WITH COMPASSION AND ACUITY, THESE STATEN ISLAND SIBLING DENTISTS BRING A WINNING FAMILIAL TOUCH TO THEIR GREAT KILLS PRACTICE
BY JESSICA JONES GORMAN • PHOTOS BY AMANDA DOMENECH
As experts in the field of dentistry with more than 30 years of collective experience, Drs. Christina and Diane Klein recognize the myriad benefits, both physical and psychological, of a healthy smile. The Drs. Klein, who operate Dynamic Dental P.L.L.C. in Great Kills, believe a set of perfectly aligned and strong teeth can promote self confidence, happiness, and overall well being. Self care, the doctors explained, is now more paramount than ever with the ongoing effects of the pandemic.
Over the years, the sibling doctors have treated many generations of patients at their boutique practice, and noted that after the onset of the pandemic many patients find their dental visits to be “a source of comfort and relief when feeling overwhelmed during these uncertain times.” Dr. Diane Klein continued: “There are many things in life to be anxious about your smile should not be one of them.”
Since March, the doctors have witnessed a rise in cases of cracked teeth, gum disease issues, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, headaches, and teeth grinding. By identifying and addressing these issues, the Drs. Klein have been able to reduce the burden on emergency rooms and urgent care centers. “We are trained to investigate signs and symptoms in the mouth that can indicate more complex health issues.”
Trained in what the doctors deem “tweaking what God has already made” and identifying pressing oral issues through advanced technology, the sisters maintain a focus on family care at their practice, which opened nearly 20 years ago on Nelson Avenue.
“We’ve coached many of our patients through ‘tooth fairy’ visits, and now they’re whitening their teeth for their Sweet 16s,” noted Dr. Christina Klein. “It’s a beautiful thing to watch each smile adapt from childhood to adulthood, and when you’re performing a smile makeover for an engagement or wedding photo shoot, you really see how life comes full circle.”
Born and raised in Staten Island and alumnae of Saint Patrick’s elementary school in Richmond, the Drs. Klein both graduated from St. Joseph Hill Academy and Wagner College before earning their D.D.S. degrees from New York University College of Dentistry. Dr. Christina Klein was inspired to pursue a career in dentistry by their family dentist, Dr. Murray Edelman, who made her childhood appointments “exciting and fun.” Dr. Diane Klein always had an interest in science and medicine and was eventually influenced by her sister’s positive experience.
“I watched Dr. Christina excel at NYU,” she noted. “Despite the rigorous curriculum and hours of studying, I saw how much she enjoyed it. And I also saw how dentistry enabled her to have a wonderful work/life balance. We come from a long line of strong, capable women, and I saw this career as a way to uphold that lineage.”
The sisters refer to their five and a half year age gap as a crucial component to their success. “Because of that age difference, we each experienced things uniquely,” said Dr. Diane Klein. “Being in school at different times has proved to be a big advantage. We possess certain skills and interests in dentistry that inspire each other, and we each bring different talents to the table,” adding that they credit their NYU education with helping them establish a strong foothold in the field.
“General dentistry is a very fulfilling field because we are able to treat all different types of ailments, and we see all types of challenges come through our office door,” said Dr. Christina Klein. “We are extremely grateful for the oral cancer screening training we received at NYU, for example, because we have been able to diagnose several cases and catch them at a very early stage.”
“Oral cancers can metastasize quickly and can indicate that there is a cancer process going on somewhere else in the body,” added Dr. Diane Klein. “Because you typically see your dentist every three to six months, we are often able to pick up on these issues before your general practitioner. It’s a simple process that we perform for every single patient, but it makes a tremendous difference.”’
“We have implemented new protocols that have been designed for our patients’ comfort, care, and safety,” explained Dr. Diane Klein of their latest infection control practices. The doctors speak with fervor when discussing the ever changing field of dentistry. They attend continuing education classes and seminars, and they are quick to share their knowledge with patients. They employ several cutting edge innovations, including Invisalign clear aligners, digital dentistry techniques, and natural looking porcelain crowns and veneers.
“Invisalign is a great solution for minor crowding that can cause issues with speech, chewing, and even gum health. We take digital impressions and can actually see the before and after in real time, which is exciting for both us and the patient. We often use it as a preliminary treatment, helping to move and align the teeth before we place a crown; it’s a great treatment option for many.”
Dental implants and implant crowns are also designed and inserted by the sisters, and non surgical gum treatment, which effectively treats periodontal disease, is also a specialty. “Taking care of your gums should be a top priority,” said Dr. Christina Klein. “If a patient has a gum issue, we have a precise treatment plan, because that tissue is so important to mouth health. We are big advocates of non surgical gum treatment, because if you can fix disease without undergoing surgery, that is a major advantage.”
Inspired by their mother Rosemary, an artist and veteran teacher on Staten Island, the sisters remain active in the community, connecting with schools on a regular basis and offering free dental hygiene programs in the classroom. This year they served as co chairs for the Richmond County Dental Society’s National Children’s Dental Health Month events.
“We view our practice as a way to connect with the community; to help people through the use of this art and science,” said Dr. Diane Klein. “Our mom still teaches at local schools; she sees about 1,000 students a week, and it’s her work ethic that keeps us going. If we are able to inspire half as many children as she has, we are blessed.”
The sisters also consider their staff and patients family. “We could not do what we do without our highly skilled and compassionate staff,” they effused. The doctors also stressed the importance of maintaining a tranquil office atmosphere, never double booking appointments and taking every opportunity to confer with one another on the status of each patient.
“Our days are busy, and there are many times we hardly see each other at all, even though we’re practicing in the same office,” laughed Dr. Christina Klein, joking that a quick high five in the hallway is all the interaction they sometimes share. “But we do always discuss challenging cases and bounce suggestions of each other when it comes time for referrals or other patient related decisions. I think that creates a level of comfort among our patients, knowing that they have both of our attention.”
In the last several years the dentists have also utilized social media to connect with patients. “Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets have greatly changed dentistry, allowing us to share our patients’ journeys, offering a platform to display all of the different techniques available,” said Dr. Diane Klein. “We are able to answer a lot of questions via direct message, which makes us very accessible to our patients.”
“The comprehensive care and advanced techniques are so important, but it’s the compassion we share that is truly the foundation of all that we do,” concluded Dr. Christina Klein. “Whether it’s holding the hand of a patient who has anxiety or offering a blanket and neck pillow to someone who is sitting in our chair for a longer procedure, I think it’s the little touches and the personal connection we share that make the experience here so unique.”
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