| Shaun Keating CDT + Dr. Gary and Steven Davidowitz |
This week we are featuring a digital cosmetic dental duo, a father and son practicing and operation a dental business called Luxury Dentistry NYC. Dr. Gary and Steven Davidowitz where one of the first dentists to start using digital impression systems for implant and cosmetic cases. Gary and Steven discuss the evolution of digital systems and the benefits of this powerful dental tool in the specialties of orthodontics, cosmetic and implant dentistry. Dr. Gary Davidowitz explains, “A modern dental office without an optical scanner is like a baseball player without a bat”
Dr. Gary Davidowitz is a true smile expert. He is a native New Yorker and has been practicing cosmetic dentistry in New York City since 1978 when he received his DDS degree from the New York University College of Dentistry. He has lectured nationally and internationally and has written numerous articles on smile makeovers and esthetic minor tooth movement that have been published in accredited dental magazines and international journals. He has also lectured at the Greater New York Dental Meeting – the world’s largest gathering of dentists – on his minimally-invasive aesthetic techniques.
His son, Dr. Steven Davidowitz, also known as “Dr. D” by his patients, is one of the Upper East Side of Manhattan’s leading cosmetic dentists in designing and maintaining beautiful smiles. Dr. Steven is among the world’s most prominent cosmetic, implant, Invisalign, TMJ/Facial Pain and dental sleep appliance providers.
Shaun Keating: Hey everybody Shaun Keating here. I want to welcome you to this week’s episode of the Dental Lab podcast brought to you by Keating Dental Lab, here in beautiful Irvine, California.
This week we’ll be featuring a dynamic dental duo. A father and son, practicing and operating two different dental practices in New York City. It’s called Luxury Dentistry. Dr. Gary Davidowitz is a true smile expert. He is a native New Yorker and has been practicing cosmetic dentistry in New York City since 1978, when he received his DDS degree from the New York University College of Dentistry. He has lectured nationally and internationally and has written numerous articles on smile makeovers, and has been published in dental magazines and international journals. He has also lectured at the Greater New York Dental Meeting, one of the world’s largest gathering of dentists on his minimally invasive aesthetic techniques.
His son, Dr. Steven Davidowitz is also known as Dr D. by his patients. He is one of the Upper East Side of Manhattan’s leading cosmetic dentists in designing and maintaining beautiful smiles. Dr. Steven is among the city’s most prominent cosmetic, implant, Invisalign, TMJ, and dental sleep appliance providers.
Please welcome Dr. Gary and Steven Davidowitz. So what’s up guys?
G. Davidowitz: How are you Shaun?
S. Davidowitz: Hey Shaun.
Shaun Keating: Hey guys thank you so much for taking time out. I know you guys are busy and I knew you just, you got me in on this podcast and it was great that you guys were able to do it, and you know I’m gonna start off a little bit with sports. I’d like to start, you guys are in a hood man I mean, where you guys at in New York? Dr. Gary, you guys are in Brooklyn right?
G. Davidowitz: I’m in Brooklyn, the old home of the Dodgers. And too bad that they left us, and they left us with the New York Mets. A little different type of season for the two of those teams.
Shaun Keating: Oh I tell you man, and didn’t they, didn’t they move? Was the stadium in Brooklyn, now it’s in the Bronx or how’s that work?
G. Davidowitz: Well I see that you know a lot about New York. So the Brooklyn Dodgers were in New York. They left there in the late 1950s, for sunny southern California. The Mets came back there in 1962, and they moved to the borough of Queens, which is where they still are today. They did build a new stadium a few years ago called City Field, and that’s where both Steven and I go and I take my grandson, Steven’s son there quite often. As we said, too bad this year has been a very tough year for us.
Shaun Keating: Oh I know. Heck I remember back in the day when you guys, my buddy I grew up with, Steve Springer, he played for the Mets for a little bit, way back in the 80s. But my favorite TV show is the King of Queens and Doug Heffernan, and he always has a Mets shirt on and, and I’m kinda starting to look like Doug Heffernan a little bit. And my wife’s kinda like his wife, whatever her name is like she can be a little, you know, a little pisser sometimes. That’s pretty cool.
So Steve, tell me, that grandchild of yours, your son. Tell me about how old’s that boy?
S. Davidowitz: He’s eight years old now, and he is a sports fanatic. I mean he’s going at every sport as if he’s trying to get that college scholarship. And I think that he’s on his way, which will see me a pretty penny down the line.
Shaun Keating: Eight years old that’s when it starts. I mean that’s really like the Little League and the little youth football-
S. Davidowitz: Oh yep. My father has been investing in him since he was three-years-old with lessons and, everything I didn’t have or didn’t really want. But he’s as a basketball coach, he’s on the little league hockey. You name it-
Shaun Keating: I love your dad. I love Gary even more hearing that man. I got a grandson coming in December. I’m gonna do the same thing. My wife’s like, “You stay away. Don’t let Kyle take care of that boy. You did it with your boys enough.” And it’s like, come on man I’m biting at the bit. We’re gonna get professional trainers at three, and work his speed and everything. I’m gonna be like your dad.
G. Davidowitz: Shaun if you are nice to me I will set you up for some autographs.
Shaun Keating: [inaudible 00:04:25] Let’s do it man.
So what about with football? You guys Giants fans, or the Jets or what about football? What’s your team there?
S. Davidowitz: Aw this is embarrassing. [crosstalk 00:04:35]
Shaun Keating: Nothing’s embarrassing. You can say, even if you don’t like them, that’s okay. You might be a Philadelphia guy. Who knows.
