, to the point that one colleague calls him "a visionary."
  • INSPIRATION: In the 11 years Dr. Carson has been practicing, he has organized his priorities around three principles: team, passion and knowledge. "These three ingredients are interlocked," he says, "each feeding and drawing energy from the others."
  • TOOL HE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: Cone beam CT scanner.
  • FAVORITE PART OF THE PROFESSION: Seeing satisfaction on patients' faces and building relationships with his mentors and those he has mentored. "There's always more to learn," he says, "and spending time with others who are passionate about what they do is truly awesome."
 

Marko Farian 
"If you're calm and get them through it," he says, "they'll say, 'Wow, that was the best root canal I've ever had.' "
  • AGE: 38 | CITY: Macedonia, Ohio
  • SPECIALTY: General Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Farian Cosmetic and Family Dentistry
  • EDUCATION: DDS, Case Western Reserve
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Along with his busy practice, Dr. Farian manages to conduct regular dental education: leading a second-grade reading program to teach kids about the importance of brushing; fabricating mouth guards for local sports teams free of charge; and incorporating new technologies into his practice.
  • INSPIRATION: Maintains strong connections with colleagues. "When I refer someone to a specialist," he says, "I like to follow up and learn what happened."
  • BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Winning people's trust, especially if they've had bad experiences in the past. "If you're calm and get them through it," he says, "they'll say, 'Wow, that was the best root canal I've ever had.' "
  • EXCITING NEW TREND: The growing speed with which complex procedures can be performed: "Being able to take out a tooth and replace it in one visit."
 

Monisha G. Iyer 
"Two minds are greater than one," she says. "I think about that often when we bounce ideas off each other and talk about cases."
  • AGE: 37 | CITY: Marlton, New Jersey
  • SPECIALTY: Orthodontics
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Segal and Iyer Orthodontics
  • EDUCATION: DDS, Harvard University; Orthodontics, University of Michigan
  • WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Iyer's Ivy League pedigree and position with New York University's clinical orthodontic teaching facility speak volumes, but what really sets her and her partner, G. Ross Segal (see page 76), apart is their practice's fun atmosphere and commitment to overall health (she hikes and played rugby in college; Segal trains in MMA fighting).
  • INSPIRATION: Iyer's orthodontist changed her life, and she entered the profession to do the same for others.
  • FAVORITE PART OF THE PROFESSION: Her partnership with Dr. Segal. "Two minds are greater than one," she says. "I think about that often when we bounce ideas off each other and talk about cases."
  • EXCITING NEW TREND: 3D technology and scanned impressions, as opposed to actual molds.
 

Tejal Kakade 
"Being recently out of school works in my favor," says Dr. Kakade, our list's youngest member, who graduated from dental school in 2009 and uses intraoral cameras to show patients which treatments they need and why. "We try to go the extra mile to educate them and show them what's going on."
  • AGE: 28 | CITY: Carrollton, Georgia
  • SPECIALTY: General Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Personalized
  • EDUCATION: DMD, Medical College of Georgia; residency, Wyckoff Heights
  • WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Armed with her dental degree and a fascination with new products, Dr. Kakade recently returned to Carrollton (her hometown) and is infusing it with fresh energy, renovating a historic building for her
  • INSPIRATION: When Dr. Kakade was a teenager in Carrollton, her school designated a day for students to shadow professionals. She wanted to follow a doctor, but the only medical provider on the list was a local dentist. After watching Dr. Donna Moses interact with patients, a young Kakade knew she had found her calling. "She was genuine and sincere," Dr. Kakade says. "You could tell she knew what was happening in their lives, and she gave them hugs when
  • WHAT SETS HER APART: "Being recently out of school works in my favor," says Dr. Kakade, our list's youngest member, who graduated from dental school in 2009 and uses intraoral cameras to show patients which treatments they need and why. "We try to go the extra mile to educate them and show them what's going on."
  • TOOL SHE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: Intraoral cameras.
 

