2022 Top Dentist: Phillip Shin

Editorial StaffJuly 1, 2022
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Photography by Steve Craft
Photography by Steve Craft

Cosmetic and General Dentistry

Dental School/Year Graduated: University of Missouri, Kansas City, 2011
Years in Practice: 12

Is the increase in popularity of apps like Facetune, where people can alter and enhance their smiles in pictures, a factor in your field? Do patients have an unrealistic ideal of “perfect teeth” from what they’ve seen on Instagram?
I wouldn’t consider these apps a huge factor, because people have always wanted a beautiful smile. Yes, you can now easily Photoshop or put filters on your smile and wrinkles, but people are always going to want the real deal. [But] social media has definitely ramped up interest in cosmetic dentistry these past years. People see others with beautiful smiles and are asking more questions.

What’s the most common procedure you perform? The most obscure?
I have always been a family dentist first and foremost. The majority of my daily procedures are the normal fillings, crowns, extractions, etc., that you get from your dentist. The most obscure procedure lately was a patient wanting vampire-like fangs on her upper canines.

Your practice emphasizes dental health as a component of whole-body health. What are some ways dental health ripples outward?
I take this to heart because your mouth is the gateway to the inside of your body. Even though we focus in the mouth, dentists are doctors, too, with your whole body in mind. There are many systemic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes that can be associated with your mouth.

Any particularly gratifying patient stories over the years?
We get them all the time. One of my most gratifying ones lately was a patient who has been battling a terrible disease. It ruined her teeth. When she sent me a personal photo of her smiling bigger than she ever had before via text [and saying] how I changed her life, that one touched my heart.

You completed your first Ironman last fall. What did that experience teach you?
That you can do anything in life if you set your mind to it and surround yourself with people who will help you achieve your goals. Anything!

What’s your favorite portrayal of a dentist in TV or film?
Ed Helms in The Hangover. My friends, to this day, still refer to quotes from that movie to me.

What’s the funniest thing a patient has said to you on nitrous oxide?
Last week, I sedated a patient for wisdom teeth extractions. She told me that she wanted to keep her wisdom teeth and make me a friendship necklace with them. Her boyfriend, my assistant and I were all dying laughing.

“If I wasn’t a dentist, I’d be…”
A photographer, because I feel I have a great eye, and can see people at their best and capture them with my camera.