G. Davidowitz: No, we are Jets fans and the embarrassing thing is, we’re Jets fans.
S. Davidowitz: No.
Shaun Keating: Hey you never know. I remember when Sanchez was on that team and I remember Hard Knocks and that coach, Brian. You know I look like his brother Rex, his brother Rob-
S. Davidowitz: And you know what? You do look like him that’s true yeah.
Shaun Keating: It’s terrible. Son of a bitch.
G. Davidowitz: He looks a little like Rex’s brother.
Shaun Keating: Yeah Rex’s brother with the long silver hair and, dude I’d love to be a defensive coordinator. I’m an offensive guy but that would be my dream. If I ever wasn’t a dental technician or whatever I always wanted to be a football coach. And you know even high school, run my wishbone or in the pros, and then I wanted to buy a team and then that dream kinda went south when they started going to billion dollars plus for these damn teams and heck you never know. Football in 20 years it might be around with all the concussions and stuff, you never know, you never know what they do. I mean-
G. Davidowitz: I think here where you chose a profession that’s a lot safer. I don’t think you should have any regrets on that.
Shaun Keating: I’ve been sniffing fricken silica for a long time. My lungs aren’t too good and all these particles and stuff. We’ll keep that down man. Who knows now. You know it’s been a-
G. Davidowitz: Well we hope that you’re sniffing it all out before you send it over [crosstalk 00:05:59] air things outta there.
Shaun Keating: Oh that’s so cool. Well dude, let’s dental up a little bit now.
Now we’ll start off with pops. Tell me why you got into dentistry and at what point did you think I want to be a dentist.
G. Davidowitz: You know you’re going back 45 years Shaun.
Shaun Keating: That’s okay.
G. Davidowitz: If I’d ask you, tell me something about 45 years ago what your thinking was, but so it’s a little difficult for me to specifically remember what drove me to dentistry. But I think actually it was a good friend of my sisters became a dentist and she used to hang out at my house. I was the younger brother, and he was all excited about his new profession. I think that’s what kind of brought me, brought some interest to me as far as dentistry is concerned. But I’ve had a long career, and it’s been a very rewarding career. You know having my son, and my daughter by the way join into the dental profession. My daughter is a dental hygienist.
Shaun Keating: Ah you’re kidding.
G. Davidowitz: And also a dental educator. So, you know that’s been very rewarding and I have a lot of love for the dental profession.
Shaun Keating: Well you do and you really have, you’ve lectured all over. You’ve taught all over and I really didn’t know that about you, you know, really well respected in the industry and my hat’s off to you. That’s awesome that your son is crushing it too. God dude, Steve you’re like, you seem like you’re only like 30 years old. You look young in your picture man. To have an eight year old kid. What did you have that at like, 15? Or what man. What’s going on there?
S. Davidowitz: We had a party today. I got potty trained, and the entire staff was supporting me from right outside the door. It was a great day.
G. Davidowitz: Hey Shaun remember Dear Abby? Dear Abby was like 95 years old. When you looked at her picture in the newspaper she always looked like she was 25.
Shaun Keating: Oh I know.
G. Davidowitz: That’s kinda what Steve is doing with his-
Shaun Keating: Oh so that’s [crosstalk 00:08:05] I used to always do that with my, pictures. I do pictures, ads. When I do an ad I put my face on it always and I’d go and meet people and they’d say, “You don’t look like that dude.” And that got me fricken weird like ’cause I’d go to these dental shows and I’ve had silver hair, and back in the day I used to dye my hair when I was first starting off dark ’cause I was kind of embarrassed. I was going gray in my early 30s. But I always update my pictures man ’cause I know a lot of guys that are different lecturers and stuff and you see their pictures, and it’s like dude, fricken you gotta change that thing ’cause you don’t look like that. But I keep it updated but, no that’s cool. I’m sure you don’t look that much older Steve, so that’s pretty cool.
So let’s go with pops again. What are you most passionate about in terms of dentistry? I know you teach and everything. Any procedures you like more than others? I know you do a lot of that no-prep and minimally invasive and stuff, dental procedures stuff. But tell me a little bit about what you’re passionate about in terms of dentistry.
G. Davidowitz: Well you know, in the 40 years of my practice we’ve gone through various stages. In fact one of the ways that I’ve kept myself, my outlook very fresh is to kind of shift my focus over the years from various types of procedures. But aesthetic dentistry has always been my passion. I was actually at NYU when the team first developed the first porcelain veneer in the early 1980s. I wasn’t part of the team doing the research but I was there, and I started with my first porcelain veneer very soon after they came up with the chemistry to allow that bonding.
Shaun Keating: No kidding.
G. Davidowitz: And that’s, you know I just expanded on that throughout the years and I guess I would have to say that my first passion in dentistry is in aesthetic dentistry and helping correct dental facial aesthetics. There’s nothing more rewarding than having a patient walk out of the office literally crying when they see themselves in the mirror.
Shaun Keating: Oh I know. Don’t you love that.
G. Davidowitz: It’s very hard not to be passionate about that.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. You gotta love that. I mean I love it when I hear the patients were crying in the chair if they got their restorations and it’s just a, it’s a life changing experience for sure. Teeth make such a difference and it’s so, so neat.
What about you Steve? What do you like to do man? You like to do extractions, root canals? Tell me what your big thing is guy?
