Luke Shapiro, DDS, received his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Spanish. He then went to dental school at Stony Brook and graduated in May 2018. He is now an orthodontics resident at Tufts in Boston. In dental school, Luke did research, focusing on 3D imaging, with his most recent project on the application of iPad 3D imaging technology. He was also very involved in the aesthetics club and ASDA. Luke is the leader of the dental student section of IgniteDDS.

He is also the founder of @futuredentists Lucas.shapiro@ignitedds.com

Weighing in With Dr. Luke Shapiro


Meet Dr. Aaleeyah Alim! She is the creator of Tooth Tuesdays on IGTV that gets thousands of views each week. She’s from Miami, attended the University of North Florida for college and then Midwestern University in Illinois for dental school. She graduated this year and will start work on August 1st in Chicago through the National Health Service Core.

So how does one become a dental influencer? It’s not an easy task by any means – requiring hours upon hours of hard work and dedication. For Dr. Alim, known as @smile.leey, it wasn’t her goal at the beginning. She started Instagram as a personal account, initially posting about food and life. She was then accepted into dental school and started posting about that. “I then slowly started to see a rise in followers, and it was interesting because I wasn’t trying to be a dental influencer in any shape or form,” she said. But then around the third year of dental school,l when things started to slow down (relatively, because it was after having finished boards), she started spending more time on Instagram to build something and saw what it could become. Dr. Alim believed it could be a real source of inspiration, especially for people that could identify with her – anyone who is Black, a woman or a visibly religious minority. She said, “there would be moments when I would think about not posting on Instagram, but then I would get inspiring messages. That’s what kept me going”

Her account now has over 13.5K followers. She has worked with major players in the industry, such as Pronamel and FIGs. Her most popular content is Tooth Tuesdays, which started in February 2019. It started from a conversation with a friend – a bright, educated, grown woman who doesn’t floss, let alone even own floss. After that conversation, it dawned on her that there are so many intelligent people that don’t know key things about oral health. From there, she started a weekly video about flossing, mouthwash, Invisalign vs. braces, etc. Most recently, she had a Tooth Tuesday video entitled “We Need You.” It garnered over 27,000 views, as she recounted her experience with racism while also stressing the importance of having Black providers in medicine. “It’s very important that as providers we check our biases – like why don’t you believe a patient when they say something?” she said. “That extra step can help you discover and see where those feelings come from.”

Dr. Alim is very excited to enter public health dentistry and help a community that needs it the most. Unlike Instagram, public health doesn’t get a lot of glitz and glamour. A lot of it is the bare bones of dentistry. She encourages providers to give a day or week or whatever possible to help these communities.

Luke Shapiro, DDS, received his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Spanish. He then went to dental school at Stony Brook and graduated in May 2018. He is now an orthodontics resident at Tufts in Boston. In dental school, Luke did research, focusing on 3D imaging, with his most recent project on the application of iPad 3D imaging technology. He was also very involved in the aesthetics club and ASDA. Luke is the leader of the dental student section of IgniteDDS. He is also the founder of @futuredentists Lucas.shapiro@ignitedds.com

Weighing in With Dr. Luke Shapiro


Dentists Against Coronavirus is a Facebook group with over 34,000 current members that is exclusively FOR dentists. The group membership exploded in less than one week. Only four days after it was created on March 12, 2020, the group gained an amazing 20,000 members. In a time where we would normally feel isolated and alone, social media has become a virtual gathering place for dentists to look for support, ask for advice, share memes and work through this together. So many educators and industry experts have come together during this time to offer free advice so that we can all come out of this healthy and successful!

I got the chance to interview Dr. Eszter Kiss – the founder of the Facebook group, via none other than Facebook messenger. She currently lives in Bern, Switzerland, and has been practicing for 20 years.

Could you delve into some of your background?  Where did you grow up, where do you practice, etc.?

I was born in Hungary and grew up with socialism in the 1980s. My family and my schools taught me critical thinking, not to believe or accept all things as they are being told. I was raised by a single mother with a motto: You can only count on yourself, and with a sense of humor, you can survive everything. At 24, I opened my first dental practice in the outskirts of Budapest. It was 18 square meters altogether. I worked there for more than a decade. I believe in small practices. They are cozy, and the patients are awesome. It’s like a big family! The changes and financial planning are less stressful, as well. I also spent a few years in the British NHS, where I first experienced how important it is to discuss things with your dentist friends. This is a lonely profession, and we don’t even have time for ourselves or our families. Competition is high, and you don’t know who to trust. It is a gift to find some like-minded colleagues you can talk to. For a short while, I studied life and business coaching, which helped me overcome perfectionism and support others in their goals. I taught dental nurses for one year before I came to Switzerland in 2014. I have been working here in my own small practice since then.

