Dr. Bill Dorfman Interview
("Dentist To The Stars")
He’s known as the “Dentist To The Stars” – and
with a client list that includes Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica
Simpson, Usher, The Osborne’s, (Ozzy, Sharon, Jack and Kelly), and
Brooke Burke-----it’s easy to see why!!
He is Dr. Bill Dorfman.
Maybe you’ve seen Dr. Dorfman on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover” where
he earned the nickname “ America’s Dentist”.
He’s also appeared on “Good Morning America”, “The
View”, Oprah, EXTRA, and “Access Hollywood” to name just
Dr. Dorfman is also a New York Times best selling author with his book “Billion
And, Dr. Dorfman launched Zoom! an in-office teeth whitening procedure
as well as Day White and Nite White.
Q – Dr. Dorfman, how did you get to be known as “Dentist To
A – I’ll tell you what happened. I opened my practice in 1986
and I was dating a woman who worked at Triad. Triad was then acquired by
the William Morris Agency. All these young kids who worked in the mailroom
were all my patients. We all hung out. We went out together. We became really
close. All those kids now are my age, and they’re all running these
big agencies. They’ve been in it all these years. They send me their
clients. The word spreads. It’s kind of like you can’t have
the sizzle without the steak. There are a lot of guys out there that have
a lot of sizzle, but, when it comes down to it, they’re not doing
the kind of work that id going to get people excited about what they do.
I really try to deliver on both. We do great dentistry in my practice. I
mean, it’s a whole team. We really focus on patient care and getting
people to love their smile. When people come to me, their mouth may be healthy.
They may not have pain. They may not have problems. But, the thing is they
don’t like the way their teeth look. Some of ‘em got a combination.
They don’t like their teeth and there’s all this other stuff
going on. But, the majority of the patients that I treat are people whose
teeth are healthy. There’s nothing wrong with them. They just didn’t
like the way they looked. They want to maximize their smile potential, and
so they come to me.
Q – Are you just involved in teeth whitening?
A – I do everything.
Q – You’re doing fillings, and cleaning,
and root canal work?
A – Not me, but, my office does. My office is a full-service dental
practice. We just pretty much focus on cosmetic dentistry. That’s
what people know me for. We do fillings. We do cleanings. We do everything.
Q – Did you come up with the formula that is
used in Zoom!?
A – Yeah. I am an owner in the co. called Discus Dental. It’s
the co. that created Nite White, Day White, and Zoom! And we also have Bright
Smile now. We didn’t invent Bright Smile-----we actually acquired
it. But, that’s what we do.
Q – Zoom! is being promoted as a revolutionary in-office whitening
system which is safe and effective. Just how safe is it? We’re not
going to hear 20 years from now that something went wrong are we?
A – Let me tell you something about tooth whitening; we started doing
tooth whitening in 1988. There have literally been tens of million people
that have done tooth whitening. It’s safe. There has never been a
single case reported of anybody having any long term adverse effects from
bleaching. Now, it’s true you can get transitory tooth sensitivity.
That means your teeth can become sensitive. The sensitivity always goes
away. It never lasts. It never is permanent. It’s never damaging.
There’s never been a single tooth reported in any literature anywhere
that showed that tooth whitening was responsible for necrosis of a tooth
which means a tooth dying or needing a root canal or needing anything. The
worst thing that can happen with your teeth is that they can become sensitive,
for a short period of time. Usually it’s a day at the most, and that
is very, very well-documented in countless medical volumes. It’s not
even something we dispute anymore. Now granted, way back when, when we first
started doing it, even though the research and everything looked very promising-----we
couldn’t make that same claim. We didn’t have 20 years of research
on it. But, we have well over 15 years of solid documented research on this
and we can tell you that it’s safe. There are some bleaching products
that are not. That’s why it really scares me that there’s just
a plethora of these over the counter products that people can just grab
and use. When they do that they’re taking a big risk. They don’t
know if they’re safe products.
Q – It’s been said that you are evangelical
in your conviction that only dentists should perform whitening. If not
dentists, who else would be doing the whitening?