S. Davidowitz: I’ll tell you that my focus has been changing. It hasn’t been that long of my practicing career, but I’m approaching the ninth year of my practice and I’m looking at things a little differently. I’m looking at things through a prism of this holistic, digital, emotional dentistry. And I’m using that to drive people to not be single, too specific, but rather look at the whole mouth. Look how everything’s working together. So my focus has really gone a lot towards alignment of teeth, getting things into better positioning, using the digital atmosphere that we’re able to do and take digital molds and show what’s going on, how the mouth is aging perhaps prematurely, how we can change that through alignment, through crowns, veneers, restorations, periodontal treatments. So it’s really the whole gamut and a holistic approach to it, towards it.
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome dude. And I know you guys have been in the digital forefront, you know you were one of our first doctors to start sending us digital impressions, you know back in the day. I think it was like three or four years ago.
S. Davidowitz: That’s right, 2014. Yeah 2014.
The dental industry it’s just changing like never before. Technology, it’s just drastic changes, and if you keep your head in the sand and you don’t change along with it, there’s no way to really survive.
Shaun Keating: Oh no.
That’s amazing. Tell me a little bit. I know you use, you’re the iTero guy man and that’s just, that’s come a long way in the two, three years. I remember when it first came out, it was fricken the damn wand thing was like putting a mallet in a person’s head, trying to get them out. But I think they’ve improved the size. Tell me about the iTero a little bit. Heck I just got another scan from you on a fricken implant here. You want a butt margin. That’s patient Deborah, I can’t say that name but, I just came in and, I’m just loving it man and so fricken implant, porcelain butt margin. I got a buccal [inaudible 00:12:41] I’m gonna go semiprecious. I mean it’s awesome dude.
I mean so tell me, what about on the iTero. What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? Tell us some, ’cause a lot of my clients are just, they’re biting at the bit lately and I never really pushed it ’til recently, last year or so that I really felt comfortable because it’s so predictable, it’s just awesome. It just makes us just so much more predictable dentistry. But tell me a little bit about it.
S. Davidowitz: Yeah sorry. You know Dr. Gary, what was the scanner that we got initially? Was that the 3M Lava I think? Or the 3M-
G. Davidowitz: Yeah that was another one of my great business acumen-
S. Davidowitz: I was looking into the iTero before it was iTero. It was iTero® Intraoral Scanner.
G. Davidowitz: Yes.
S. Davidowitz: And then we had a rep come by, and they said, “Hey you should really just go for the 3M.” And looked at my father for advice and said, “What should we do?” It was a pretty machine. I mean it looked beautiful in the corner of the room where it collected dust for a couple of years. I mean it was this fairy dust that you had to spray over the patient. They looked like they just got out of a strip joint after a long night. The mouth had to be completely dry. This powder had to go everywhere, like the entire mouth just filled with powder. And it took like, I dunno, 10 minutes just to start the scan, that just trying to figure out how to use it, the wand was tremendous. But again. A beautiful looking machine and patients would say that they have technology, they don’t know what to do with it, but they have technology because it’s there.
But when Align took over iTero® Intraoral Scanner and they turned it into the iTero, I was very heavy in my Invisalign cases and the number of Invisalign cases I was doing. And they made the iTero really the only scanner that they would accept full impressions of, and for the exact detail to create the aligner and to make it work. So at that point it was a no-brainer when I decided to actually start using a scanner to go towards iTero. And it’s been great. They keep making it better and better. The restorative aspect of it, the orthodontic aspect of it. The new releases were following right through with my approach of stopping the aging of the mouth and looking at the whole picture. They’re allowing us now to take full scans of the mouth within a minute and a half you can have a full scan and time lapse it at any point so if a patient comes back, six months later, a year later, you take another one and a half minutes out of your examination, take a scan and you could overlay the image on top of each other and you could see. Hey look, your second molar here used to look really pretty about a year and a half ago, and look at that little cusp over there how it’s going down.
Shaun Keating: That’s amazing.
S. Davidowitz: You’re grinding like crazy.
Shaun Keating: It supra-erupted yeah or whatever.
S. Davidowitz: Yeah you should really get that implant. Since that was released and I’m showing that to patients they’re not going home thinking about it. They’re saying, “Get me that night guard. It doesn’t matter what my out-of-pocket is. I need to go get that implant. I see what’s happening.”
Shaun Keating: That’s amazing. It’s kinda like with the intraoral scanner back in the day. Just for the picture to show you your cracked amalgams. That was kinda, look it up on the TV screen. But this has come so far. Now what about the wand? Isn’t it a lot smaller now in the mouth? Like it’s not too big-
S. Davidowitz: Yeah Shaun they really perfected it. They made it smaller, there’s a silicone covering so it’s more comfortable for the patient.
They’re continuing to advance the technology, hopefully not making us buy a whole new machine and just upgrading the software. But even if they did upgrade the whole machine I would go for the new one because it’s just worth it to continue on with the technology.
Shaun Keating: Unbelievable.
Now what about you Dr. Gary? Do you got an iTero in your office too?
G. Davidowitz: Oh yes. We couldn’t-
Shaun Keating: Look at you guys.
G. Davidowitz: Your modern dental office without an optical scanner I think is like a baseball player without a bat. I go back to the time that the first CAD/CAM machine was introduced to dentistry; the CEREC machine back in the 1980s, the early 1980s, middle 1980s. And when I look at what we had to do to use that, obtain an optical scan that wasn’t anywhere near as exact as we have today, it’s an amazing transformation.
Shaun Keating: Oh it is.
G. Davidowitz: It’s almost like I remember asking my grandmother what it was like to fly in an airplane the first time, and she was telling me that she was still getting used to indoor bathrooms. So it’s like, I mean that’s how much things have changed in dentistry.