Gary M. Klein 
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  • AGE: 34 | CITY: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • SPECIALTY: General Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Klein Family
  • EDUCATION: DDS, New York University;
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: After Dr. Klein joined his father's practice, the two were designing a new building when the elder Klein died. Dr. Klein endured, building the new office into a modern, high-tech
  • INSPIRATION: Dr. Klein's father didn't push his son to enter the field. But seeing how much fun his father had at work, Dr. Klein was intrigued. "They're like members of my extended family," he says of his patients. "I enjoy sitting in my waiting room talking and laughing with them.”
  • FAVORITE PART OF THE PROFESSION: Implants. "Patients leave with a permanent solution to a missing tooth," he says.
  • TOOLS HE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: Designs for Vision loupes, A-Dec 500 chairs, Isolite and V-Ring.
 

Paige Marie Prather 
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  • AGE: 30 | CITY: Nashville, Tennessee
  • SPECIALTY: General Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Signature Smiles
  • EDUCATION: DDS, Ohio State University; GPR, Dayton Veterans Administration
  • WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: She's an oral surgeon who's attracting attention for her willingness to find new products and procedures that will better enable her
  • INSPIRATION: Inspired by her father, an oral surgeon, Dr. Prather has a passion for clinical surgery and offers implant replacement, IV sedation and extractions.
  • TOOL SHE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: The WamKey. "I spent years cutting through crowns, which as we all know takes hours. The WamKey allows removal in a matter of minutes and usually preserves the crown enough to be used as a temporary."
  • FAVORITE OFFICE MUSIC: Indie, including Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, Ray LaMontagne and Brett Dennen.
 

G. Ross Segal 
40_under_40_Segal_thumb_02
  • AGE: 39 | CITY: Marlton, New Jersey
  • SPECIALTY: Orthodontics
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Segal and Iyer
  • EDUCATION: DDS, University of Pennsylvania; orthodontics, Temple
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Treats his patients like relatives — and trains his famously loyal staff to do the same.
  • INSPIRATION: Many dentists grew up with fathers in the field, but Dr. Segal's inspiration came from his mother, a prosthodontist. "I grew up seeing the passion she has, as well as the difference she has made in countless people's lives," he says.
  • FAVORITE OFFICE MUSIC: "My kids have me hooked on pop music. The beat keeps me moving all day."
  • SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW: He has a substantial sweet tooth. "One of my assistants bakes me a carrot cake every week," he says. "I can't function without it."
 

Marshall Wright 
40_under_40_marshall_thumb
  • AGE: 32 | CITY: Weatherford, Texas
  • SPECIALTY: General Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Wright Family
  • EDUCATION: DDS, University of Texas
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Seven years after starting a practice at 25 with just one employee, Dr. Wright now runs a booming multi-specialty practice. He was also instrumental in starting a facility that offers free dental treatment to patients
  • INSPIRATION: As a general dentist, Dr. Wright loves the variety in his work. "Having the ability to do over a dozen types of procedures in one day keeps me on my toes and keeps things from getting monotonous," he says.
  • EXCITING NEW TREND: The integration of cone-beam technology with CAD/CAM restorations and their application in various implant procedures.
  • ADVICE FOR ASPIRING DENTISTS: Lean on your peers. "The more you talk to your colleagues," Dr. Wright says, "the more likely you are to find answers to questions and problems you face."
 

Joshua Austin 
  • AGE: 32 | CITY: San Antonio
  • SPECIALTY: General Practice
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Joshua Austin, DDS Family Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry
  • EDUCATION: DDS, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Austin started his booming practice from scratch, and serves on the faculty of his alma mater's Department of Restorative Dentistry and the board of directors for the San Antonio District Dental Society. He's also chairman of the San Antonio District Dental Society Committee for the New Dentist.
  • INSPIRATION: "Understanding and excelling at fundamental aspects of dentistry paves the way for success," he says. "Fundamentals like preparation proficiency and knowledge of biomaterials never go out of style."
  • TOOL HE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: Isolite. "By far, it's the best piece of equipment I have ever purchased for my practice."
  • FAVORITE PART OF THE PROFESSION: The little things — like the moment when a new crown slides all the way down, leaving smooth, sealed margins.
 

