Top Dentists 2010
Our annual roundup of the Valley’s top dentists — as rated by their peers
(page 5 of 5)
Dr. Richard Whalen, Dental Design Studios
Practicing dentistry: 18 years
Dental school: SUNY Stony Brook
Most memorable patient: “Some years ago, we did a cosmetic dentistry ‘makeover’ on a lady. I still remember her husband coming to us afterward, saying he’d never realized how much it would mean to his wife to have this done; he had no idea how much the appearance of her teeth had always bothered her. The husband said she came home that night and kept looking in the mirror and crying — she was so happy. She even put a little mirror on her refrigerator to look at every time she walked by. It reminds you of the positive effect that cosmetic dentistry can have on a person’s entire life.”
Out-of-the-office life: You’ll often find Whalen in the great outdoors, or working out at the gym. “In fact, I went for a run in the gym today during my lunch break,” he said during an interview. He’s ready for anything that keeps him on the move. “Biking, basketball, skiing — I enjoy all kinds of sports,” he says.
Richard Whalen, D.D.S. on Improved Technology
“What’s exciting in the practice of dentistry is that the existing technology keeps improving,” says Dr. Richard Whalen of Dental Design Studios in Poughkeepsie.
“One big improvement we’re seeing is that the types of porcelain used in cosmetic dentistry are getting better than ever,” Whalen says. “The results have always looked good, but now the teeth are stronger, and you also get an even more attractive aesthetic result.”
Whalen offers general dentistry — it’s a completely mercury-free practice — plus a variety of services ranging from tooth whitening to TMJ treatments; the latter involves temporomandibular joint dysfunction, a painful, sometimes debilitating condition affecting the joints that connect the upper jaw to the skull; TMJ is sometimes linked to stress — such as clenching the jaw and/or grinding the teeth.
For instance, implant surgery — during which replacement artificial teeth are permanently “screwed” right into the bone — continues to become more popular. “And now we even have CT scan-guided implant surgery,” says Whalen. “This involves taking a CT scan of the area, so we can map out the entire implant process even more precisely.”
Whalen has also been trained to provide the Invisalign teeth straightening process (goodbye, bulky braces), as well as cosmetic restorations, bonding, veneers, and more.
Nifty new gizmos are helping dentists in their daily tasks, too. Whalen explains: “I’m using a new type of curing light, for example.” These are special small lights that, with a quick blitz of the blue beam, help harden sealants during dental procedures. “The old lights used to take 20 seconds,” Whalen says. “With the new ones, it’s done in just four seconds.”