Shaun Keating: Oh it’s crazy.
G. Davidowitz: Totally amazing over the years. And I had that ability to be there throughout these years, to appreciate it.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, like you said with the Lava, I remember when the first CAD/CAMs came out for us. In the Lava industry the Lava was like the big boy. A buddy of mine down the street has a Lava, he had two of them, and he kinda just outsourced to a lot of labs and stuff. But the damn thing was 250 thousand dollars and it was like the size of a fricken bedroom. I mean it was huge. It was like three or four refrigerators you know, side by side, and oh fuck. I mean it’s just crazy that, and it was such a hard thing and so many processes doing this, doing that. And now we get these damn things, you know for 10 cents on the dollar compared to that. And it’s so much more predictable and better and it’s actually all ours. They’re from Roland, from a, you know a Japanese company. You know it’s just, it’s pretty amazing you know how it’s evolved and changed. But what about-
S. Davidowitz: Shaun how-
Shaun Keating: Yep go ahead.
S. Davidowitz: Shaun how is it on your end getting these scans? I just sent you a three unit bridge that I just inserted right before this podcast. How is the lab taking that on your end? [crosstalk 00:18:41]
Shaun Keating: You know my techs, a lot of my techs don’t like it, a lot of my guys. I mean, I used to be at about 120 employees. I’m down to about 85 now and I’m doing more work than ever and it’s more consistent and accurate. It’s just I got a few more machines now that are helping us with the accuracy, with, you know it’s just unbelievable on how it’s changed a shift in a dental laboratory to the digital dentistry.
And I’m an old fart, I mean I’m 33 years doing this too, and it’s just, I have my sons here, they’re 30, 32 and they’re the smart ones and my little guy, my creative dude here, Eric. He’s the, they’re just techy little geeky dudes and I like it but it’s dentistry the way it’s held me but we still have all these certified techs that you need to have people that know about teeth. They need to know Curve of Spee, Curve of Wilson, compensated curves, on and on and you know, merge profiles and contact circles and sluiceways and oblique ridges. You need to know that, and there’s people out there that think they can be a middleman and do this and push the button. No, there’s a lot to it and to get it right but we’d love it.
I really love just the digital impressions. It saves me so much on the shipping, but it just saving so much with the consistency and the accuracy. As I go on you know, shrinkage of impression material, shrinkage of alloys, you know, expansions. It’s still something that I just can’t, I pinch myself every day when I see the quality that we’re doing.
I’m going tomorrow, I had this lower left bridge that I had forever and I crack it and break it and it’s like, what do I got. It’s 19, 20, 21. So you know I [inaudible 00:20:27] 18, 19, 20. So this thing has been breaking and my dentist has been polishing it down you know. So it’s like, you have a lab Shaun. Let’s cut it off, it’s like no it’s okay. Finally, I said Dave let’s just do it so I’m going in tomorrow. It’s a little three unit bridge that you know back in our day my mom you know, single mom with five kids, we didn’t have a chance to get a crown back when we were young. It’s like, it’s called extraction you know so. They pulled out that molar in 19 or whatever and it’s like, so I had to do a little bridge and they cut down the natural you know, 20 and 18 whatever.
So tomorrow I’m gonna go in and we’re gonna do a fricken digital impression you know. I’m gonna go in there and Dr. Ringer’s gonna, he’s gonna cut off that old bridge, gonna send it over, we’re gonna do a model list. And I said dude I only got about a half an hour man. I gotta get home to these puppies. You know I got these two new dogs that are driving me and my wife crazy. So I’m go do it tomorrow myself, and I just, yeah I’m gonna do a BruxZir aesthetic on it man and I just, I love it. I just, I can’t wait to do it and for me I can do anything in my mouth I want. I’m gonna do this. But it’s just a, it’s a neat thing. I just, I don’t want you guys all to get into the mills in your office. I mean I’m not gonna promote that ’cause I think that’s you know, you’re gonna do two crowns, four crowns a day. Let’s go in there and take those impressions you know and send them off to me now.
No it’s exciting, it’s exciting and it’s just really a neat thing and there’s several of them on the market that work really well. And we’re just getting down to different doctors with different, you know systems. Like you’re probably one of the first guys I’ve had that actually worked with the iTero system and heck you’ve been doing it for a long time. iTero should putting you guys on the damn payroll and you’re going on internationally lecturing for these damn guys. Because you’re-
G. Davidowitz: You see I think we got ourselves an agent huh?
Shaun Keating: Yeah I’ll be your, I’ll be your, yeah your agent and I only want 10 percent you know but no.
S. Davidowitz: I remember working it out with Bob and you know, figuring out the work flow, you know it’s a new technology and we’re the first ones I think to send in scans of different incline systems and just try and figure out okay now where is this going and how do we take that in. But it’s come a long way. It’s come a long way.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. A couple of the guys, Steve came in and Bob and said, “Hey these doctors are really cool and they kick butt with the implants and everything.” And they’re big iTero guys and you know you’re so right when you said that iTero® Intraoral Scanner or whoever came in and bought them, ’cause they were kind of a weak company back in the day. I even had one of those systems. They let me use it here and stuff but you know, ’cause we have our own dental op here and we like to practice dentistry on our own here a little bit. I could be a damn good dentist. Don’t let no one know that but, I’m pretty good with the shots too. No I’m just kidding.
But they’ve come a long way with iTero® Intraoral Scanner and the new owners and they got some big time guys behind it so that’s awesome dudes so-
G. Davidowitz: So just be a little careful. We have a little law over here in New York. We have a professional responsibility that if we see someone practicing dentistry without a license we’re required to report you. So don’t open the door at night.