Robert Baird 
  • AGE: 33 | CITY: Payson, Utah
  • SPECIALTY: Family Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Cascade Family Dental
  • EDUCATION: DMD, MBA in health care, and M.S. in finance, Temple University
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Baird is both a skilled clinician and a creative businessman who earned an MBA before entering dental school. A blend of marketing savvy, warm interpersonal skills and a strong commitment to thorough patient education and advanced technology enabled him to launch two successful practices in as many years.
  • INSPIRATION: He and his staff have read numerous books together and have studied companies such as Toyota, Disney and Southwest Airlines. "We analyze the way everything is done," Dr. Baird says. "We look outside of our industry for best practices we can adapt and adopt."
  • FAVORITE PART OF THE PROFESSION: People and education. "I left engineering because I love people — I love talking with patients and helping them attain oral health," says Dr. Baird, whose goal is to double the continued education required by the state. He has also set aside monthly office meetings for continuing education. "I love training my coworkers and helping them reach their potential."
  • BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Meeting his own expectations.
 

Jennifer Bass 
  • AGE: 35 | CITY: Newnan, Georgia
  • SPECIAL TY: General Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Gentle Dentistry of Newnan
  • EDUCATION: University of Florida, both undergraduate (zoology) and dental school
  • WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: For her innovative, empathic all-woman practice, acclaimed for putting patients and staff at ease.
  • INSPIRATION: "It was an accident, really," Dr. Bass says. "Near the end of undergrad, I fell on my face exiting a boat, breaking my left central and lateral incisors. My ensuing dental visits left me feeling that I could give patients a better experience. It also made me realize how much the appearance of your teeth makes you feel about yourself."
  • PRACTICE PHILOSOPHY: "If you put your patients' comfort and well-being first, everything else will fall into place."
  • EXCITING NEW TREND: Materials. "Beautiful ceramics, flexible partials, implants — we have so many options in our tool kits."
 

Angela B. Bateson 
  • AGE: 40 | CITY: Findlay, Ohio
  • SPECIALTY: General Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Angela B. Bateson, DDS
  • EDUCATION: DDS, Ohio State University
  • WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Bateson's dedication to her profession was tested in 2007, when a devastating flood destroyed her practice and all of her records and equipment. Determined not only to rebuild but to improve her practice the second time around, she made use of ergonomic designs and new technology to create one of the most impressive practices in Ohio.
  • INSPIRATION: Dr. Bateson comes from a family of farmers, but after an orthodontist straightened her teeth, she chose dentistry. "Braces changed my life," she says. "I wanted to do that for other people."
  • BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Balancing work and family (she has three children under 6). "I practice full-time as a solo practitioner most days from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. without lunch so I can go home to be a mom, attend Seattle Study Club and still make time to spend an hour with my husband working out in our home gym."
  • FAVORITE OFFICE MUSIC: James Taylor. "I go to work to relax."
 

John C. Boain 
  • AGE: 32 | CITY: St. Louis
  • SPECIALTY: General
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Boain Dental Care
  • EDUCATION: DDS, Creighton University School of Dentistry
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Boain embraces new technology, from 3D to lasers, to keep his practice state-of-the-art and able to provide specialized services such as endodontics, orthodontics and cosmetic procedures.
  • INSPIRATION: Contant learning: In 2010, Dr. Boain graduated from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry's MaxiCourse. "Staying interested transforms your practice," he says.
  • TOOL HE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: His staff. "They're the reason I'm able to overcome the effects of gravity in the morning."
 

Benjamin G. Burris 
  • AGE: 39 | CITY: Jonesboro, Arkansas
  • SPECIALTY: Orthodontics
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Braces by Burris and Associates
  • EDUCATION: DDS, MDS, University of Tennessee at Memphis
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: As if transforming his company from one small office into a group of 85 employees and 15 practices weren't enough, Dr. Burris in 2008 founded the Smile for a Lifetime Foundation to help children who can't afford orthodontic care. Since then, more than 100 chapters have been founded across 30 states, providing more than $10 million worth of excellent care to some 2,000 children.
  • INSPIRATION: Constant improvement of technique through continuing education and mentors. "I realized early on that a dental license is a license to learn and ask questions," he says. "I never stop asking."
  • EXCITING NEW TREND: The "democratization" of orthodontics — "the fact that something once considered an elective luxury is becoming a normal rite of passage."
  • SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW: Being a husband and father, he says, are "the most rewarding endeavors of my life."
 

