A HYGIENIST SCANS THE STACKS OF DVDS, pulls Transformers 3 from the shelf, and pops it in the player. The patient, a Microsoftie on a lunch break, slips on video goggles and zones out as the hygienist fires up the ultrasonic device for a routine cleaning.
“I always recommend Dr. Nov’s office because it’s such a nice place,” says patient and model Erin Mayovsky. “Kind of like the Nordstrom service of dentists.” Video goggles are among the newest high-end conveniences at the general and cosmetic practice of dentist Dodi Nov. This techified Bellevue neighborhood on the forested edge of Redmond (Microsoft is just up the street) has wielded its digital influence on Nov’s practice. When he moved in 10 years ago, he added a complimentary landline in the waiting room. Soon after the phone line, he installed a PC so clients could get on the Internet. These days, patients bring their own devices and use the free Wi-Fi. In the treatment room, TV screens mounted on the ceiling used to be state of the art for patient viewing. Now they let staff see which of the 200-plus movies in Nov’s growing collection is screening on a patient’s goggles.
Mayovsky met Nov long before he opened his practice. It was the mid-1990s, and she had recently graduated from UW while Nov was in his last year of dental school. Mayovsky wasn’t earning much as an intern TV news reporter so her mother encouraged her to ask her friend to check her teeth. She’s been Nov’s patient ever since, and with each visit to his practice she checks out new upgrades.
Mayovsky started modeling when she was 16. Her smile is often the primary feature that gets a prospective client to bite. A few years ago she landed a Crest Spinbrush Pro ad campaign. Casting directors grilled her about her dental hygiene and history. On the way home from the callback in Portland, she chattered nervously to her road-trip buddy, her 80-year-old grandma. But her concerns were focused more on the wait she faced before she’d know if she got the job, and less on how cosmetic work Nov had done over the years stood up to screen tests.
“He’s an ‘unperfectionist,’ ” says Mayovsky. “He never wants things to look fake.” Take for instance the time her kisser clashed with a soccer cleat, chipping her two front teeth: Nov opted for cosmetic bonding—a more conservative procedure than veneers—to restore her teeth to their original, slightly imperfect contours, and carefully considered Mayovsky’s skin tone when selecting an appropriate shade of composite resin. “There are a lot of overdoers of the Chiclety, blue-white smile,” says Nov. “You can get amazing results and have it look natural.” Mayovsky’s smiling face appeared in magazine ads and national TV spots for the motorized toothbrushes. “My friends were like, ‘Oh my god, I just saw you in Vogue!’”
“My whole staff and I really care about the patient and the outcome,” says Nov. Cosmetic work comes with a high level of responsibility. “All in all the stress I put on myself is the same, but knowing that I’ll see my work on TV or in a magazine bumps up the fun factor for me.”