Shaun Keating: Well you know what, I’m just kidding man. I can’t even, no. I got dentists that do it here for me so no, it’s funny.
But hey, so tell me a little bit about your practice locations. Now you guys got two different practices. Now how did that work out Steven? Did your dad help you start? Did you guys go ground up? Did you buy existing practice? Tell me, Dr. Gary tell me about where your practice is and then Dr. Steve tell me where yours is and how it started and what area of town you in there exactly?
G. Davidowitz: Right. So I’ve been in Brooklyn as I said, and it’s a very stable community, and therefore I have a family practice here. In fact just the other day I actually had a fifth generation patient. Fifth generation patient from the same family, which is absolutely phenomenal. But I can tell you it’s a very common sight in my office to see a third and fourth generation. You know it’s a stable community where children grow up, get married and really stay in the neighborhood. And I’ve been fortunate to keep many of them as my patients throughout these 40 years.
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome.
G. Davidowitz: So that’s one of my practices. Dr. Steven sees most of his patients in the Upper East Side. And a little different type of demographic. Steven, you want to say something about that?
S. Davidowitz: Yeah sure. So just taking a step back. In growing up, I grew up in the area where my father has his existing practice that’s been going on now for what is it? 39 years?
G. Davidowitz: 39 and a half. Yeah something like that. [inaudible 00:25:14]
S. Davidowitz: And I got to see, I got to see his rise in the community and how much respect he got from people just walking down the street. Everybody knew Gary Davidowitz and he’s a big part of that community.
Definitely wanted to go into dentistry, seeing my father and the respect that he got and, you know loving science and loving the health care. But I definitely didn’t want to be in that same environment. I wanted to kind of branch out a little bit. So we decided together to venture out and open up a practice in New York City, a non pre-existing office, brand new. Spent the first year and a half sitting, waiting for somebody to knock on the door. My pop told me that when he did that in Brooklyn, he hung up a shingle outside and then people just started coming. So thing is, in New York City you hang up a shingle, nobody’s noticing.
Shaun Keating: Exactly. Gotta have a hot dog stand out in front of the dirty dogs.
S. Davidowitz: But miracles are miracles, you know one patient turns to two, two turns to ten, ten turns to twenty and so on and so forth. And if you love what you do and you treat people the right way, and you do good dentistry, and you follow your father’s footsteps as best as you can, things work out. So that’s where my practice is, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Shaun Keating: That’s great. That’s a high rent district isn’t it?
S. Davidowitz: It is the stupidest place to open a practice.
G. Davidowitz: We are probably, we are probably the only people in our universe that thought of opening up a practice from scratch in Manhattan, and certainly in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Shaun Keating: That’s crazy.
G. Davidowitz: In the last 40 years probably.
Shaun Keating: But now it’s probably, in fact genius you think about it. I mean just the value of the property, everything. I mean it’s probably, it’s smart. That’s the way you do it.
G. Davidowitz: Steven is very, you know Steven is very modest but he has a reputation now that far exceeds my reputation in very few short years and has built up a beautiful aesthetic oriented practice and-
Shaun Keating: Yeah you should be proud. The kid’s crushing it man. That’s for darn sure and that’s awesome.
Now tell me a little bit about, where is some of your CE there Steven. Let’s go with you like, some of the CE like, your pops has probably taught you a lot, but any continuing education that sticks out a little bit more. Like where did you do your implant training and stuff like that or-
S. Davidowitz: I did my implant training out in NYU where I went to dental school. So I went back there. They had a joint program with the International Congress of Oral Implantology. It’s a two year program, part-time. Place loads of implants there. Great, great people in charge that you can learn a heck of a lot from. So very hands on. And that was great, that was my first venture into CE for the first two years after graduating and after my residency that I did in Brooklyn Hospital.
And then since then it’s really trying to keep an open mind, trying not to be swayed by fancy hotels and resorts. And to realize that you can really get good continuing education right here in New York City. You can take some courses online. You can find things that, that work in your schedule without really you know, falling for kind of a gimmicky company that’s trying to get you in.
So I spent a lot of my other CE’s all around, all around general dentistry. A lot of went to Align, to Invisalign. I did some training on using Botox and trigger point injections.
Shaun Keating: Ah you’re kidding.
S. Davidowitz: For those suffering from TMJ. This order we’ve had great success keeping your crowns stable by, you know, for those that will chew through a BruxZir crown, which is impossible you would think.
Shaun Keating: But they can.
S. Davidowitz: But yeah you give them so Botox into the masseter and temporalis and you relax them and get them into a more functional state. The prosthetics just have a such better chance of survival.
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome dude. You can go in between the eyes too. Get some of those frown lines for the hell of it, say-
S. Davidowitz: That’s right. That I saved for this house and staff.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. You need an extra 10 cc’s. That’s four hundred fifty dollars. That’s fricken great dude.
Well hey, Dr. Gary, tell me a little bit about your smile makeover techniques. You know you still doing a lot of those no-preps or, that’s kinda, I used to do so many of those fricken, you know veneers when the lumineers were so huge back in the day. But you know, those guys, the quality of that was horrible and then the doctors had to do a certain amount with the guys from DenMat. But I would do all their, all their prepless you know, veneers. I’d do them out of foil veneers you know. We knew them at [inaudible 00:30:13] you know and platinum foil technique, kind of a Strupp à la Strupp type thing. Taught me way back in the day. But you still doing a lot of that? Tell me a little bit on their smile makeover techniques if you could.