Lance Culley 
  • AGE: 40 | CITY: Jackson, Tennessee
  • SPECIALTY: Periodontics
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Institute for Periodontics and Implant Dentistry
  • EDUCATION: DDS, University of Tennessee Health Science Center; specialty, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Culley runs practices in three cities and pushes to expand all of them through new patients as well as breadth of procedures and technology.
  • INSPIRATION: "I try to put myself in the patient's position," he says. "I'm not the bravest patient, so if there is any technology that makes surgery less invasive, I invest in it for my patients' benefit."
  • BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Dealing with the complexities of insurance coverage. "That's why I have a great staff in place," he says. "So I don't have to do it."
  • EXCITING NEW TREND: Sedation. "With more dentists implementing anxiety management, patients aren't as fearful as they were before."
 

Paschal Dalseth 
  • AGE: 39 | CITY: Apple Valley, Minnesota
  • SPECIALTY: General, Cosmetic, Implants
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Dalseth Family and Cosmetic Dentistry
  • EDUCATION: DDS, University of Minnesota; residency, VA Medical Center in Minneapolis
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Dalseth, with two associates also under 40, advocates modern, progressive innovation. His practice has received recognition for installing an energy-saving heating and cooling system.
  • INSPIRATION: Attention to detail — from taking kids' pictures to remembering to ask a patient about his sick brother — is one thing that keeps multiple generations of families coming to his practice. "There's a lot of satisfaction seeing grandparents, children and grandchildren," he says.
  • BIGGEST CHALLENGE: It's difficult to see patients suffering from pain, Dr. Dalseth says, but rewarding when they leave comfortable.
  • FAVORITE OFFICE MUSIC: Classical. "Music is supposed to be a subtle undercurrent," he says. "Soothing and felt, not necessarily heard."
 

Holly C. Ellis 
  • AGE: 31 | CITY: St. Louis
  • SPECIALTY: General Practice
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Ellis Dental
  • EDUCATION: DDS, University of Missouri
  • WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Continuous enrichment includes learning new skills and innovations via the Seattle Study Club, plus her volunteer trips to do dental work in
  • INSPIRATION: Dr. Ellis loved going to the dentist as a kid, and decided as a first grader to follow that career path. "Patients appreciate our level of care and continue to
  • FAVORITE OFFICE MUSIC: Holiday tunes in winter. "We decorate our office and have cinnamon candles burning," Dr. Ellis says.
  • SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW: She was a contestant on Wheel of Fortune in 2003. "I auditioned when I was in dental school," she says. "It was a great experience."
 

Katherine Eynon Orr 
  • AGE: 38 | CITY: Indianapolis
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Katherine Eynon Orr
  • EDUCATION: DDS, M.S. in medical physiology,
  • WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Enyon Orr demonstrates numerous aspects of highquality care, from cutting-edge technology to savvy business sense. She and her practice are also instrumental in numerous
  • INSPIRATION: Dr. Eynon Orr loved science in school and knew she wanted to be in health care. The science and patient interaction, she
  • EXCITING NEW TREND: Lava Digital Scanner.
  • SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW: She and her staff work out with a personal trainer twice a week.
 

Angela M. Harney 
  • AGE: 29 | CITY: Fort Myers, Florida
  • SPECIALTY: General, Cosmetic and Family
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Angela M. Harney,
  • EDUCATION: DMD, University of Florida
  • WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Compassionate and detail-oriented, she and her husband purchased a practice in 2009 that has continued to flourish even amid South
  • INSPIRATION: With a father who is a certified dental technician and a mother who is a dental hygienist, Dr. Harney says her mission
  • BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Giving patients the best possible care during difficult economic times.
  • SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW: "I like to ride motorcycles."
 