A – Well, people go and they buy those over-the-counter products.
And so they don’t know what they’re putting on their teeth.
There’s no FDA approval on those. They’re not ADA approved either.
So, who’s approving it? It’s kind of like nobody! I wouldn’t
use something that can permanently change your teeth without getting a dentist
involved. It’s kind of like coloring your hair. You can go ahead and
buy a product and bring it home and color your hair. Most of the time it’ll
probably work pretty well, but, there’s gonna be once or twice in
your life where you just mess it up. It’s too dark. It’s too
light. I’ve seen blondes turn out green. You never know. But, it’s
hair. You can fix it. And, the worse case scenario, if you can’t fix
it, you’ll grow new hair. Right? Not teeth. I don’t think it
makes sense for somebody to permanently change their teeth without knowing
whether they’re a good candidate or a bad candidate for it. There
are times when you think that what you’re doing is beneficial but,
I’ll tell you something, teeth bleach, fillings don’t. So, if
you have white fillings or tooth colored fillings on your teeth and you
go ahead and bleach your teeth, and now the fillings don’t match,
with the teeth, you’re either gonna have to change the fillings, get
veneers-----you’re gonna be up for a lot of dentistry that you may
not have been prepared to do.
Q – When someone famous comes in to your office,
are you even in awe of them?
A – There are people that come into my office and I’m awed
by them but not because they’re a famous celebrity. Some of the patients
on ‘Extreme Makeover’ when I heard the trauma they went through
in their lives and how having such a bad set of teeth affected them, I was
awed by their courage. I was awed by the fact that they were there in my
office willing to expose themselves on national t.v. so other people could
see how they suffered and how they’re going to benefit. To me that
was probably the most awe inspiring moment in my career, not because some
big ‘A’ List celebrity walked into my office. That to me isn’t
as awe inspiring. There are some celebrities that have come in who are amazing
in their craft and have received Academy Awards and I can admire them for
those accolades or things they have done. Not to say Angelina Jolie is a
patient, but, when you look at a woman like her who dedicates so much of
her time to children and Africa-----that to me is a lot more awesome than
somebody who’s the star of a t.v. show. When they can use that to
really help mankind and better the world, to me that speaks volumes.
Q – What do you think this says about American
society, when having whiter than white teeth has become such a big deal?
A – With the advent of tooth whitening and how accessible it is,
it’s almost become one of those things like braces. Look at the difference
between the American population and the English population. Every kid in
America pretty much has braces. I mean it’s almost like a right of
passage, whereas in England it’s really not the case. It’s becoming
a lot more popular now. At a certain point you like, set a standard. It’s
like I’m not going to let my kid grow up with crooked teeth. People
look at people now the same way. Why should I have yellow teeth when I can
sit down and have my teeth zoomed and in one hour they’re going to
be 8 shades whiter?!
Q – I believe that Zoom! process costs between
$600 - $800. Why is it so expensive?
A – You know, it varies all across the country. But, let me put it
in perspective for you: let’s say the average dentist charges $500
for the procedure, ball park. A woman will spend $500 on a dress, a really
nice dress that they’re gonna wear to a wedding or something like
that. And, they’ll probably only wear it like once or twice in their
life. You spend $500 on your smile, you wear that everyday, everywhere you
go. I think it’s a great investment.
Q – Is there a certain minimum charge for the
A – They can charge whatever they want. I know a lot of dentists
that will do it for free.
Q – How’s that?
A – If you come into the office and you’re going to have an
extensive dental treatment, you’re going to have a lot of cosmetic
dentistry done; there are dentists that will say, ‘You know what?
I’m gonna throw in the tooth whitening for free because you’re
going to be spending several thousand dollars on veneers, crowns, whatever.
I wouldn’t say it’s free. It’s more like a package deal.
Let’s put it that way.
Q – You did your 2 year residency at a dental
hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland. Why Switzerland? Why not somewhere
in the U.S?