G. Davidowitz: Yeah so as I said I got into aesthetic dentistry in the early 80s. At the very early instancy of that field. [crosstalk 00:30:34]
Shaun Keating: So you know, you know Rosenthal out there at all?
G. Davidowitz: Sure, sure, sure.
Shaun Keating: And what’s his name, Dollar Dickerson-
G. Davidowitz: Yeah I mean I was there before him but I know sure, we know, we know, we know all the guys. So I actually taught aesthetic dentistry at NYU for many years, I was clinic chief of their aesthetic clinic.
So we’ve gone full circle with a lot of different techniques. For instance, just to go off the aesthetic dentistry topic. We’re talking about implants. I remember when implants first came out, or became very popular most of our implants were screw retained direct implant prosthesis. And then for whatever reason we moved away from that and thought of using separate abutments, screw-in abutments and cementable crowns. I’ve gone back now to trying to do as many screw retained crowns as possible, because I’ve just found that the issues are much less when you have a prosthetic prosthesis like that.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely.
G. Davidowitz: So, in implant dentistry and as well in aesthetic dentistry things have evolved over the years and sometimes we’ve gone full circle and made a full circle back to what we were doing originally. The first veneers that came out were all non-prep veneers and most of them really did not have very good aesthetic outcome, as you could imagine. Especially when teeth were labial to your position that you wanted to end up with, and you could imagine what those looked like by just putting on veneers onto that. And that’s also gone not full circle back, but today we do utilize the no-prep or minimal-prep veneers when we’re trying to bring teeth outward labially. But I’m not a big fan of doing that just to save tooth structure because the whole idea of aesthetic dentistry is to have a good result at the end, and if you try to compromise by not reducing tooth structure when it’s called for, you just end up with a very poor aesthetic result. So I’m not a great fan of no-prep veneers but I am a very big fan of minimal-prep veneers.
Shaun Keating: Yeah absolutely.
G. Davidowitz: And the way to keep it at a minimal level, is to use the types of techniques that I helped develop at NYU, what’s today known as template technique, where you utilize wax-ups and cosmetic imaging and use guides to limit the amount of tooth structure that you remove, and only remove what’s necessary to get your desired result.
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome dude. So we’re doing stuff that’s all because of Dr. D!
G. Davidowitz: And you know what, not only Dr. D but-
Shaun Keating: No I meant Dr. Gary.
G. Davidowitz: I’ve worked long enough, I’ve been fortunate enough to be working with really high quality clinicians and ceramicists like yourself. Like I said it’s been very rewarding and very enjoyable.
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome. So tell me, what do you guys do to drive practice. I mean, it’s probably a lot of word of mouth. But are you guys doing any internal marketing, you doing any like social media? Do you do any, any like magazine, you know, print in airplanes, or tell me a little bit of what makes you guys successful in getting all these people to your practices.
S. Davidowitz: Yeah so I mean, I’ll take that one. I think I’ve tried it all over here. You know, starting fresh and trying to get that first patient though the door.
So it started with print and some online advertising early on when Google AdWords were just first starting. Print I feel and I felt then was dead and I grew with it today. I don’t think people are picking up those papers anymore or at least they’re not looking through the advertising sections, on there.
Shaun Keating: So those 10,000 dollar ads that I’m putting in the, you’re just, you’re just, you’re not throwing them away are not bad. ‘Cause that’s what I feel.
S. Davidowitz: Right, right. But I’ll tell you what though, if I could get those who are looking for a dentist to actually pick up a magazine just for dentists, you know that’s a different story. So, when you’re advertising to us, you know in a small demographic but you put it into a local paper and there’s everything under the sun from playgroups for their kids to the shopping center down the hall and then it says, “Dentist: I do Invisalign and crowns”. It gets lost and it used to be a source of you know, trying to find where to go and, and who’s the best but you picked up a newspaper but these days it’s just a Google search.
Shaun Keating: Yeah.
S. Davidowitz: And reviews and that’s really what it comes down to. It’s amassing those reviews and getting a good online reputation. Making sure that you’re on some form of social media so the people want to make sure you actually exist and they want to see a little bit more, they want to see some photos and get to know you, ’cause that’s the way the generation is now. They feel like they know you when they see you online.
Shaun Keating: Exactly.
S. Davidowitz: So, that’s really where I put all of my advertising or social media time is to making sure that I have some awareness online of who I am, and make sure that the reviews are positive and that they keep coming.
Shaun Keating: That’s so awesome. I’ve never had it flipped on me where a dentist told me that like that and I understand it, ’cause I always say with me, you know I got the guys at Anaheim Stadium or whatever, these different big companies that, hey Shaun, it’s Keating let’s market to it and it’s like dude there can be a hundred thousand people in the stadium but there’s only gonna be like two hundred dentists or if that or maybe fifty. And it’s just such a hard market for me to pigeonhole just for dentists and it’s just weird that, you know and the same thing with you with patients. I always though it’s be easy for a dentist ’cause all the patients are your customers but it’s kid of hard to get you know, someone interested in that dental part of it I guess. Yeah, it goes both ways I guess.