Maryann Jacko 
  • AGE: 36 | CITY: Wellington, Ohio
  • SPECIALTY: General Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Wellington Dental and Doylestown Dental
  • EDUCATION: DDS, Ohio State University
  • WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Jacko is renowned for her passion for treating and caring for her patients, improving her clinical skills through cutting-edge continuingeducation seminars and putting patients and staffers at ease with her friendly,
  • INSPIRATION: One of Dr. Jacko's favorite parts of running a rural practice is being involved in her community. "I love getting wedding invitations and baby announcements from our patients," she says. She also makes sure to use the latest technologies, such as digital X-rays and intraoral cameras. "Our philosophy is that people in rural areas deserve to have Los Angeles– and New York–
  • BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Running a business while treating patients.
  • ADVICE FOR ASPIRING DENTISTS: "Take as many business courses as you can."
 

Lauten Sanders Johnson 
  • AGE: 31 | CITY: Birmingham, Alabama
  • SPECIALTY: Pediatric Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Pediatric and Adolescent
  • EDUCATION: DDS and residency, University
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: With his partner, William Clark Thomas (see page 76), Dr. Johnson is a trailblazer in pediatric dentistry
  • INSPIRATION: Inspired to become a dentist while doing Christian missionary work, Dr. Johnson recently launched a nonprofit called the Smile Foundation, which raises money and supplies for those in need. "We annually go to Mexico to provide extractions, amalgam
  • BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Managing parents who have unrealistic expectations.
  • FAVORITE OFFICE MUSIC: Instead of music, patients are entertained by movies — mostly the animated, kid-friendly kind.
 

Matt Karsten 
  • AGE: 38 | CITY: Elgin, Illinois
  • SPECIALTY: Pediatric Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Kids First Pediatric
  • EDUCATION: DMD, Southern Illinois University; pediatric residency, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: A father of five, Dr. Karsten has transformed his practice into a wonderland of games, toys, kids' movies and extravagant wall art. He makes use of technology to benefit his young charges, and it's working: He now sees an average of 130
  • INSPIRATION: After a stint in the Army, Dr. Karsten tended bar. One customer, a dentist, saw his potential: " 'If you like to work with your hands and help people, you should be a dentist,' " Dr. Karsten recalls the man saying.
  • FAVORITE PART OF THE PROFESSION: Showing kids that a trip to the dentist doesn't have to be a nightmare: "It's the greatest feeling to take scared kids and get them through it."
  • TOOL HE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: Lasers. "We can do almost all our work without having to numb someone," he says.
 

Nathan E. Kirk II 
  • AGE: 37 | CITY: Hurricane, West Virginia
  • SPECIALTY: Pediatric Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Teays Valley Pediatric
  • EDUCATION: DMD, University of Louisville; pediatric dentistry residency, Indiana
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: After Dr. Kirk became a partner in Pat Martin's West Virginia practice, the doctors made plans to expand to a 15-operatory office that visitors say showcases the pair's "fun, imaginative and efficient" approach, complete with an
  • INSPIRATION: "I believe my patients and their parents see how much fun I have treating
  • EXCITING NEW TREND: Research showing that dentists will be able to reverse pulp necrosis and root regeneration in permanent teeth.
  • FAVORITE OFFICE MUSIC: "We have TVs on the ceiling, so I like movies and shows that have songs that I can sing along with," says Dr. Kirk. "Not always well, though."
 

Andrew Knowlton 
  • AGE: 38 | CITY: Sparta, Michigan
  • SPECIALTY: General Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Knowlton and McFall
  • EDUCATION: DDS, University of Michigan
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Knowlton's office is described as a "fine-tuned machine" with an industrious staff. Having lost a staffer to cancer, Dr. Knowlton's team now holds
  • INSPIRATION: Dr. Knowlton logged hours in a chair as a teen after a skiing accident knocked out his front teeth. "I thought my social life was over," he says. "What a relief to look in the mirror and see a full smile." The experience nudged him toward dentistry — and makes
  • TOOL HE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: His assistants. "If I'm not connecting with someone at a high level," he says, "they're able to fill in the gaps."
  • ADVICE FOR ASPIRING DENTISTS: Don't be afraid to hang your own shingle somewhere. "Start small and build," says Dr. Knowlton, who was an associate for four years before buying half the practice. "If you're good to people, you'll be successful."
 