A – I grew up in Granada Hills. I went from Granada Hills to UCLA
and then from UCLA I went to the University of the Pacific and lived in
San Francisco. We grew up pretty poor. I never really got a chance to travel,
to see much of the world, to see other countries, to see other places. And
I knew that once I started practicing, I would never have an opportunity
to really be away and spend a lot of time in another place. You just can’t
walk away from your dental practice and expect it to be healthy and grow
and take care of your patients all of that. When I finished dental school
I started looking into other possibilities and I heard about this program
in Switzerland. Now, the chances of me getting into it was kind of like
a snowball in hell. (Laughs). I mean, like 400 applicants for one spot.
So, I didn’t really bank on getting that position. I was very diligent
about communicating with the director of the program. As it got close to
my graduation date I just asked if I could come out and meet him and I think
I was probably the only applicant who flew all the way to Switzerland to
visit the facility and meet them. I guess being there was enough of a motivator
for him to just hire me. It wasn’t like there was any guess work where
he had to say I wonder if this guy is really serious? or if this guy was
gonna show up? There I was, two arms, two legs, ready to tackle anything
they throw at me. I think that my enthusiasm just made him confident that
I was going to work hard, and I did! (Laughs). It was really hard.
Q – You’re an aspiring painter, photographer, and musician.
What is it you’d eventually like to do in Show Biz?
A – You know, it’s funny; I never aspired to be an actor. I
never thought I’d be on t.v. I always knew I’d be a dentist.
I never thought I’d be on t.v. ‘Extreme Makeover’ came
and all of a sudden I’m on primetime national t.v. every Thursday
night. Something happened, and what happened was that experience, that intimate
experience that I had with my patients was such a beautiful part of what
I do on a daily basis became something that I could share with 10 million
viewers. The impact it typically had on that was impactful to 10 million
other people. There were episodes especially the dramatic ones where patients
had a hare-lip a cleft-palate or some other real severe malformation that
we were able to correct and give them the ability to lead a really normal
life were so dramatic and made such an impact on other people that may or
may not have had that condition, especially the ones that did, that said
I never knew this could be corrected, that well. I never knew that I could
look like anybody else! Do you know what it feels like when a patient says, ‘Thank-you?
This is the first time I can walk into a room full of people and not be
self-conscious about the way I look’. That to me is worth every single
second that I spent on my dental education. When I started doing t.v. shows
and people would look at me differently – ‘God, what you do
is amazing’! You gotta understand when I got out of dental school
there was a real negative stigma with being a dentist. There were a lot
of people that would tease you. I knew a guy who was a dentist. I went to
a party that he was at, right? We’re standing there and somebody said
to this guy-----‘What do you go’? He says, ‘Real Estate’.
I’m like, ‘Jerry’! He goes, ‘I do Real Estate’.
I’m like, ‘You’re a dentist’. He goes, ‘Yeah,
but I don’t like to tell people that’. I couldn’t believe
it. I’m so proud of what I do. So, it was really kind of shocking
for me to hear that. Once I started doing ‘Extreme Makeover’ I
started getting fan mail from kids that said, ‘I want to be a cosmetic
dentist’. To me that was like the coolest thing ever. People started
looking at dentists differently. People started to really appreciate it.
We started as a profession to get the respect that we didn’t have.
(Laughs). Look, when I was in dental school, I got out and here I am in
practice and you got Steve Martin doing ‘Little Shop of Horrors’.
You got ‘Marathon Man’. You got that whole thing with W.C. Fields.
We never got great press in the media!
Q – And you’re now involved in a new
A – We’re doing a new talk show. It’s pretty cool. It’s
going to be a daytime syndicated talk show.
Q – And you’re going to be doing the
A – I’m going to be one of the hosts. They’ll be 4 hosts
on the show and I’ll be one of them.
Q – Who are you going to be interviewing?
A – Maybe you. You never know.
Q – I’m probably not as famous as some
of the other people you have in mind as guests?
A – You know what? You sleep with Britney Spears-----and you can
Official Website: billdorfmandds.com
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