Perhaps you’ve heard of the parable of the three stonecutters on the side of the road. A passerby asked, “What are you men doing?”. “Why I am making a living,” said the first. “I am doing the best job of stonecutting in the entire company,” replied the second. “I,” answered the third, “am building a cathedral.”
There are leaders in their specialty who set the proverbial bar, and then there are visionaries who refashion the bar altogether. Meet Dr. Gerry Curatola who is the personification of the voice of change in the way the world not only practices, but views dentistry. An accomplished aesthetic dentist, he is recognized internationally as a speaker, author and research specialist with a strong emphasis on natural therapeutic approaches to building dental health which he insists is an essential component to living a longer and healthier life.
Q. In the last issue of GLOW you talked about Rejuvenation Dentistry. Can you define this for those who didn’t have the opportunity to see the article?
A. Rejuvenation means more than a smile makeover. After years of practice as a cosmetic dentist with a strong background in integrative medicine, I became determined to transform the practice of dentistry through redefining the traditional role of the dentist — from treating dental disease to recognizing the unique opportunities we have to improve patient’s lives by incorporating wellness models, from nutritional counseling, screening for systemic diseases, and a host of integrative therapies. In many cases, we see the patient more often than their primary physician. By utilizing our unique contact with patients and practicing a higher level of observation, we can essentially merge beauty and wellness. After all, aging baby boomers don’t want to settle for just looking younger — but living longer.
Q. You’ve been quoted as saying your mission is treating conditions of the mouth as effects rather than causes of illness. Will you explain?
A. We should not be satisfied simply being “mechanics-ofthe-teeth” but rather “physicians-of- the-mouth.” It’s important to identify causes and not just treat the symptoms. Patients with extensive decay, who also reported excessive thirst and hunger, were referred and later discovered to have diabetes. Bleeding gums may not always be gum disease, but something more serious like a platelet disorder. In fact, gum disease puts patients at 10 times greater risk for heart attacks — more than that of high cholesterol. Grinding teeth sounds pedestrian, but has been linked to imbalances in the thyroid.
Research confirms oral disease is linked to many systemic illnesses including diabetes and heart conditions. Today I regularly work with medical and integrative practitioners to help my patients maintain a state of homeostasis, or balance. We’ve patented terrific nutritional and homeopathic oral care products under the Revitin brand.
Q.You say you have a global vision for a new practice model when it comes to dentistry. Elaborate on the concept for our readers.
A. Although it sounds lofty, my goal is to transform the face of dentistry not only in America but around the world — no boundaries. My model for Rejuvenation Dentistry is currently in place in London, Paris, Rome and soon Shanghai and Abu Dhabi. The approach is more a wellness model vs. a dentistry model. Basically, I am using the practice of dentistry as a platform for influencing total body wellness. Chinese and ayurvedic medicine complement this holistic approach and become very powerful when brought up to western standards.
Q.Rumor has it that you treat a lot of celebrities. You’ve been referred to as “Dentist to the Stars?” or the A-List Dentist.
A. It’s true that I have had the privilege to improve the smiles of many people who are household names — movie stars, models, singers, designers, athletes, politicians — all interesting folks. But for every patient who is a rock star, there is also a working class fisherman. In some ways, some of the most fascinating people are those who maintain an unassuming profile and modest lifestyle. I believe we all have a uniqueness that can offer inspiration to others. Most of all, at our offices I would hope everyone leaves feeling like a celebrity.
Q.What was one of the most memorable celebrity interactions you experienced?
A. I would say one of the highlights of my career was being invited by my patient, Billy Joel, to sing solo on stage at the MGM Grand (two nights in a row) and receiving a standing ovation by approximately 16,000 fans. I have been told I sound like a young Tony Bennett and I received my first singing award at six years old. Joining Martha Stewart on her show with Emeril Lagassi, and being invited by Dr. Oz as a spokesperson for the early detection of Oral Cancer, were also memorable and rewarding. I am proud to be affiliated with FOX and Fox News as their resident oral health expert. I’ve also been featured on all the networks for segments on aesthetic dentistry and rejuvenation dentistry.
Q.Is this why your upcoming book is entitled, ‘Dr. Gerry and the A-List’?
A. “Yes and no.” The reason is it’s not all about celebrities. It is about all the “A’s” that are important to me: anti-aging, altruism, and accessibility. My book will certainly capture the public’s fascination with celebrity but I also want them to identify with my philosophy about wellness. This is based on the A list nutritional protocol. I’d like people to understand the important link between a healthy mouth and their health in general. It’s the most effective way to strengthen the body’s immune system including our ability to heal. Altruism and humanitarian efforts are part of my personal mission. And remaining accessible to my patients keeps me close to my roots.
Q.Aside from running your practice, you dedicate some of your time to more altruistic endeavors. Tell us about a few of those.
A. I’ve always believed if you are fortunate enough to be blessed, then you must give back by being a blessing to others. Some of the charitable services I offer include treating victims of domestic violence. Many times the violence ends up with broken teeth. I remember one in particular. She was like a beautiful flower that had been stepped on. A victim of domestic violence from childhood and at 26 years old, a battered mother of four children, I was able to restore her smile with gentleness and compassion which literally restored her back to life and even working as a model. Eventually, she was motivated to take in foster children and work in not-forprofit herself. A great story of playing it forward. I have also been a supporter and founding board member of a local children’s dental charity, PDF, for over a decade, and started an annual art exhibit in the Hamptons for a wonderful program called Celebrating The Creative Spirit, at United Cerebral Palsy in New York City and Long Island. A bit further from home, I’m one of a group involved in building a medical/dental clinic in an orphanage in India. There’s profound satisfaction in that kind of endeavor.
Q.After practicing dentistry for 27 years, what has changed and what has stayed the same?
A. One of the reasons I continue to teach as a Clinical Associate Professor at New York University College of Dentistry, is because I am given opportunity to inspire young dentists while immersing myself in the continuing evolution of dentistry. It keeps me in a dynamic environment and in touch with new dental products, procedures and technology. That’s how you continue to provide the highest level of care — by staying close to the leading edge treatments. One of them is the CEREC CAD/CAM ceramic reconstruction system introduced by the Sirona Company. I became involved at its inception in the early 1990’s, and again in 2010. It is now at a level of development that enables us to provide beautiful aesthetic crowns for the patient in one visit! The properties of the material, and the convenience to the patient, are terrific.
What has stayed the same? There is a very close bond built between a dentist and his or her patient. It’s as intimate today as decades ago. Confidence and trust are still the fundamental ingredients of the relationship.
Q.What is the one thing you want every patient and prospective patient to know about you?
A. My hope is that wellness models will enable dentistry to become recognized as an essential component to living a longer and healthier life. While I love spreading the “gospel of dentistry according to Curatola”, my greatest satisfaction is staying close to the practices I’ve worked so hard to grow and build with everyday people who need my expertise. •
Dr. Gerald P. Curatola practices from offices in Manhattan and East Hampton. Schedule a consultation by calling 212-355-4777 / 631-324-6800 or visit http:// www.RejuvDentist.com
GLOWFALL/WINTER ‘10 The M a g a z i n e A b o u t B e a u t y , H e a l t h A n d We l l n e s s