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Every time I signed up for Zoom whitening, they told me my teeth were too white. As much of a compliment as that served, it denied me my opportunity for “mother of pearl” teeth. A trip to Dr. Rubinov’s office in New York last November helped to change my entire perspective.
As a person who works in front of and behind the camera, I have to stay polished and that’s a serious struggle. I know that in order to be taken seriously, I have to look and play the part. On the flip side, I don’t need little baby blue-white teeth. This fact was made clear after my visit as I walked in expecting to get denied, but went along with the process naturally.
Dr. Rubinov made a point to get to know me from the moment I walked in. His office had the perfect vibe and they were playing Mariah Carey, so my mood mellowed out. We got to talking about my hometown and the passion behind the magazine. When the time came to assess the whitening, Dr. Rubinov told me that he was confident that he could go lighter. Alas, someone with a gift. I sat back and let him work his magic. We finished up with a tooth match and ‘lo and behold, I had moved up two shades. My insane obsession with the blue color was over, but I had a chance to go lighter on the scale. That blue color wasn’t even on the chart. My confidence was off the chart from the experience, not just the procedure. The experience that I felt at Dr. Rubinov’s office deserved attention.
What made you want to become a dentist?
Becoming a dentist wasn’t really something I chose, it was a calling. My father was a dentist who blazed a trail by establishing his practice here in the Tri-State area after we immigrated from the Soviet Union. I am actually a third-generation dentist, following in the footsteps of my grandfather, who was a luminary in early Russian dentistry. Even my grandmother taught me tricks of the trade based on her decades of dental experience. It was something that I have been drawn to my whole life and I love changing people’s lives through the dental arts.
How important is self esteem to you?
There is nothing as important as having confidence in yourself. This source of strength can come from many different places. One of the pillars is health. Not only do your neurotransmitters have to be firing right, but you need to feel healthy to maintain your self-esteem. Many people don’t realize how much of your overall health actually starts with your oral cavity, the gateway to systemic health. And there are also a wide array of esthetic dental treatments that can help project how you’re feeling inside out into the world.
What is the average age of people you treat?
My clientele ranges from 12 to 92. Everyone can use high-quality dental treatment. My passion for helping people as a medical professional benefits anyone who walks into my office.
Let’s talk culture, a crooked smile is a bit more accepted in Europe and Asia. Why are Americans so focused on perfectly straight teeth?
This is a great question. Orthodontists have really advanced the norms around a ‘typical’ smile and we have to give them credit. Plus, our country is also very image conscious, as evidenced by the rise of social media. But I think a straight and proper smile is also a healthier and more enjoyable one. It’s not just about appearances —there are usually medical reasons for improving one’s dental alignment. There are also many techniques, such as porcelain veneers, which can provide excellent esthetic results without the time commitment of braces and much of the same emotional and medical benefits.
Do you ever have clients who are not satisfied with the work you have completed? How do you approach that?
I communicate very closely with my patients and talk to them extensively before we start any treatment. I can take patients through a Smile Mapping process to make sure our visions are aligned. We make sure we’re on the same page beforehand and then I deliver exactly what they are looking for. I hold a dental degree from Columbia University and took a prestigious residency at the Bronx VA, an affiliate of Mt Sinai Medical Center. My patients are always very satisfied because I have worked tirelessly at my craft.
Aside from the usual brush and floss, what other lifestyle choices should people make for their oral hygiene?
Based on my time working as a researcher at Johnson & Johnson prior to dental school, I know overall health and wellness begins with dental health. It is the gateway to a healthy you. I tend to recommend natural and simple remedies for maintaining oral health. The key is to be committed to a regular routine that you can follow through with every day.
Do you ever get people who are addicted to getting their teeth whiter or straighter?
I have come across several people who I coin as “Bleach Junkies” because they want to have professional bleaching procedures on a daily basis. I educate my patients on how the overuse of such products can have a negative affect in color and cause brittle teeth. Unlike other medical fields, once your teeth are done right, they are done. For example, if I complete porcelain veneers, they will last you 15-20 years; your perfect smile is practically permanent. But you have to come in for check-ups at least twice a year to make sure everything is humming along.
How would you say your practice differs from competitors?
I am one of the best dentists in Manhattan. I have been able to build on the history of my family tradition with a world-class education and cutting-edge technology to provide a relaxing, state-of-the-art dental experience. I practice alongside a long-time mentor of mine, Dr. Michael F. Kraus, who has built a great reputation and is a leader in the field. I’m also able to provide a focus on overall body health that others aren’t attuned to. Plus, I make every experience fun; patients love coming in to see me.
What do you do in order to stay fit and ready for work?
I go on runs around New York with my dog; do strength training; get in some boxing-focused circuit training at Rumble, and practice yoga to stay limber. I am passionate about skiing, hiking, and have recently taken up surfing as a fun way to enjoy time out on the water.
How do you UNDO-ORDINARY?
I make sure to bring artistry to my interactions with people every day so that they can break through barriers and become a better version of themselves. I have taken the most that I can from the arts, history, and creative energy around me and use it to propel me toward excelling at what I do best. Everyone has to find their own path and take it to to the top.