This week’s guest needs little in the way of introduction as Prav and Payman take a call from stateside and the legendary Dr Larry Rosenthal.
Larry talks about his rise to becoming one of the world’s best-known names and how a meeting with a bioengineer in his early career changed Larry’s life, in the process transforming the face of dentistry as we know it.
The trio talk ambition, happiness, success and what it means to rub shoulders with some of the world’s most influential people.
An episode not to be missed.
“I didn’t mean to transform the profession. I don’t know if I did, I had some role in it, but I feel pretty good about it.” – Larry Rosenthal
01.49 – Early years
06.18 – Porcelain laminates
16.47 – Innovation
20.26 – Rise to fame and life at the top
32.57 – Happiness and success
36.58 – When veneers fail
43.53 – The making of Mike Apa
54.57 – Zeitgeist
01.04.14 – Family and life in lockdown
01.10.37 – A day in the life
01.1404 – Larry’s last day
About Larry Rosenthal
New Yorker Dr Larry Rosenthal is perhaps the world’s foremost dentist. Dr Rosenthal completed his residency at the Montefiore Hospital before graduating from New York University in 1972. He is director of the Aesthetic Continuum at the Advanced Aesthetic Program of the university’s Rosenthal Institute, as well as at The Palm Beach College and the FMC/Eastman Dental College of London.
Prav: I’m just curious to know that you’ve got this kid, who you’ve brought from dental school as his father and then there’s a transaction that happens. Talk to me about how those conversations even went about.
Larry Rosenthal: No I’ll tell you, first of all I’m not his father. Sort of a jest in-
Prav: I know, no, no, no.
Larry Rosenthal: I’m his shrink. I’m his shrink. I’m not his father.
Intro Voice: This is Dental Leaders. The podcast where you get to go one-on-one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.
Prav: Well, it gives me great pleasure to welcome one of the pioneers of cosmetic dentistry onto the show, someone who’s inspired, I’d say maybe one-third of the guests we’ve had on this show, have mentioned Larry Rosenthal somewhere along their progressions, someone who inspired them to actually get into cosmetic dentistry in the first place. Coming from New York, born and bred in New York, Larry really burst onto the scene in the UK in the ’90s, but obviously a lot before that. In terms of porcelain laminate veneers, maybe the most experienced dentist in the world on that subject. Lovely to have you on this show, Larry.
Larry Rosenthal: It’s a pleasure to be here. How are my chaps doing there across the Atlantic?
Prav: They’re doing well.
Payman: Just fine you don’t know how many times you’ve been mentioned on this show, you’ve been mentioned so many times on this show.
Larry Rosenthal: I can’t imagine in what phrase they’ve talked about me, but sometimes good, sometimes not so good.
Prav: We’ll get to that. We’ll get to that. Larry, this conversation really is about getting to the person behind the persona, so tell us about your childhood. Where were you born? What were you like as a kid? When did you decide to be a dentist?
Larry Rosenthal: Well, first of all I was born in Brooklyn, New York at the turn of the century, so it was quite a long… Secondly, I was born in a family, my brother is a dentist, he’s five years older than me. He was the greatest brother growing up. He took me everywhere. We were into sports. I hung out with all his friends. I spent more time with his friends than my friends. My mother and father were two of the greatest people of all time. My mother was sweet. She was a typical Jewish mother. She was engaging, she was loving. You could do no wrong.
Larry Rosenthal: My father was the coolest, crazy, wildest guy. Passed away 35 years ago. He’s my idol to this day, and he’s looking at us right now. He’s watching over me, and if I had two million or more men that I could choose for my father, my father would go first and the other million plus would be a long-distant second. That’s how special he is.
Prav: Really. What was he like? Go and tell some crazy stories about him.
Larry Rosenthal: My father was in the garment centre. He made a maximum of like $25,000 a year as a working partner. He designed dresses and things like that, and he had one good year, one bad year, and out of business. But you never knew it looking at him. He always had a cigar in his mouth, he had a great sense of humour. He had a swagger. He looked like he was a billionaire making $25,000 a year. And he was cool, he was fun. He was nice. He taught me… and he said, “Listen, Larry, you’re different than your brother. Your brother would be very content doing his job. You on the other hand, you will not be able to work for anyone. You need to be stroked. You need to be the person in front. It’s going to be very difficult for you to take criticism, and maybe even listen to some people talk about how you could be better, because you’re going to think you’re the one.” And he was right on. He was right on.
Larry Rosenthal: And he said to me one thing before he passed away, he said, “Larry, you never really saw my success.” I said, “Dad, you’ll watch it. You’ll watch it up there.” I knew he was passing away. He said to me, “Just one thing. The only mistake I made in my life was when I saw things happening and I didn’t go for it. If you see something happening, and you think you have a shot at whatever it is, work, relationships, family, if you don’t go for it, you’ll regret it your whole life.” So basically, I’ve been going for my whole life, and I’ve been pretty fortunate that my go-for attitude hasn’t gotten me in more trouble than it did.
