If you’re in need of a great dentist, look no further. New Jersey Monthly’s annual Jersey Choice Top Dentists list is here.
Below, we spotlight five of them and learn what makes them smile, both in and out of the office.
Dr. Jason M. Auerbach
ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY
Offices: Riverside Oral Surgery in River Edge and 9 other locations throughout New Jersey
In practice: 20 years
As the official oral surgeon for the New Jersey Devils, Dr. Jason M. Auerbach’s practice has seen a lot of blood.
“Facial injuries and dental injuries in hockey players are pretty substantial,” says Dr. Auerbach, who lives in Bergen County. “They take sticks, pucks and elbows to the face. A puck can hit a guy in the face under the mask. Guys get in fights and get broken jaws, teeth knocked out. There are injuries in practice, too.”
In fact, Dr. Auerbach has seen so much blood that he started an Instagram account, @bloodytoothguy, that is so popular it has amassed more than 184,000 followers. The account features videos of Dr. Auerbach performing oral and maxillofacial surgery; hence, the bloody part. He says that dental surgeons from around the world follow his page and learn from his techniques. “I love what I do—it’s a passion,” he says. “I love oral surgery because I like problem solving and fixing things. It’s a real creative outlet.”
Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a hybrid of medicine and surgery. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons, Dr. Auerbach says, are the primary treaters of facial injuries in hospitals. He opened his office in 2007 and grew it to 10 locations with 15 surgeons, the largest oral surgery practice in New Jersey. Procedures performed include wisdom tooth extraction, dental implants and bone grafting.
He says that while some of his patients dread seeing him at first, he prides himself on converting them into fans of his work. “Most people come to me in pain, and they’re scared,” he says. “But they leave relatively comfortable. I shoot for the optimal patient experience every time.” —Jacqueline Mroz
Dr. Rosalie P. Nguyen
Office: Edgewater Pediatric Dentistry in Edgewater
In practice: 18 years
Dr. Rosalie P. Nguyen knew from a young age exactly what she wanted to do when she grew up—become a pediatric dentist—and for the last 18 years, she’s gotten to do just that.
While she was in high school, she went through the yellow pages of the phone book looking for pediatric dentists. She called one in Piscataway and asked to shadow her. The dentist agreed, and after a week of volunteering, Dr. Nguyen was offered a job there as a dental assistant, making $5 an hour.
“Once I got my foot in the door, that opened up more opportunities for me,” she says.
That summer, she took another temporary dental-assisting position, this time with a dentist in Somerville. Dr. Nguyen also worked for a general dentist whose office offered specialties including oral surgery and periodontal work.
After receiving her dental degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Dr. Nguyen completed her general practice residency at St. Joseph’s Children Hospital and University Medical Center in Paterson.
She underwent extensive training at the Rose F. Kennedy Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center in New York City, where she provided dental care for young patients with physical and developmental disabilities.
She began practicing in 2005, and four years later, she founded Edgewater Pediatric Dentistry.
Dr. Nguyen is also specially trained to treat children of all ages with sedation dentistry options, including nitrous oxide, oral sedation, in-office intravenous sedation, and general anesthesia, which is done in a hospital setting.
She says she’s driven by the philosophy that all children, including those with special needs, deserve excellent dental care that meets their personal needs. —JM
Dr. Nihal Kamel
Office: Aesthetic Dental Solutions in Cranbury
In practice: 21 years
Dr. Nihal Kamel always knew she wanted to be a dentist, teach and have a family. Today, she runs a dental practice in Cranbury, teaches at Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, and is a mom of two.
“I have, I think, the best of all the worlds,” she says.
Dr. Kamel opened her practice in 2002 when she was nine months pregnant. Since then, she has maintained a philosophy that suits her mostly female workplace: “We’re moms, but we’re also good at what we do, and we can do both.”
The team works to create a collaborative environment where each employee has the opportunity to have both a career and a family life. Sometimes, that involves one employee pitching in when another needs to care for a sick child at home.