John Koutsoyiannis 
  • AGE: 36 | CITY: New York
  • SPECIALTY: Cosmetic, Reconstructive
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: SoHo Smile
  • EDUCATION: DDS, New York University;
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Recent office renovations include a state-of-the-art spa atmosphere, including patient massage chairs, as well as tablets for paperless charting and flat-screen televisions for
  • INSPIRATION: As a teenager, Dr. Koutsoyiannis broke his front teeth multiple times playing football and falling off his bike. "I needed a lot of dental work, and I'd hold up the mirror to watch," he says. "It left me leaning toward
  • FAVORITE PART OF THE PROFESSION: Re-creating someone's smile. "I've had people cry in the chair from joy," he says.
  • FAVORITE OFFICE MUSIC: Patient's choice, says Dr. Koutsoyiannis. "We have a digital library and headphones. You choose what to watch or listen to in the chair."
 

Keith James Luminais JR. 
  • AGE: 31 | CITY: Covington, Louisiana
  • SPECIALTY: General Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Keith James Luminais Jr.
  • EDUCATION: DDS, Louisiana State University
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Known for his efficient business approach, Dr. Luminais owns two practices and is in the process of
  • INSPIRATION: Dr. Luminais grew up listening to his mother discuss dentistry at the dinner table; she was a dental assistant for more
  • TOOL HE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: "Patience is a necessity," Dr. Luminais says.
  • EXCITING NEW TREND: CAD/CAM and digital cone beam radiography.
 

Patrick Martin 
  • AGE: 39 | CITY: Huntington, West Virginia
  • SPECIALTY: Pediatric Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Huntington Pediatric &Orthodontics
  • EDUCATION: DDS, West Virginia University;
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Martin grew up amid the coal fields of West Virginia to become a board-certified periodontist. With his partner, Nathan Kirk (see page 70), he expanded from a practice with four operatories to a new, state-of-the-art office
  • INSPIRATION: Kids. "I like to keep up with all the latest cartoons, kid's movies and singers," Dr. Martin says. "I can probably recite every word to every episode of SpongeBob
  • FAVORITE PART OF THE PROFESSION: Teaching kids prevention and rewarding them with positive reinforcement. "I love telling kids 'great job!' when they're cavity-free," he says. Advice fo r Aspi ring De nti sts: Find your niche and do what makes you happy.
  • ADVICE FOR ASPIRING DENTISTS: Find your niche and do what makes you happy.
 

Chad Matthews 
  • AGE: 31 | CITY: Rock Hill, South Carolina
  • SPECIALTY: Periodontist
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Carolina Periodontics
  • EDUCATION: DMD, University of Kentucky
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Matthews met his wife, Rachel (see below), in dental school, and after discovering Rock Hill needed a periodontist and an endodontist, they opened a practice that saves patients time (and pain)
  • INSPIRATION: Dr. Matthews enjoys prevention and routine procedures, but aesthetic surgery gives him the greatest joy. "I like restoring patients' smiles, especially when they were
  • EXCITING NEW TREND: 3D imaging, for everything from placing implants to diagnosing endodontic lesions. "The radiation is so low, and the resolution is so high," he says. "You can get amazing clarity."
  • TOOL HE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: 3D cone beam. "Once you start using it," he says, "it's very difficult not to use it."
 

Rachel Matthews 
  • AGE: 30 | CITY: Rock Hill, South Carolina
  • SPECIALTY: Endodontist
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Carolina Periodontics
  • EDUCATION: DMD, University of Kentucky
  • WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: See Chad
  • INSPIRATION: One-stop dentistry, given that she and her husband have two specialties covered. Patients can simply walk across the
  • FAVORITE PART OF THE PROFESSION: Helping patients in pain. Says her husband: "She takes pride in making even root canals relaxing."
  • PRACTICE PHILOSOPHY: To provide cuttingedge, evidence-based therapy in a lowanxiety environment.
 