Prav: Sounds like a great guy. Sounds like great advice as well. So when did you decide to be a dentist? Was it because your brother was a dentist that you decided?
Larry Rosenthal: No, actually I was going to be a musician. I was going to be a musician. I would have starved and wasn’t that good. I was playing keyboards and I was going to music schools, and all of a sudden, the Vietnam draught came. And being on draught in the United States was one to 365. Your birthday. My birthday was Valentine’s Day, it was number two. The first 165 were definitely going to Vietnam. I was what do you call it, and I was so into the whole thing, I had a beard, I had hair down to here. I was a rebel. If you told me this was black, I would say it’s white. So I was a person that was anti-establishment from the get go. I was going to Canada to run away or I had options, medical school, dental school or veterinary school and getting a 2S degree, which would eliminate you from going at least temporarily into the services.
Larry Rosenthal: And I said, “Well, medical school…” My cousin went to medical school. I said, “I don’t know. That’s life and death.” I always thought it was life and death, so I didn’t want to do life and death. And so I liked animals, but dealing with animals all the time is not good. And dentistry, my brother was in dental school, or going into dental school, first year, and I said, “That seems to be the least path of resistance, the least resistant path.” So I go to dental school, and I’m in dental school, and they accepted me, go back, take a few courses to get accepted, and I get deferment. My first week in dental school, I look around me, I say to myself, “This is not going to happen. How could anyone want to deal with what I’m having to deal with?”
Larry Rosenthal: You wear gloves, put your fingers in someone’s mouth, listen to them, work on them. I mean, the whole idea was basically a very glorified plumber. I said, “That’s not very good for my ego, for my status, or even for my future.” That’s not going to get me too excited about life. But I went through it, and then all of a sudden, as I’m going to dentist school, there’s a guy named Dr. Harold Horton, who was a researcher. He was giving a lecture, and then after the lecture explaining things, and he came to me at, I don’t remember the exact order of the meeting, but he came to me, and he says, “Dr. Rosenthal, I want to tell you something. I am doing something in the laboratory. Please come here. You’re a young guy.” And he said to me, “You have a big mouth,” and pointed for me to go.
Larry Rosenthal: So I go ahead and I go to this thing, and he has porcelain pieces bonded on teeth. And he was actually trying to pull the porcelain off the tooth, and he would pull the enamel off the dentin easier than he pulled the porcelain off the tooth. And they were very thick and they were very… and he goes, “If you help me, and you believe in this, then I will go ahead and do this thing, we’re going to call it porcelain laminate.
Larry Rosenthal: And he said to me in the process, “You can be part of this thing.” I said, “First of all, I have no idea what you’re doing. Second of all, these things look too thick. Third of all, they don’t look like teeth. When you bond teeth and shape them, you can do it too big.” And he said, “Well, that would be your problem. I’ll make it stay. You make it look good. You make it comfortable for the gums. Biologic is your end. I am the bioengineer researcher.” He was a dentist also, I believe.
Larry Rosenthal: So we did that for a while, and believed that in the first 15 to 20 years I did this, I was an outcast. Little Larry Rosenthal is a high-priced salesman. He’s going to sell you something. He’s a little outrageous out there, but it’s not traditional dentistry. You have to cut a tooth, drill a tooth, totally around, move a lot of the tooth, the strength, and for long-term stability, and it’s called a crown.” These veneers will not work. They’ll pop off. They’ll be a disaster. And we didn’t know. And now I don’t know how many thousands and thousands veneers later how we open our bites, transit, things. And one morning, I put pressure on these things, and the less I touch the tooth, the less I drill, the more conservative I am, the less invasive I am, this stuff works. I’ve seen patients… today I’ll see a patient I did 22 years ago. And they decided to do it again. It was remarkable.
Larry Rosenthal: I didn’t mean to transform the profession. I don’t know if I did, I had some role in it, but I feel pretty good about it, but what I did do, and this is very important, I know it’s a long-winded answer but-
Prav: No, no, keep going. Keep going.
Larry Rosenthal: So what I did do was I said to myself, “Regardless of anything else, I’m a giver.” I don’t like to take much. I like to give. And I like to show things as part of my drive or my ego, who I am, or what it is. And I said to myself, “If I can give back, and I can go ahead and show dentists that this might be a more effective way to restore a tooth, restore a mouth, change a smile, doing a smile, all these things, then I’ve done something.” So I went out there and literally I was Donald Trump out there. They were ready to throw things at me. They were ready to protest and throw things at me.
Larry Rosenthal: I had to stand up there, and they wanted me to prove to them, meaning the dental community, prosthodontists, dentists, all around the world I would lecture every weekend that this is the way to go. I said, “I’m not going to prove anything. My scientific data is my office. My research is my office. My recall system is my paper.” So the bottom line is this, that I will explain to you, and I tell them all the time, “This is how I do it. This is what I do every day. It may work for you. It may not work for you. If you disagree with the way I’m doing it, fine. You have a better way to do it, tell me.” I would like to too, because education is the most important thing, I think, that drives this planet. And if we got more educated, we’d have less problems because we’re all the same.
