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The Millennials: Michael Faynzilberg, 33

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The Millennials: Michael Faynzilberg, 33

HEBREW NAME: Moishe
HOMETOWN: Swampscott
CURRENTLY LIVING IN: Boston
ALMA MATERS: Swampscott High School ‘04, Boston University ‘08, BU School of Dental Medicine ‘13
JOB: Dentist
FAVORITE FOOD: Sushi
FAVORITE MUSIC: Classic rock
FAVORITE MOVIES: Anything by Quentin Tarantino
FAVORITE BOOKS: Dostoyevsky, especially “The Brothers Karamazov”
FAVORITE TV SHOW: “The Wire”
FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION: Costa Rica and Indonesia
SOMEWHERE YOU’D LIKE TO GO NEXT: Japan
FAVORITE JEWISH PERSON NOT IN YOUR FAMILY: Albert Einstein
FAVORITE JEWISH HOLIDAY: Passover, though as a kid I would’ve said Hanukkah.

 

WHAT WAS YOUR JEWISH BACKGROUND GROWING UP?

My dad’s whole side of the family is Jewish, and my mom is part, and we left the Soviet Union as political refugees in 1991. We actually got a lot of help from a bunch of different Jewish-based organizations when we immigrated to the US. I would say my family’s more culturally Jewish than spiritually. My dad does some of the traditions like Passover, lighting a menorah, those kinds of things, but we never really went to synagogue or anything like that. I think being from the Soviet Union, where no one really practiced religion, my parents didn’t grow up with it culturally, and moving to America, my mom considers herself more Christian. My dad’s family was our tight-knit family, so the food, and getting together at holidays, was always something we did.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO DENTISTRY?

Two of my uncles are dentists, and I have a lot of family – a lot of cousins in Israel who are dentists, and cousins here – it’s kind of a family business. I always wanted to be some kind of doctor, and I had a natural knack for working with my hands as a kid, so from that perspective it just kind of made sense.

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR OWN PRACTICE?

I was lucky enough that one of the faculty members when I was in school asked me to teach with them, so I started teaching at BU, which is the dental school I went to, the year after I finished. I met Dr. Steve Cohen – he practiced for a long time in Boston, he had practiced with Dr. [Sidney] Whiting before Dr. Whiting moved to the North Shore and bought the office where I work now. He’s the second owner and I’m the third owner, and Dr. Cohen said, ‘You should really meet my friend – he’s at the right age, tell him where you’re from, you know people there.’ I had been looking for a while, and I knew in terms of my clinical skills I was ready to own, so I met Sid and we hit it off right away, and one thing led to another and he agreed to sell the office to me. He’s still working with me – it worked out really well.

DO YOU THINK THE PROFESSION IS CHANGING?

The big thing that’s changed is technology. There’s been a big acceleration of technology in the field that probably younger dentists are adapting to better than the older generation, because we grew up with computers and playing video games, that someone in their 60s didn’t, so I would say in the last 10-15 years there’s been quite a change from that. You can do quite a bit with technology in-house that normally before you’d have to send out. Our imaging software’s gotten better – we have cone-beam machines in the office that use fractions of percents of radiation that medical CT scans do, so we can do really accurate imaging of the jaw, bone, vital structures, whenever we’re planning to do surgery – everything can be digitally planned. We also can scan intra-orally now.

DO YOU TALK TO YOUR COUSINS ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A DENTIST IN ISRAEL?

I get to talk to them a fair amount. Israel is the testing ground for a lot of new technology, because in terms of their legislation they’re a bit less litigious – you don’t need to jump through as many hoops developing a new product or technique there as you do in the United States, so in a lot of ways there’s a lot of interesting R&D work that comes out of there that doesn’t come out in the US. You almost see what’s coming down the pipeline in 5-10 years when it’s kind of worked out there. Israel is that way with a lot of medical development, because it’s a little easier to get up and running versus what we have to deal with here. Also, you don’t come out of dental school with any debt – dental school is pretty much completely state-sponsored. Just dental school alone in the US is about 450 grand now … I would definitely sign up for the Israeli system.

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