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Dr Paul Guerrino: 5 Things You Need To Create A Successful Career As A Dentist

Find your own groove and craft your own path. When you find your own way of doing things, it will get you much further in your career and life. I have got my own way of approaching implantology and its part of the reason my patients keep coming back, and keep referring me to friends. Defining your own way of thinking, and finding what works for you helps you to show up as the best version of yourself every day.

As part of our series about healthcare leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Paul Guerrino.

Paul J. Guerrino is a dentist-implantologist with over three decades of experience and expertise in the field. His services are highly customized to meet the needs of his patients. He creates remarkably natural aesthetic implants that garner him industry-wide accolades and a loyal patient base.

He has received postgraduate training from renowned institutions such as Boston University and New York University in Periodontics and Implantology, giving him ample skills to provide high-quality dental care for his patients. In addition, he remains active within several professional organizations related to dentistry, such as the American College of Oral Implantology and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, keeping himself updated with new advancements to serve his patients’ needs better. Paul Guerrino is a highly respected member of the New York University Implant Study Club and the American Dental Association. He finished his undergraduate degree at NYU before earning his post-graduate degree in periodontics and implants from Boston University.

Dr. Paul Guerrino likes to treat himself to a nice meal (restaurant), travel, play sports, and stay young and healthy. He loves being social, playing golf, listening to music — especially rock & roll and the blues, and banging on his drums. Drama is another one of his favorite pastimes, and throwing dinner parties with friends; fashion design is also up there!

It’s our honor to talk to him today.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! What is your “backstory”?

I had a modest upbringing instilling in me from a young age that I had to work hard and get a good professional degree to create the life I wanted. My father’s friend was a renowned dentist and we used to meet him regularly. Seeing him serve patients and relieve their pain inspired me from a young age. I started working and funding my education. It was a life-changing experience to work for making money. Whatever I did, I did it with passion and dedication. This is how I learned about working hard to accomplish my goal.

My work ethic got me into dental college and eventually a part-time job at the dental clinic during my undergraduate. I finished my undergraduate degree at NYU before earning my post-graduate degree in periodontics and implants from Boston University. I learned so much and met a couple of inspiring mentors who changed the course of my career. I joined several professional organizations related to dentistry, such as the American College of Oral Implantology and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, keeping myself updated with new advancements to serve my patients’ needs better.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I was named “the Marcus Schenkenberg of dentistry” by Kate, my new best friend. There is an interesting story behind this name. When I started my career, I used to be quiet slim or lanky you can say. The lab coat I was wearing looked like an oversized white gown. Kate was in for an appointment, and I happened to see her in the hallway before I put my coat on.

When we met again in the clinic room, she remarked that I looked quite fit without the oversized coat and I must find something much more stylish something fitted and tailored. She was a fashion design student at that time so she had a creative eye. Even the small size was way too big for me and so I asked Kate for some help. She was so sweet to bring me a tailor-made lab coat for her next visit. Once it was made, and she saw me in it, she said, “Oh my god, you look like the Marcus Schenkenberg of dentistry!”

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This incident happened during my third year of dental college when I was posted in the Oral surgery department. Our first training was about extracting CDPs (loose teeth) and then we started taking DCs (intact teeth with decay).

That was my first DC case. My patient was a middle-aged lady. Her appearance said that she belonged to the poor economic class of society. I was really nervous. But I made sure that I did not show it on my face. I made her sit in the dental chair and asked her some questions before extraction. Then I made her comfortable and slowly injected anesthesia, and waited for it to work. After confirming that the patient felt numbness around her tooth, I started extracting the tooth and completed the procedure successfully. I gave her some after-extraction instructions and got her Outpatient slip to enter the procedure I had done.

DC 27 EXTRACTED UNDER LA. Wait, what!!! I wondered, was that really DC 27 that I extracted?

To my utter disappointment, I realized I extracted 26 (it was also a decayed tooth but still it wasn’t 27 that was supposed to be extracted). OMG! What a blunder I have made. Controlling my emotions I left the room and went to my fellow OP mates. “Go and inform the Asst. Professor.” One of my mates suggested that I had no other option but to admit my mistake and get ready for scolding.

I rushed to my senior and explained to him. Luckily one senior stood up to help me. He asked me if the tooth I had extracted was decayed too. I showed her the OP slip where it was marked as DC in the Case history and examination. Then he asked me to take him to the patient.

The patient was still waiting for me in the dentist’s chair to give her a prescription for pain relief medication. The senior who came along with me reached out to the patient and told her that when this doctor extracted her tooth, he had found that the nearby tooth also had decayed completely, DC 26 to be exact. In order to avoid further complications, you must get that tooth extracted too.

The patient was reluctant but after assurance from the senior doctor agreed to get the extraction done right there and then. I took her inside the OP room, extracted his 27, got his OP slip and entered the 26 near that 27 (which I had entered already), and got it signed by the Asst. Prof. and sent her home satisfied and happy.

Then I went and thanked my guardian angel senior for his timely help.

Lessons learned:

A dentist should be smart enough to handle unwanted situations.

Fun aside, I would say that always exercise caution and double-check the findings before you take up any procedure.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?

