Dental School: University of Southern California
Years in Practice: 33
Why did you choose to include cosmetic dentistry in your suite of services?
In the mid-’90s I began to see the field changing, and most dentists were not trained in the area to a high degree. So I pursued advanced training from the best in the world at that time in cosmetics, and the theory behind what it takes to becoming a high-detailed, exceptional-quality dentist in our city.
What are the “easiest” cosmetic procedures, and which are the most challenging?
The easiest is traditional cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored composite. It’s a great product and it can change your smile in one to two hours. The most difficult, but most rewarding for the patient and myself, are porcelain veneers. This technique allows changes which are endless, and the outcome is amazing!
Do you have any particularly gratifying or heartwarming stories from your patients?
I have so many… but I recall helping a woman who was completely losing two of her front teeth to dental decay and had little to no money. At the request [of another] patient, I did her case for the dental lab bill. My team and I created two cosmetic bridges, or six teeth, for her just before Christmas. After the break, she returned to the office with all she could afford. It was two pizzas for us all, and [she] said she was so thankful that she got all what she wanted for Christmas that year… her front teeth and smile back.
What is it like to work with the Lost Boys of Sudan through your church’s charitable efforts?
They are an amazing group of men. Very sweet and humble people. Through Gabriel’s Dream and my friend Reita Hutson, I have donated [treatment for] many of these boys – and now men, in many cases – for almost 16 years now. Most had beautiful teeth, but many had their lower six front teeth removed at age 13-15 as part of their tribal rituals to manhood. It was very rewarding to see them get into our society and get jobs and be able to take care of themselves after that treatment.
You are a Phoenix native! What are your favorite local haunts, especially for food?
Yes, I am, and so are my four siblings. Favorite Mexican food is Don José [Mexican Food] on 38th Street. Been going there since high school. My favorite bar here in town is Handlebar J in Scottsdale, but my closest-to-home place is Dick’s Hideaway on 16th Street.
What’s the funniest thing a patient has said to you on nitrous oxide?
While teaching at Phoenix College in my early years, I remember an already sedated patient who asked, “Hey doc, I need a little more gas.” After moving it only 1 percent higher, waiting a few minutes, and asking him how he felt, he replied, “Is my vasectomy over yet?” Well, the dental hygiene student almost fell out of her chair as I replied, “It will be in another hour. So sit still and keep your mouth open!”
“If I wasn’t a dentist, I’d be…”
Since I was a young boy, I was always infatuated with airplanes and helicopters. [So I] got my airplane pilot’s license while finishing up in dental school [and] got my helicopter license in 2001. I always dreamed of showing our town what it looks like from the air and being part of one of the local news channels. Maybe in my next life.