Welcome to Beauty Boss, a reoccurring series in which we spotlight the power players driving the beauty world forward. Consider this your chance to steal their get-ahead secrets, and grow from the real-life lessons they’ve learned on the job.
Dr. Marc Lowenberg has mastered the art of creating that million dollar celebrity smile, and everyone who’s anyone flocks to his NYC dental practice in search of his magic touch. Below, he talks about his rise to success and how he ended up becoming the cosmetic dentist to the stars.
How did you fall into the dental space?
I was a weird kid. I grew up wanting to be in show business, either an actor or director, but I had an uncle who was a dentist and at the same time I was great with my hands–always building things–and my dad kept telling me that I should be a dentist. I remember by the time I was 13, I was still debating which path to choose. When I began college at American University, my dad drove me down to Washington DC. Somewhere along the Jersey Turnpike he turned to me and said, “So what’s it going to be? Acting or Dentistry? You’re going to have to pick a major when you register.” I still remember waiting on a very long line to register for theater courses, but when my turn came and the registrar asked me to declare a major, without thinking I just said, “pre-med”. When I graduated college, I went to the New York University College of Dentistry. In my junior year of dental school, which was during the Vietnam war, I volunteered as a medic during the Moratoriums in Washington protesting the war. It was there where I met the personal physician for the Rolling Stones who promised that he would send me the Rolling Stones when I opened my practice. That moment changed my professional path as he kept his word and the Stones became my first patients. Roberta Flack, Bryan Eno, Bryan Ferry and the Average White Band followed in the early years and as the years went by more and more entertainers and celebrities followed. As my mom would say, “I ended up with both my dreams–dentistry and show business.”
How did you decide to launch your own practice and what did you want your practice to really become to make it unique?
After dental school, I was offered a job in a very prestigious dental practice in NYC, but I always wanted to do my own thing. Do it my way. It was the 70’s and things were much more relaxed. I wanted to practice in jeans, and treat people that didn’t view dentistry as something you “had” to do but something you wanted to do. Basically, I wanted it to be a cool practice. The producer of The Merv Griffin Show, Alan Foshko, was a very cool “older” guy, who had come to see me through one of my college friends. He told me there was something being developed in Los Angeles, where the show was produced, that would allow dentists to paint on a white color material on top of your existing teeth. It was called “bonding”. Through his connections, he got me the material long before it was mass marketed and I taught myself how to use it and get good at it. Before long, I was doing cosmetic dentistry long before the term “cosmetic dentistry” was coined.
How did you become a dentist to the stars?
The cosmetic dental revolution gained popularity in the 1980’s and continues to flourish today. In the late 80’s Gregg Lituchy became my partner and we changed the name of the practice to Lowenberg and Lituchy. By this time, I had developed a reputation as an excellent dentist, and many young people came to me based on my reputation. Looking back, so many of these young people were aspiring actors and musicians, who were just interested in having healthy teeth. I treated Julianna Margulies, Courtney Cox, Ellen Barkin, Paul Reiser, and many others long before anyone knew their names. One of my favorite celebrity stories is that Courtney came to me to clean her teeth right before she went to audition for Springsteen’s “Dancing in the street” video. And Julianna came to have her teeth cleaned before she flew to LA to audition for ER. The stories go on and on and today, Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor have transformed the smiles of a countless number of celebrated actors, models, recording artists, authors and other public figures; however, I am more than just a “celebrity” dentist. My partners and I are adamant in our belief that our skills should and can do more than just beautify a physical appearance. Through our reputation and diligence, we have brought cosmetic dentistry to the general public and educated people and other dentists what can be done to enhance your smile. Over the years, we have seen time and again the psychological transformation that occurs in a patient’s personality when they have the confidence to smile. Although we are most renowned for their “smile makeovers” through the use of porcelain veneers, we are dedicated to doing the right thing for each individual person, whether you’re a celebrity or a person who cares about their dental health. Regardless of the procedure, each smile is restored with the most up-to-date cosmetic approach.
What’s the best compliment you ever received?
When other dentists, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons refer to me as “an artist”. These are the people that really know how good you are.
What was your “aha moment” when you realized your business had really become a success?
That’s easy. In 1999, The New York Times wrote a story on the front page of the style section on cosmetic dentistry. A photo of Gregg Lituchy and myself jumped off the front page and that’s when I knew.
Who do you think currently has the best smile in Hollywood?
It changes from generation to generation. People have always come in with pictures of celebrities whose teeth they want. There is no “one best” because if you really study smiles you will see they all have different styles. Today’s great smiles are Jennifer Garner, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie, Heidi Klum. If you only use one, it is Heidi Klum. Sexy white teeth!
What’s the #1 requested celebrity smile that people come in asking for?
While her popularity has waned, by far the most requested smile over the last 40 years has been Julia Roberts
Who are some of your celebrity clientele?
Julianna Margulies, Amanda Peet, Heidi Klum, Liev Schreiber, Chris Rock.
What’s one mistake people make most when it comes to their teeth?
People don’t realize how your smile says so much about who you are. Your socio-economic standing, your health, how you take care of yourself. Think about it. When you first meet someone you want to be seen as friendly and warm. A smile does that immediately, and having teeth that are white, clean, and healthy says it better than any words could.
What’s the latest trend/treatment people are getting to create the perfect smile?
The latest trend is creating smile makeovers that are natural looking and not “perfect”.