Because of this, Dr. Kamel didn’t have to choose between being a dentist and an involved parent. Dr. Kamel was the parents’ association president of her kids’ elementary school, and made sure to be on every class trip. “I was not going to give up any time with my children for my career, but at the same time, I was able to have this successful career, and I think people respected me more because they saw me out and about in town and doing normal-people things. I wasn’t just the dentist,” she says.
Beautifully, Dr. Kamel says, “we found a way to make it a great environment for the staff, but also for the patients.” Patients use massage chairs and watch TV while waiting. “We really try to relax them as much as they possibly can be,” Dr. Kamel says, adding that she looks at patients’ “overall health, not just their dental health. Everything’s tied in together.”
And, she says, being confident in your smile is a major factor in happiness and success. “I’m a very function-based but also aesthetic-based practice,” she says. “How your teeth feel is just as important [as] how they look.”
One of her greatest joys is “being able to give the person that confidence that they have a beautiful smile and that they can take on the world.” —Olivia Bardo
Dr. Jared Eisen
Office: New York-New Jersey Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry in West Orange
In practice: 21 years
When patients first enter Dr. Jared Eisen’s dental office, they smell vanilla and hear their favorite music.
The reason? Dr. Eisen, a general practitioner who focuses on reconstructive work, wants patients to feel at ease the moment they walk in the door. “We really try to make the office as approachable as possible,” he says.
For Dr. Eisen, a graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, music is a key part of his office life and also his out-of-office life. In the office, patients get to choose the tunes they hear while getting work done. “When they come in and the music they want to hear is playing in the office, it makes a big difference for them,” he says.
Growing up in Livingston, he learned to play the violin and drums, and as an adult, he taught himself to play the guitar, bass, piano and saxophone. Dr. Eisen also writes and records his own music in the home he shares with his wife and two daughters. Sometimes, he plays recordings of his own music in the office, from rock to blues to pop, and has even been known to play guitar chairside for his patients.
Dr. Eisen says he and his team are committed to putting patients at ease, taking the guesswork out of the experience, restoring the feeling of control, and giving them the best care possible. “It’s very much a collaborative process between me, the other doctors I work with, the patients and my staff,” he says, including his wife, Lara Merker, a periodontist.
He says the best part of his job is when a patient is able to eat favorite foods for the first time in 20 years—or feels confident to smile again. —OB
Francis William Short
Office: Short Orthodontics in Linwood
In practice: 20 years
Dr. Francis William Short had been working as a structural engineer for five years when he came to a realization: He wasn’t as happy as he could’ve been. He decided to achieve a childhood dream and become an orthodontist.
Growing up in Pennsylvania, Dr. Short had braces as a child, and his interactions at the orthodontist’s office made him feel like it would be an ideal career to pursue. But when he was a high school student applying to colleges, he was intimidated by how much schooling it would take.
Dr. Short decided to go into engineering like his father. While he enjoyed the profession, he left it behind to fulfill his orthodontics dream, earning his degree from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.
“There’s a lot of overlap in structural engineering and orthodontics because we’re using forces to move teeth,” Dr. Short says, explaining how his engineering background applies to his current career. “It was very helpful [in my schooling] as well; my background helped me understand certain concepts.”
He had planned to open a practice in Florida, but he and his wife, who is from New Jersey, realized they would miss friends and family. Dr. Short fell in love with the Shore, so he opened his practice in Linwood 20 years ago. But Dr. Short’s surfing-themed office keeps his Florida days alive. A big surfboard hangs from the ceiling in the waiting room, and TVs around the office play surfing movies on loop.
Dr. Short says the biggest change he’s seen during his time in the field is the introduction of intraoral scanning. This tool, a toothbrush-sized wand that takes thousands of pictures of the inside of patients’ mouths, provides an easier yet more precise alternative to teeth impressions.
Helping his patients feel comfortable in their own smiles is a top priority for Dr. Short, and it warms his heart when young patients tell him they want to follow in his career footsteps.
“It really touches me and makes me feel good about what I’m doing and how it went for them that they would consider it,” he says. —Thomas Neira
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