Rick Munaretto 
  • AGE: 36 | CITY: Elmwood Park, Illinois
  • SPECIALTY: Endodontist
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Cameo Endodontics
  • EDUCATION: DDS, University of Illinois at
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: He's a leader in his specialty and a mentor for students and colleagues as assistant professor at the University of Illinois and at Loyola University.
  • INSPIRATION: His father and uncle are
  • FAVORITE PART OF THE PROFESSION: Technically difficult procedures. "I like retreatments where people have been told they have to have teeth extracted but I'm able to save them," Dr. Munaretto says.
  • TOOL HE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: His microscope, and cone beam. "We do extractions and place dental implants, which is unique in endodontics practices."
 

C. Ryan Osorio 
  • AGE: 30 | CITY: Viera, Florida
  • SPECIALTY: General Practice
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Christie Dental
  • EDUCATION: DMD, University of Florida
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Barely three years out of dental school (where he graduated at the top of his class), Dr. Osorio plans to start
  • INSPIRATION: Dr. Osorio's love of art and performance began at age 2, when he joined his mother's singing group. His love of science was ignited a few years later when a teacher lauded his baking-soda volcano. As an adult, Dr. Osorio says, "I realized dentistry
  • FAVORITE PART OF THE PROFESSION: Transforming people's lives. "When someone who has guarded their smile their entire life projects confidence, that's memorable," Dr. Osorio says. "But routine procedures that improve health also contribute to the world."
  • PRACTICE PHILOSOPHY: Being fully engaged at all times. "I strive to be completely focused on the patient in front of me and on the procedure I'm doing," he says.
 

Heather J. Petroff 
  • AGE: 39 | CITY: Broadview Heights, Ohio
  • SPECIALTY: General
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Heather J. Petroff, DDS
  • EDUCATION: DDS, Case Western Reserve; AEGD, University Hospitals of Cleveland and
  • WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Petroff, who teaches at the Case Western School of Dental Medicine, has developed a family-friendly practice that includes Invisalign braces and a "cavity-free corner," where she posts photos
  • INSPIRATION: One of her earliest memories is waxing up teeth at her mother's lab bench. She also makes use of her master's degree in psychology: "Taking the time to talk patients
  • TOOL SHE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: Nobel Biocare torque wrench. "I love to restore edentulous areas with an implant."
  • SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW: She and her husband — who met doing triathlons — own an indoor spinning studio. "Most days before our first patient, I've already taught a class there," she says.
 

Justin Short 
  • AGE: 32 | CITY: St. Louis
  • SPECIALTY: General, with emphasis on
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Des Peres Dentistry
  • EDUCATION: DMD, Southern Illinois University
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Short has quickly become the go-to dentist in St. Louis for smile improvements and makeovers; he has extensive training in cosmetics, implantology and sedation dentistry. He dedicates Thursdays and Fridays to
  • INSPIRATION: Helping patients understand that a pain-free tooth isn't necessarily a
  • EXCITING NEW TREND: Implants, and the increasing strength of porcelain restorations.
  • FAVORITE OFFICE MUSIC: "Justin Timberlake. It's not every day you get to place implants to 'SexyBack.' "
 

Grant R. Smith 
  • SPECIALTY: General Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Prairie Village Dentists
  • EDUCATION: DDS, University of Missouri at
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Smith is known for mastering new equipment before most of
  • INSPIRATION: "It's genetic." His father is a dentist and his mother is an RDH. Dr. Smith considers himself a teacher first: "I like for the patient to learn about what we're doing,
  • TOOL HE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: Leatherman pocket knife. "You can extract with it, carve
  • SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW: Asked his orthodontist to save his diastima — so he wouldn't lose the ability to shoot water 25 feet from his mouth. "That's something not even my Leatherman can do," he jokes.
 