It’s just, there is no magic answer you know, for the marketing on what works you know, because you look at the movie industry, you look at rock and roll music, buying albums. You look at malls. Everything is changing in life and there’s no magic pill and like marketing you know. I could spend five million dollars a year marketing and there’s no guarantee that I’m gonna get ten or fifteen million that I need to get off of that five million to break even. You know, it just, there’s no, and so that’s why I try to spread it. I’ll try to go social media, little print, little interweb, little, you know podcast. I’m trying it but it’s not like you know, there’s no set thing that works in anything-
S. Davidowitz: Right, and it’s gonna continuously evolve. I mean at 25 years ago all you had was print and you could also have a little bit of radio. And if you told somebody at that point you know what, print is gonna be dead. You’re not gonna get patients from putting things in print. You’re gonna have to go onto the internet, they would say, “What is that?” Right, and for now you can’t live without the internet, there’s gonna be, and now the kids don’t even go onto the internet, they go on their phones, right. So it turned into everything mobile and everything had to be adapted to your website, and now it has to fit onto a little tiny screen on a phone and that’s how you gotta get patients in. And who knows what’s gonna happen next.
Shaun Keating: It’s so, I’m so glad I’m almost done with this thing man. No.
G. Davidowitz: I hate to keep going back and making it sound like I come from the Stone Age. But when I started practicing, not only was it illegal for us to advertise, they even had rules and regulations on how large our shingle could be. I think the maximum size was like, the letters couldn’t be more than two inches high. And that was about it. That was our entire advertising budget was spent on buying the shingle. That was it.
Shaun Keating: Can you believe that. Damn!
G. Davidowitz: [inaudible 00:38:33]
Shaun Keating: You are now, you only got like five years on me dude. You’re not that bad. But that’s crazy how it’s come so far from there man. That’s unbelievable.
G. Davidowitz: Well you know what? It’s still the same truth holds today that a satisfied customer, a satisfied patient in our case really is the best advertising.
Shaun Keating: It is.
G. Davidowitz: You know you can spend all the money in the world but if you don’t have satisfied patients. You don’t-
Shaun Keating: That’s it.
G. Davidowitz: Be well for and with them, it’s not gonna help you.
Shaun Keating: The golden rule man. Take care of your patients-
G. Davidowitz: Do good dentistry.
Shaun Keating: There, do good dentistry-
G. Davidowitz: Do good dentistry, work with great labs. Both are very important.
Shaun Keating: Gary, I love you Gary.
G. Davidowitz: It’s really very important.
Shaun Keating: [inaudible 00:39:13] You guys got a good deli out there at all? What’s your go-to deli out there?
G. Davidowitz: Deli. Well actually we have a 2nd Avenue deli right across the street from us on. Both Steven and I don’t eat there because we try to keep our weight off. He’s much more successful than I am. [crosstalk 00:39:30]
Shaun Keating: That’s me man. I’m a fricken deli dude. This last year I got this craze that I eat these, what is it fricken, matzah ball soup dude. Never had that stuff like, what the heck, what are them big balls? And I got this thing now, it’s got chicken pieces in it, and you want noodles today Shaun or do you want rice? You know that you have with it? And then I get my corned beef on rye with Swiss and I get the spicy deli mustard man. There ain’t nothing, my wife’s like what are you get? So now I got, I’m ordering deli you know, not pastrami but the corned beef from, I forgot the name of it. Johnny’s I think it’s from Lou Malnati’s. I get it and there’s this, oh man it’s crazy but yeah. You can see the 10 pounds I put on this last year from those deli sandwiches. You gotta watch that but that’s good stuff.
S. Davidowitz: Shaun, when you come in for the show at the New York convention, I’m gonna take you to some good deli’s. We’ll go out.
Shaun Keating: Dude let’s do it. Yeah we gotta do that. I’m in and we’ll be there. And then we got the pizza-
S. Davidowitz: Nobody does it, nobody does it like New York.
Shaun Keating: I know. I always heard like the Katz. I see it on TV and I never been to that one but see I’m not into that two feet high. I want to be able to get that thing in my mouth but, yeah I just, I’m a big meat guy so I mean I love my pastrami, I love my corn. I was always a pastrami guy but now it’s like the corned beef on rye and then I used to always just do without the cheese. Now I got the, the lady goes, “Why don’t you try it with the Swiss?” Now I’m like, heck yeah! Bring it on out. Ah look it I get all excited talking about food.
Well dude let’s wrap this up pretty quick here. What else can we do, what can you give me some advice for my younger dentist starting off? Anything advice? Dos, don’ts, starting off? They got a lot of guys starting off. They got a lot of debt but just some quick advice. What you could you know, throw out there for some of my people that, you know, could, starting off or even some that have been in it. What can they do to, I think we talked a little bit about it here in golden rule and just, taking care of your patients. But what other kind of advice can you guys give me for some of my other doctors out there?
G. Davidowitz: While we were on the subject of laboratories as I was saying a few minutes ago, I almost always at some point in one of my lectures to dental students, emphasize the fact that a key element in a successful dental practice is having a positive working relationship with your laboratory and your lab techs.
Shaun Keating: Hallelujah.
G. Davidowitz: I can’t empathize enough the need to have open two-way channels of communication with your lab tech. That all goes towards what I was saying a few minutes ago about just doing well for your patients. And practicing the right way. You know laboratories are our partners in restorative dentistry and again I can’t empathize that enough. Choose the right laboratory and make sure you don’t skimp on that part because if you do, there’s no way that your dental work and dental treatment is gonna be at a high quality.
Shaun Keating: Yeah but I always kinda kid around and say a dentist is only as good as his lab. Because a dentist can do their best preps in the world but if he’s got a shitty-ass lab, you know you’re not gonna have patients and showing their teeth and people and talking to people. I just think it really goes hand in hand.
How did you guys find out about my lab back then? How’d you find out about Keating at all?
