Dr. Sivan Finkel earned his DMD degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 2010, followed by a year-long residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, and two years of aesthetics training at New York University’s College of Dentistry. In addition to his formal education, Dr. Finkel also possesses a talent that cannot be taught: he is a natural artist. While in college, Dr. Finkel majored in art alongside his pre-dental requirements, realizing that his two passions would go hand-in-hand. Today, his background in art guides each of his smile transformations. A fundamental understanding of beauty and what pleases the eye shapes Dr. Finkel’s approach to every case. This artistic sensibility, combined with a sound respect for the biology involved and thefunctional requirements of our teeth, allows him to create beautiful, natural-looking smiles in the most responsible and conservative manner possible.

Sivan Finkel is an active member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the Society for Color and Appearance in Dentistry. He has been featured on Good Day New York and theToday Show as a dental expert, lectures regularly to both local and international groups, and is co-author of a forthcoming textbook on the latest cosmetic dental procedures.  In addition to his private practice at Manhattan’s Dental Parlour, he is also a clinical instructor and education co-director at NYU College of Dentistry‘s aesthetics department, where he continues to teach, learn, and stay on the cutting edge of his field.

1. What’s the biggest mistake you see people make with their oral healthcare?

I see people skip cleaning appointments, waiting too long in between check-up visits, or only coming in for cleaning when something is hurting. The thing with dentistry is, issues escalate very quickly — meaning a simple cavity can progress to a root canal/crown situation in a couple months if left untreated. By the time something is sensitive or painful in your mouth, it’s usually progressed into a more complicated, more costly fix. So I advise all my patients to stay on that 6-month cycle for checkups, so I can spot issues early on.

2. What’s one of the most common problems you see with your patients?

One of the most common problems I see is when I meet a patient who comes to me for a second opinion regarding cosmetics, and I hear what other dentists have proposed. People, especially young people, need to be wary of so-called cosmetic dentists, as this is not an actual recognized specialty — i.e. any general dentist can say they are a “cosmetic dentist,” most do, and unfortunately the vast majority are simply not trained in cosmetics and not caught up to the state of the art. As a dentist who lives, breathes and sleeps cosmetic dentistry (I’m a huge nerd!) I am constantly re-educating my patients after they have been quoted for costly, invasive dentistry (i.e. 20 veneers to the tune of $40,000.) I love doing veneers more than anyone, but they are simply not for everybody, and I find myself talking many patients out of an entire mouthful of veneers, guiding them towards a less invasive plan. It scares me when I see how close some patients have come to having someone drill on all their teeth.

3. Is there any myth about oral health care you can bust for us?

A lot of people think that if they use an electric toothbrush, they don’t need to floss. The truth is, even the most advanced toothbrush will not reach in between your teeth, and so mechanically scraping that tooth surface with floss is unquestionably still necessary.

4. Is flossing as important as my dentist always says it is?

YES. To put it simply, a toothbrush is for the chewing surfaces of your teeth, and floss is for in between your teeth. A toothbrush will never reach those in between areas, and those in between spots are where many cavities begin.

5. What’s your advice for people who are afraid of the dentist?

My advice is that we are living in a great time! Technology has brought us many new materials and procedures that allow us to be much less invasive than before, our numbing medications are stronger than ever, and if you stay consistent with coming in for 6 months checkups, we can spot trouble before a toothache even develops. What you DON’T want to do is put off your dental visits until something hurts, because as I mentioned above, by the time sensitivity or pain develops, you are usually facing some complicated and/or costly treatment.

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