The first time we set foot in Dr. Jennifer Plotnick's Brooklyn dental office, Grand Street Dental, we were blown away. Not only is the office incredible but Dr. Plotnick is just as cool as you think she'd be. We talked art, all things teeth, and the best place to grab a drink after your appointment in Williamsburg. Check out her interview below and be sure to follow her on Instagram!
Tell us a little bit about what makes Grand Street Dental different from other dental offices?
The first obvious difference is how the office looks! Grand Street Dental is the spirit child of an artist/photographer and a dentist. I wanted to create an environment that felt more personal, creative, inspiring and calming-without the sterility you find in most offices. The space is filled with great art-heavy in photography and mostly all Brooklyn or NYC based artists, many of whom are great friends. I spent years, YEARS, planning out the details of the space from the floors to the lofty feel. I’m so happy it all came together so well.
As for the practice, I’ve only hired the best. Lisa my personal assistant has been in my life for 10 years and is one of the most talented assistants I’ve had. Kris my front desk guru, and also an extremely talented and successful musician, couldn’t make things more seamless for our patients. We’ve invested in top of the line equipment, materials, and labs, and strive to stay on the cutting edge. All without an ego and by treating our patients like family.
What served as the inspiration for the design of the space?
As I expected that this would quickly become my second home, I literally wanted to design it like it WAS my home. Art that I love, tons of light, good music, oh did I say good art? Just good vibes. Like a place you’d want to get a cavity filled in!
Can you tell us a little bit about the art you have featured throughout the office?
A lot of the art is the work of my husband Kent Rogowski who is an amazing conceptual still life photographer. His work never ceases to amaze me and my patients. I would say that I’m photo heavy, as that’s my preferred art, but I do have quite a few awesome pieces by artists like Kaws, Cybele, Francine Fleischer, Johnny Abrahams, Kevin Umami and Gordon Douglass Ball..to name a few. The collection is growing.
We've heard you have patients who stop in because they think it's an art gallery and wind up getting a cleaning after years of avoiding the dentist. What's that experience like?
Perhaps we can look at it as another way to connect? Dentistry is SCARY! I get it! I want people to feel comfortable and if we can talk art and culture for a few moments first it connects us, and then the dentistry interest can happen. 75-80% of my new patients find me just from walking by! Thank you retail space investment!
Could you give us a brief outline of how you ended up becoming a dentist?
Ugh, I had the worst teeth growing up! Cavities on almost every tooth! Cavities in cavities! So did my sister and my mom. I practically lived at my dentist's office-so much so, that they would just pop me in the chair, put a bite block in my mouth and wake me up when it was over! I became so familiar with the practice of dentistry I could explain the process of a root canal to you by the age of 15. I also loved my dentist, Dr. Agnes Farkas-so I had a great role model! Perhaps it’s because dentistry is so artistic and can change people’s lives or the fact that it doesn’t deal with life or death that attracts me to it? I don’t know? But I love it! In dentistry they’re aren’t any differential diagnoses that I have to give to someone, there’s hardly any” let’s run this test and send out this lab score” etc etc. 99.999% of the time I can fix their issue, and that makes me feel awesome! I’m like a Mrs. Fix-it! What a feeling! Oh, and if the Plotnick genetics hold as strong as they have, my kids will definitely need some good dental insurance! ME!
What's the biggest mistake people are making with their teeth?
The biggest mistake people are making with their teeth is not making their dental health an absolute priority. Dentistry has gotten a bad rap! People think we’re glorified car mechanics giving expensive tune ups! I see patients daily in their 50’s and 60’s paying for a lot of the mistakes they made in their younger years! I have to give out a lot of bad news and that sucks-especially because it was all completely preventable. Decay is not like cancer! You either brush and floss, or you don’t. If you are susceptible to decay like I was, you visit the dentist more often, get sealants, have fluoride treatments, etc. When I recommend that a patient get a crown or a nightguard, it’s not a tactic to upsell-it’s because I have a crystal clear understanding of exactly where they’re heading if they don’t do it. And It ain’t pretty. Listen to your dentist, folks! We’re trying to help!
What should we all be eating or drinking that will affect our oral health?
This is a tough question because genes and habits have so much to do with this! But since you asked, here’s my advice. Stop doing these stupid cleanses people! This cayenne, lemon, honey stuff is killing me. It’s like bathing your teeth in acid! Remember, you need to keep your teeth until your last day on earth-so lets tone down the acidity please? For snacks, I suggest crisp fruits and vegetables like apples carrots and celery. They actually help clean your teeth and aren’t high in sugar, as opposed to candies, dried fruit and chips, which will get stuck in the grooves of your teeth and promote tooth decay. I brush 3 times a day, you can do it too, it’s not that hard. Also, steer clear of sodas, it’s pure sugar. If you take anything from this let it be that. Try water. It’s free.
What do you love about your FIGS scrubs?
Definitely the cut. I’ve been searching for fashionable white coats and scrubs for a while. I even had to order my white coat from a company in Japan because I couldn’t find a nice one here in The States! Oh and in Japan, I’m a size Large - so I've fulfilled my dream as being “Big in Japan”!
When I found FIGS I knew my wishes had been answered! Everyone at my office is obsessed with them! The fabric is really nice and soft and slightly stretchy, you can also tell it’s super high quality. I got some amazing embroidery done which includes our logo on the sleeve and all of our names, it’s a great touch!
What inspires you outside of work?
I’m inspired by entrepreneurship, creative thinkers, risk takers and the like. I’ve learned that the true definition of being an entrepreneur is the inability to work for someone else. I love to create, I’m actually working on an invention right now that I think will make a nice impact on dentistry-can’t say much about it, but it’ll be cool!
After getting our teeth cleaned at your Williamsburg office, where should we head to next in the neighborhood?
Aurora, Samurai Momma, Peter Lugers anywhere!?! Williamsburg and the nearby neighborhoods are unreal. I’m particularly in love with Aurora for my Italian pangs, and have been known to be a regular at Lugers! Porterhouse for three - medium rare, side of broccoli and bacon please! Friends optional.
All photos by Kent Plotnick.