“5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a Cosmetic Dentist”, with Dr. Victoria Veytsman
“EVERYONE has a story. In dental school the primary focus was on clinical skills to pass board exams. Practicing in private practice has made me have a very deep appreciation for the human side of things. Every interaction is meaningful and we are all more alike than different. Once you understand that, communicating and relating to others becomes easier and more holistic.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Victoria Veytsman, a Cosmetic Dentist based in New York and Beverly Hills
What is your “backstory” and what does your company do?
I’m a native New Yorker and I’ve been practicing here in NYC for over 10 years. I graduated NYU College of Dentistry and was 22 at the time — youngest in my class. I started my own practice from scratch about 5–6 years ago. Since then I’ve developed a niche in cosmetic dentistry and smile makeovers — although we do general and preventative dentistry as well. The transformational part of cosmetic dentistry is what really appeals to me. It’s lifechanging and amazing how a lifetime of insecurities can be erased so quickly. There’s a very big emotional and psychological component to this — which I appreciate. Over time, our demographic of patients organically became young, cool and image conscious — we’re proud of that! I’ve been the official dentist for the NY branches of the Miss America and Miss Universe Organization, Giants and Nets Cheerleaders, and the Emmys. We have an eclectic clientele which makes every day interesting — that and the work we do makes us sit back at the end of the day and say “wow, that was cool”. The practice continues to be very boutique and personalized and I practice in both New York and Beverly Hills.
Can you share the most funny or interesting story that occurred to you in the course of being involved in dentistry?
Every single patient that comes in, comes in with a story. It is such a privilege to be part of that. We become so involved and privy to so many personal events going on in our patients lives — from marriages, to babies, to huge career leaps. There is a true appreciation that each person that walks in is not just a patient. They are fascinating people in their own right. I’ve had the privilege to get to know a lot of people and had some cool opportunities come my way because of it. One was a monthly “Ask Dr. V” segment on SiriusXM radio where we would talk about smiles and health. Many an interesting moment happened in that studio when we had callers calling in about personal questions totally unrelated to teeth! That, along with some media opportunities and opportunities to give back. The lessons learned though, have been the most interesting. Working with people you realize how human everyone is, the difference between “you” and “I” becomes less — I guess people would call that empathy.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
We always have cool projects going on. We are starting to see patients in Los Angeles now. That came about because a bunch of our patients are bicoastal, requested it and it made sense. We always have a few interesting things happening. If you follow us on social media, you’ll get an idea. The key for anything is to continuously moving forward. We have a few opportunities coming up to show people on a wider scale that cosmetic dentistry doesn’t have to be scary and the impact it can make. We are also working on some projects to give back — a real motivating factor for success. Success should be shared we believe and when things come from that place or intention, cool things can happen.
Who are some of the most famous people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
We do see quite a few celebrities and athletes in our practice. Privacy is so huge and we make our practice a safe place where people can come and really let their guard down. However, a few that I can talk about are Miss America and the cast of Orange is the New Black. For more, check out our Instagram (drvictoriadds) — we occasionally post celeb pics. Working with celebrities is no different than working with non-celebrities. There’s the understanding that everyone has the same needs and expectations — celebs may just require some more privacy.
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?
Lucky for me there are some very talented people in my field. I’ve had some great mentors along the way without which I would not have taken this career path — I am grateful for that. I have a very supportive family as well. I am first generation American so growing up we always understood the importance of working hard — a certain work ethic, independence, and grateful for opportunities.
Is there anything about the way you practice that makes it special?
That’s really a great question. Every practice has its own unique identity that suits different patients. Our practice is young and image conscious — which always makes it interesting! Id say the number one thing that sets our practice apart is the patient experience and relationship we have the opportunity to build with our patients. We also work with amazing labs and have had a lot more than the average amount of training in cosmetic dentistry — that’s definitely a huge huge part of it — the attention to detail and aesthetic component. But I truly believe the experience, the “human” factor, and the way the patient feels when they leave our office is top of the list. How would I want to be treated? It’s whats generated the hundreds of five star reviews that we get. We have a very holistic approach to treating patients — -transformation is truly an “inside job”. An external smile makeover isn’t just making the teeth and smile look better. There are so many emotional and psychological aspects that come with that kind of positive change. We get that.
Why did you choose cosmetic dentistry?
I love what I do every day. It is so amazing to integrate art and science in a way that changes peoples lives daily. I always knew I wanted to be in medicine in some capacity. I was always a bit of a nerd and even as a kid would read the New York Times Science section every week — don’t tell anyone that. I also went to art school growing up for a long time. So I was an artist first — and that trickles into everything. The merging of these two things is what brought me to cosmetic dentistry. After dental school I saw mentors that actually really enjoyed what they were doing and made a huge impact on their patients lives — I wanted to do that. Also this field allows me the privilege of meeting and treating amazing people. I’m always grateful for that aspect.
Who do you aspire to be like one day? Which people in history inspire you the most?
I aspire to be a person that has integrity and authenticity in everything — both professionally and personally. That’s a work in progress. And to treat people well. One of my core values is giving back and the hope is that practicing dentistry and any opportunities that come because of it allow me to do just that. I appreciate and am inspired by people that live outside of themselves and have a grander perspective of life than just their lives and their businesses.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
We hope that this chapter is just at its beginning stages. We have donated portions of monthly cosmetic procedures to various charities for smiles, homelessness and other causes. Years ago, we coined this campaign “Smile for a Cause” We believe giving is a huge part of what it means to be successful and has been our biggest motivator.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started and the things I am learning along the way” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Things I’m learning along the way —
-There is a solution for everything. It may not come to you immediately. It may come to you in the most roundabout way but if you’re patient the answer becomes clear. The key is not giving up.
-To be open. Be a yes person and be aware of all the possibilities that are available to you and your growth. As they say, we know what we know, but don’t know what we don’t know. In other words, don’t assume you know everything. Be open to possibilities.
-The power of focus. Maybe multitasking is overrated? It’s part of being a New Yorker! Coffee in one hand and emails in the other, right? However I’ve been learning that when theres a huge task at hand to put everything aside and tackle it with laser focus. Answers come quicker and things done faster. This is all part of being mindful too. One moment at a time.
-Don’t be afraid to take risks. The worst thing that can happen with risk is a failure. But a failure is not the end all be all. It can be a detour to help you on your path. The meaning we attach to failure are not always true. Once we eliminate that fear, the ability to take risks and yes to new opportunities becomes easier. “Paralysis by analysis” doesn’t move anyone forward.
-EVERYONE has a story. In dental school the primary focus was on clinical skills to pass board exams. Practicing in private practice has made me have a very deep appreciation for the human side of things. Every interaction is meaningful and we are all more alike than different. Once you understand that, communicating and relating to others becomes easier and more holistic.
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. :-)
That’s a good question I haven’t thought about. I’ll say that I would love to have breakfast with someone that has a fresh perspective and runs their business with intention and purpose. Also those with the ability to have laser focus and cut through problems quickly — solution minded. Off the top of my head, I like Oprahs story and how she shares her success with opening schools in Africa. Gary Vaynerchuck has a very fresh perspective on things and Marcus Lemonis cuts through problems and gets down to the solution with laser focus — all these qualities are great. I’ll turn this question around and echo what you said — some of the biggest names read this column and will now know how to reach us — if they are interested in breakfast, we’ll be checking our inbox (always open to coffee!)
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on January 8, 2018.