I’m focused on continuing to build my personal brand in a new way so that I can work more effectively for the well-being of more and more people in my community. I have built my practice into something I’m really proud of, and now I want to continue broadening my reach and connecting to new audiences. Recently my son, Dr. Joseph joined me and we father-son duo have some inspiring goals to achieve. We are committed to keeping up with the latest technological breakthroughs in the world of dental implantology and we plan to focus more on Titanium Posts that mimic bone structure in near future.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

During dental school at NYU, I was fortunate to meet Dr. Afshan Ahmed (NYU ‘03), my wife now. We share the same passion and enthusiasm for dentistry and serving the community. She had an inclination toward aesthetic dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Afshan Ahmed really helped me develop as a clinician. She encouraged me to always be learning and to dig deeper into the art and science of dentistry. She is a big part of the reason why I believe in the power of having a partnership! It can truly be life-changing and elevate you in ways you can’t imagine. She motivates me to share my knowledge with others to help them grow and develop.

Is there a particular book that made an impact on you? Can you share a story?

The book I love the most is “The Road Less Stupid” by Keith Cunningham. It’s indeed the best book on business I have ever read. One thing I have learned is that common sense is not that common, and neither is business sense. Keith Cunningham breaks it down in an incredibly practical and logical way. The writer shares his insights, and his mistakes, and gives you confidence that you can be successful too!

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I have been very blessed in life, and I firmly believe it’s really essential to give back. In my spare time outside of being with my family, working, and playing golf, I also like to be involved in philanthropic activities where I can actually help make a difference in society.

Some of the organizations I have been involved with are Transparent Hands Foundation, one of the top 8 charity organizations in the USA. It funds the surgeries of poor patients by giving donations. I am blessed with good health and wealth and I believe it’s my duty to further utilize my services for the betterment of mankind. Even a small amount can create a lasting impact on someone’s miserable life.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story about how that was relevant to you in your own life?

“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots, you get good breaks from bad shots but you have to play the ball where it lies.” It is exactly what life is! Sometimes you do your best planning and end up in a failure and other times you have a casual approach towards something, and you get unexpectedly amazing results. The same happened to me multiple times in my career and life and that’s the beauty of life.

Can you share your top three “oral hygiene tweaks” that will help people look and feel great?

Floss is the most recommended oral hygiene tweak, yet only a few people actually do it. But it is really important for better oral health.

Brush for a full 120 seconds and not that 20-second aggressive brushing that most people do. You will feel the difference if you carefully brush your teeth for 2 minutes.

Avoid/Quit smoking because it will stain your teeth and your gums will absorb the toxins. It is just all-around bad, bad for your mouth, your teeth, your lungs, and your whole body.

Ok thank you for all of that. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience, what are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Successful Career as A Dentist” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

FIND A MENTOR

Having a mentor can get you to a new level rapidly. I was fortunate to have many mentors in my life who helped me achieve unimaginable goals and shape me into the professional I am today. Remember, always be polite and appreciative of others’ time.

DEVELOP FOCUS

Becoming a successful dentist means mastering extreme focus and precision. It can be exhausting but rewarding. It does NOT happen overnight. Figure out a routine that enables you to be at your best when you are performing your profession.

ALWAYS KEEP LEARNING

Consider yourself a student and you will succeed in life. Always stay open to learning different perspectives and new ways of doing things. It’s understandable to get stuck in a routine but if you are seeking to grow, even in small ways, you will be surprised at the progress you can make over time.

IMPROVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS

It’s important to speak with your patients in the most effective manner. Understanding their needs, wants, and fears and reassuring them you are the best expert for the job or to solve their issue is what sets you apart from other dentists. When a patient struggles to fully describe what they really want in detail, I always take time to get to know them a bit before I actually dive into dental work. For me, customer service always comes before teeth.

GO YOUR OWN WAY

Find your own groove and craft your own path. When you find your own way of doing things, it will get you much further in your career and life. I have got my own way of approaching implantology and its part of the reason my patients keep coming back, and keep referring me to friends. Defining your own way of thinking, and finding what works for you helps you to show up as the best version of yourself every day.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I’m proud to say that I have already started that movement! Guerrino Dentistry in Mt Vernon and Hartsdale runs a charitable organization called Bites — its core mission is to make inaccessible dental health care accessible to the masses and underprivileged. The company provides direct-to-consumer basic oral care services at a fraction of the cost of traditional dental clinics.

The company has been wildly successful in a short amount of time. The aim is to provide access to dental care so everyone can enjoy a bright, healthy smile. It has always been my priority, and Bites is able to do this at scale! A smile brings so much to people’s lives — more than people realize — not just good health, but true confidence. Better confidence can open doors to all kinds of prospects for people.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

I would love to meet with Dr. Michael Firouzian, a fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. He has delivered personalized and compassionate dental care to patients of all ages through his general and cosmetic dentistry practice in central Ohio and I really admire his services.

What is the best way for our readers to follow you online?

https://www.guerrinodentistry.com/

https://www.instagram.com/guerrinodentistry/

Thank you so much for these wonderful insights, and for the time you spent on this interview. We wish you continued success and good health!

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