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“I truly love what I do – every day is exciting and new. My patients are my family, and I am honored to be their orthodontist. I am here to give them that extra boost of confidence to help them succeed. ”

— Dr. Pruzansky

Dawn Pruzansky, DMD

What is your background?
I was born and raised in New Jersey and moved to Arizona with my family five years ago because I loved the winter weather and valley landscape. While I consider myself a local now, I still order a “cawfee,” open a “draw” and enjoy a Taylor ham on a good bagel.

When did you know you wanted to be a dentist?
I like to say that dentistry found me and not the other way around. I certainly was not born knowing that I wanted to be an orthodontist. Like most students, I started college with a few broad interests and signed up for whichever required courses had available spots. I had a really great professor for my human biology class – his methodical way of approaching data with mild skepticism was my first experience of “evidence based” science, and it really resonated. I officially declared myself a biology major on the pre-med track in the second half of my freshman year. Once I graduated, I took a job as a lab assistant. At this point, I liked medicine, research and education equally, and was not sure which path to pursue. My lab happened to be in the NYU College of Dentistry, so while I was there, I met a lot of dentists and dental students. My mentor suggested this career path to me as a way to blend my interests. As a dentist, I could enjoy a clinical career, I could teach, I could do research—I could do all three. This appealed to me, but only if I could specialize in orthodontics. I preferred this to general dentistry for several reasons – I felt challenged by each individual case, loved treatment planning so many moving parts (teeth!) and the added appeal was the self confidence boost that my patients felt at the end of their treatments. Since beginning my residency at NYU in 2009, I have never had a case of the “Monday’s” and at least once a day I experience a surge of energy from this field that I absolutely love.

Why did you decide to become the owner a practice?
Since graduation, I have worked in a variety of office settings throughout both the New Jersey tristate area and in Arizona. I have worked as an associate in private practices, corporate practices and Universities. I have helped start new practices, maintained older practices and experienced a corporate takeover. All of these experiences led me to my ultimate path of ownership.

As an owner, I am able to apply all the things that worked in the offices of my past experiences and learn from the things that did not. I saw some level of frustration from parents and patients due to high turnover of staff and doctors. Patients want stability—orthodontics is a one to two year treatment with a lifelong commitment. Patients want to see the same doctor, same staff and have a consistent experience. I consider my office to be a boutique atmosphere, we are a small family and treat our patients as such. We are invested in our patients—not only their dental health but their outside interests. To use a favorite quote from the former Dean at ASDOH, Dr. Jack Dillenberg, “It’s about the person attached to the tooth, the family attached to the person, and the community attached to the family.”

What sets you apart?
This is always a tough question. My first instinct is to read off my resume—the papers and book chapters I have published, the clubs and organizations I am involved in, the courses I have taught, even the continuing education I receive. The funny thing is that patients don’t really care about those things. They assume you are smart and did well at school, so they don’t need that reminder.

So what else? Grit and determination maybe? I am the first person in my immediate family to receive a college degree, let alone a higher professional degree. I have worked extremely hard to get to where I am, and always strive to improve and learn every day.

Motherhood sets me apart, for sure. I always say that I treat every patient as if they were part of my family, and that absolutely rings true. I am a mother, a wife, an orthodontist, a small business owner. I am a role model for my two young children (and hopefully my patients) that you can achieve your goals with hard work and determination. I have learned patience, humility, happiness and perseverance through my family and I hope that it shows through in my work.

To my patients, I am not merely their orthodontist—I am their advocate, and it is a privilege to hold that role.

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