Why did you start the Facebook group?

Since the outbreak in China, I have been looking for resources about what to do in the dental practice to avoid cross-infection and self-contamination. I wanted to be prepared. I was curious how the Chinese dentists handled the virus, but I couldn’t find anything. I was searching the WHO website and various dental associations for information, there was nothing specific for dentists. I looked into some dental groups I subscribe to, and nobody seemed to care about the coming pandemic. Now that the pandemic reached Switzerland, I felt our dental community was paralyzed and unaware of the consequences of postponing to take action. I felt an increasing pressure to stand up and think together, or at least inform other dentists in countries where the virus had not been as widespread. I just wanted to talk to some colleagues … Now we are over 22.000 members in only four days.

What’s the situation like in your area?

Switzerland took things quite relaxed and slow. Hardly anyone took the outbreak in China seriously. However, I made a pandemic plan for the practice well before any official recommendations. I ordered some advanced PPE to survive a few weeks of possible crisis and started screening and asking all my patients to disinfect their hands on entering. Some of them refused, so I started to educate them about infection control. After Italy was run down by the virus, we still kept the borders wide open. The infection then started to spread here rapidly, but reactions seemed too mild. Meanwhile, the country ran out of disinfectants and all kinds of face masks. Moreover, Germany stopped exporting both of these times. People started stealing masks, respirators and disinfectants from hospitals. Meanwhile, our country managed to rank in second place after Italy on the list of cases per million population. Our healthcare is of high quality, but the resources are quite limited. There are around 10 ICU ventilators per 100,000 people. The state of emergency was announced on March 16th, and dentists can see only emergency patients until April 19th at the earliest. To be honest, I was relieved to hear that, and our patients accepted these measures really well.

Thoughts on what the future is to bring?

This is going to be a tough time for everybody, and we all have to take part in caring for those in need. If we all could keep our life simple without the greed to consume more and more, the coming months would be less painful. I still trust in solidarity, however I also know human nature … Communities will play a great role in surviving the coming period. It might sound contradictory in these times of social distancing, but I think our group is an interesting example of this.

Luke Shapiro received his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Spanish. He then went to dental school at Stony Brook and graduated in May 2018. He is now an orthodontics resident at Tufts in Boston.

In dental school, Luke did research, focusing on 3D imaging, with his most recent project on the application of iPad 3d imaging technology. He was also very involved in the aesthetics club and ASDA. Luke is the leader of the dental student section of IgniteDDS. He is also the founder of @futuredentists

@courtneylavignedmd courtneylavigne.com

Weighing in With Dr. Luke Shapiro


Can you imagine a dental office with no front desk or office manager? Have you ever double trained your hygienist to be an assistant? What about triple trained your hygienist to also work the front desk? Listening to Dr. Courtney Lavigne talk about her office at first seems crazy, almost radical. But the way in which she nonchalantly talks about this setup, it quickly begins to make sense. Listening to her, my opinion changes from “How does she operate her office like this?” to “Why are there not more dentists who practice like this?”

I met Dr. Lavigne at a lecture for the Tufts Aesthetics Dental Society. She is a talented lecturer with the ability to explain complex topics in an easy manner. I approached Dr. Lavigne after the lecture, and we quickly hit it off. Dr. Lavigne grew up in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. She has two older sisters – ten and twelve years older. Her dad was a carpenter and her mom is a nurse – the perfect combination to raise a budding dentist. She did a lot of finished carpentry with her father, teaching her to be detail oriented while her mother passed on the desire to help people. Originally, she wanted to be a facial reconstructive surgeon but soon realized that she would be almost forty before finishing her residency and would have a lot of debt and a crazy work schedule.

Dr. Lavigne started her practice from scratch about four years after finishing dental school at UConn. She did not buy an existing practice and had to do the entire build out of the office. For the first 4 months of practice, she worked as an associate at another office but quickly built up a stable patient base using Facebook and friends of friends.

At the beginning she had an office manager, but one day the office manager broke her leg and that led to a lot of questions: For how long would the office manager be out? How long would it take to train a temp or advertise for one? So, Dr. Lavigne trained the assistants and hygienists to schedule, which they picked up quickly because they knew how much time was needed for each procedure. The hygienists then started to collect payments in the chairs. The hygienists were also trained as assistants, so Dr. Lavigne could do a small filling or a crown insert in a hygiene chair. This was a huge benefit to the patients because, in a fee-for-service practice, time is just as important as money.

Do you think this model could be the future of dental practices? Dr. Lavigne thinks so. It helps cut down on costs, keeps the staff busy and increases efficiency in the office. Only time will tell.