William Clark Thomas 
  • AGE: 37 | CITY: Birmingham, Alabama
  • SPECIALTY: Pediatric Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Pediatric and Adolescent
  • EDUCATION: DDS and residency, University
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: See Lauten
  • INSPIRATION: As someone who has had plenty of dental work done, Dr. Thomas does
  • FAVORITE PART OF THE PROFESSION: "Getting a hug or high-five from a kid who came into the office scared."
  • SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW: He once worked in Durango, Colorado, and Santa Fe for the Indian Health Service.
 

Cristin M. Wallace 
  • AGE: 40 | CITY: Nashville, Tennessee
  • SPECIALTY: Cosmetic and Sports Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: McPherson Wallace
  • EDUCATION: DDS, University of Tennessee
  • WHY SHE WAS NOMINATED: Dr. Wallace expanded her father's practice after his death. Her large patient base includes members of
  • INSPIRATION: Digital dentistry. "Eventually there will be no need for impression
  • SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW: She likes to paint.
  • ADVICE FOR ASPIRING DENTISTS: Delegate. "We weren't taught accounting, payroll, human resources," she says, "Surround yourself with people who know all of that."
 
Chris Ward
 
  • AGE: 40 | CITY: Owasso, Oklahoma
  • SPECIALTY: General Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Chris Ward, DDS
  • EDUCATION: DDS, University of Oklahoma
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: Respected for his hand skills, well-trained staff and high-quality care; numerous local dentists come to Dr.
  • INSPIRATION: Dr. Ward, who got into the profession by accident while helping a friend with dental-school lab work, is dedicated to personal care. "Unfortunately, our profession has evolved into a factory model," he says.
  • EXCITING NEW TREND: Implants. "It's rewarding to give people a beautiful smile that they don't have to take out and put by their bed at night," says Dr. Ward, who does his own cosmetic wax-ups. "It gives me the ability to control more variables when I do them myself."
  • SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW: He's colorblind, which is sometimes challenging but often "extremely helpful," such as when he's shade matching.
 

L. Brett Wells 
  • AGE: 31 | CITY: Raleigh, North Carolina
  • SPECIALTY: General Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Wells Family Dentistry
  • EDUCATION: DDS, University of North
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: The leading young dentist in the Raleigh area is developing a new location downtown. Armed with his AEGD, Dr. Wells does implants and oral
  • INSPIRATION: Dr. Wells fell in love with dentistry while doing what he calls an
  • FAVORITE PART OF THE PROFESSION: Unlike many of his peers, Dr. Wells likes business. "I really enjoy the ownership and management aspects of owning a dental practice."
  • BIGGEST CHALLENGE: The occasional unreasonable, unruly patient. "Dismissing this small percentage of my practice makes everyone's life a lot better."
 

Travis M. Wills 
  • AGE: 35 | CITY: Lochgelly, West Virginia
  • SPECIALTY: General Dentistry
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: Travis M. Wills, DDS, Inc.
  • EDUCATION: DDS, West Virginia University
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: First in his dental class, Dr. Wills stays state-of-the-art in his treatments, equipment and technology, and
  • INSPIRATION: "If it weren't for all my responsibilities to my family and my team," he says, "I'd be content giving dental care
  • TOOL HE CAN 'T LIVE WITHOUT: Intraoral cameras. "What patients see amazes them."
  • FAVORITE OFFICE MUSIC: Pandora. "We play whatever patients want," he says.
 

David H. Wong 
  • AGE: 36 | CITY: Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • SPECIALTY: Periodontics
  • NAME OF PRACTICE: David H. Wong, DDS, PC
  • EDUCATION: DDS, University of Oklahoma; specialty training in periodontics, University
  • WHY HE WAS NOMINATED: In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Wong teaches at the Tulsa Institute, showing general dentists simple
  • INSPIRATION: His family dentist was a mentor and role model. Dr. Wong also loves the fact that dental technology changes quickly enough to keep him interested. "I'm a tech junkie," he says. "I like being the first to try
  • TOOL HE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: Perioderm. "It helps me treat gingival recession while minimizing discomfort for patients."