G. Davidowitz: I think it was in a print magazine.
Shaun Keating: Aw you’re a funny one Gary. All my Dentaltown magazines and USA, or ADA news they’re gonna love that. Yeah. And I stopped doing it recently. I wonder what, no. That’s funny Gary. No but how, how is it-
S. Davidowitz: We are actually looking for a laboratory that was continuously evolving along with technology. And we got into the iTero and you guys had the iTero up there. You did everything that you’re supposed to do. You put some social media up, you had some videos. So, you know my young mind went right there and I said whoa!
G. Davidowitz: I have to be honest, my old mind was kind of resisting it because I was always the guy who liked working with a lab tech who was around the corner. So I resisted it for quite awhile, but you know the older small laboratories tended not to keep up with modern technology. They in many cases couldn’t afford it or they were getting older, they didn’t have the drive anymore. And you know there are many large laboratories out there, but what you guys have that’s really special, a way of making a large laboratory small, in a sense where we can have that communication with one or two guys, and someone to always speak to and always have the ability to speak to the tech that’s actually doing our work. So-
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome.
G. Davidowitz: That’s really what brought us to you and what keeps us with you.
Shaun Keating: Ah that’s so cool.
G. Davidowitz: And why I would recommend you guys to anybody who asks.
Shaun Keating: Ah, I love you man. Thank you so much on that dude. That is so, and we try to emulate a small one or two man lab and we, we do pretty good at it just …
Hey I want to thank everybody for joining us on the Dental Lab podcast show this week. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or search “Dental Lab podcast” on iTunes and get our weekly feed. Don’t forget to visit keatingdentallab.com/promo for exclusive offers.
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Have the same techs doing your work and same people answering the phones and my people don’t leave me. In 15 years I have no turnover and I got a waiting list of people who want to work for me but, if I get a few more crowns we’ll hire a couple more of these hot people but, that’s beautiful dude. I can’t thank you enough. What about you Steve. What are you-
S. Davidowitz: I tell you what. We share that. At my father’s office he has people who are on his staff for 30 years, and I’m keeping my staff going strong for the past many years. You treat your staff right and you come into work and you’re a team, you’re here for the patients and to you know, do everything you can to give them the best experience as possible as a team, you’ll keep them around.
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome.
S. Davidowitz: And you know-
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome!
S. Davidowitz: That’s a very big part of it.
Shaun Keating: You can’t teach that. That is-
S. Davidowitz: If you have a good team you don’t let them leave, you know?
Shaun Keating: Exactly.
S. Davidowitz: You don’t let them leave.
Shaun Keating: You know what, you’re only as good as your people no matter what you do in life. You take care of your people and treat people good and like you said Dr. Gary, you know, word of mouth from your patients it’s still, even when we do our monthly meetings on PNL’s and everything. It’s like our number one thing, and I’m spending all this money on print. I’m spending all this money on direct mail and all this stuff. And still the number one thing to get doctors in is referral and word of mouth and it’s like at 45 percent. I mean if everything I get is just from the doctors you know, telling me Shaun, got this guy might be a good person, whatever. But it’s like you guys. Patients telling other patients that’s, you don’t, you know and a lot of guys that they’ve never had to do a marketing a day in their life and it’s still that way from different parts of the U.S. They take care of their patients. They practice good dentistry and you treat people like you want to be treated and it comes back to you. And there’s no magic thing other than what you said there, and I think it’s a great thing and, you know guys hat’s off.
What a great story and, that little eight-year-old man I wanna see him on the damn baseball field or something in the pros or basketball, football. Whatever we got, but you know we gotta work a fund, a GoFundMe page for his training ’cause we want the best.
S. Davidowitz: So remember the name. It’s Eli Davidowitz. Everyone remember that name.
Shaun Keating: Ah. Eli’s coming. I love that. That’s a great name dude. That’s great. That’s awesome.
G. Davidowitz: But to be honest with you I’m kind of expecting him and hoping that he follows his father and grandfather.
Shaun Keating: Oh heck yeah. Put him to dentist. I mean my-
S. Davidowitz: Either way remember that name. Yeah either way.
Shaun Keating: Hey I want him as a customer. Let’s forget sports. Let’s get him into dental practice. We could do like a Doogie Howser, get that kid through school quicker and have him get his license by the time he’s 20, 21.
S. Davidowitz: Love it.
Shaun Keating: We’ll send him over to Columbia, get one of those two year licenses and then bring him back. No. Okay I’ll shut up there.
Hey guys I can’t thank you enough. We gotta wrap this up. Anything else you guys want to say. You want to say or get a shout out to mom or anything or? Okay.
S. Davidowitz: Hi mom. Thank you Shaun for having us. This is a lot of fun and a great way-
G. Davidowitz: Yes it was.
S. Davidowitz: To end a long day. Yep.
Shaun Keating: I’ll see you guys at the Greater New York and cocktails are on me and I want some good deli guys.
S. Davidowitz: All right.
G. Davidowitz: Shaun, you’re gonna have two less crowns next week because you kept us on this podcast there. Couldn’t send anymore crowns to you today.
Shaun Keating: I’ll hook you guys up. I’ll make some extras for him. I’ll give him a, send me a full arch of the upper and I’ll make him some Halloween grills, a Dracula or something you can put on him or some wrapper grill or something. I’ll make it up to you guys. Whatever you want.
S. Davidowitz: All right.
Shaun Keating: All right guys.
G. Davidowitz: Take care. Thank you.
Shaun Keating: Again thanks again, really appreciate it.
S. Davidowitz: All right.
Shaun Keating: All right bye-bye.