Larry Rosenthal: So not getting to a political venue yet, this catapulted me to a level where today I am in the office full-time as a hobby, in a pandemic I am busy as hell. I have no social media. Half the people think I either died or whatever the other half know I’m there. And my hands don’t shake yet. I don’t have any heart conditions. I’m relaxed. I’m probably as good or whatever I am as I ever was. Once I lose it, I’m out of here, but right now, I am… This podcast, the people listening to this, I really compel you, I beg of you, go ahead and try to reach out for more. There’s so much more you can give your patients. In the end, they get the rewards. They get the satisfaction. They get the results. They get the positive, positive results of really quality dentistry that’s available today, and they get the emotional feedback of feeling good about themselves, anti-ageing, and health.
Payman: Larry, when was that? If you just go back in time in terms of that initial conversation that you had where you talked about bonding this laminate onto a tooth, what year was that approximately?
Larry Rosenthal: Well, in 1981, which you people probably weren’t even born is when I met Dr. Harold Horton, and they were doing bonding, and a lot of my mentors were doing bonding, on boastings, it was smile dell, all people around the thing were doing bonding. I joined the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. I’m sitting in here, I’m going, “Wow, look at these dentists. Look at their presentation. Look at what they’re doing. Look at their mindset. Look at their though processes.” And this is off the charts.
Larry Rosenthal: And I will go ahead, we had a philosophy in dental school called See One. Do One. Teach One. I didn’t like that philosophy, so I went ahead and I thought about this. I said, “I’m sitting in London. I was doing a course in London.” I wrote a college position and surgeons, and I said, “I just can’t understand.” I said, “See it visually. You hear it verbally. But you experience it emotionally.” I just can’t. I don’t know what I came from. The instructors said, “What the hell was that?” And I said, “First of all, you got to see it visually. Your mind has to see it, and it has to understand where you’re going to go with it. And the eye has to say, ‘if I do get the chance to do this, what am I going to do?'” Okay?
Larry Rosenthal: And then the hand works. It doesn’t work because I’m going this way and this way and this way, it works because your mind understands it, and your eye sees it. That’s what we try to teach. That the idea is when you know what you’re doing, you’re a painter. You’re not drilling, you’re painting. You’re flowing around the teeth, and the patient feels it. All the vibes and all the experiences of everybody else are different than other office.
Larry Rosenthal: I didn’t know it was different, but I felt it, so I believed that when we make that patient feel great and comfortable, that’s as important as the result we give them. There’s a long process of teaching and learning. Every lecture’s important. Four days a week we’re getting our plan on Thursday night and teaching someone, then developing a hands-on course, and then they’ll be several of them, then going out there and allowing myself to be quietly shot in the back so many times. And that’s how I understand Trump.
Larry Rosenthal: I understand Trump because some of the things that they said about me might be true. Most of them aren’t. I’ve done a lot of crazy things in life and they never got a problem. People don’t understand. But the things they’re talking about were off the charts wrong. All I want to do is understand is I truly believe from my heart, and from my experience, this is the way to go if you’re going to do restorative dentistry.
Prav: So, Larry, do you remember a time when it went from absolute people not believing that this is a way to do it to when the inflexion point when people really wanted to come to your course, and getting more accepted?
Larry Rosenthal: Well, it was a series of times, but one of the defining moments for me… There were two defining moments for me.
Larry Rosenthal: One was when I gave a lecture at the American Academy of Prosthodontists, and I get up there, and the traditional dentists, most of which either teaches the mind or people that I deeply respect in the field that have a lot more experience than I had, that had successful practises. I was a young stud or mud, or whatever it was, and what happened was I got up there and I said to them, “I don’t know why you invited me here unless you’re here to justify the way you do dentistry as opposed to the philosophy that I have. If that is why you’re here, I am fine, because I am not here to change you one iota. I’m just here to expose you to my philosophy and open up opportunity, and open your mind to the possibilities. Now some of you will be open to it, a lot of you won’t. This is something beyond my control.”
Larry Rosenthal: So I went along the way, and I got to a point where the crisis came in, and they gave me even more time, and I said to them, “Look, can we cut to the chase? Can I tell you exactly how I feel? I feel the way you do dentistry, and the way you taught…” this was, I think, at Harvard, I’m not even sure. It was a meeting out there, lost it. I said, “Is magnificent.” The root of all prosthodontists start in this area, Harvard, all these places, Tufts. And I said, “But you know, that was them.” And basically I was telling them to drain the swamp. I didn’t know that, but that’s what I was telling them.
Larry Rosenthal: I said, “If you don’t open your eyes and ears and your heart and your mind to new things, nothing ever happens.” This profession has tremendous possibilities. If you just think about it, give it a chance, explore a little more, perhaps you’ll have a better life than dentistry. More happiest as a dentist, more success as a dentist, more financial gains as a dentist. Perhaps. And if not, fine.
Prav: But Larry, now that you’re kind of part of the establishment, do you see that in yourself as well? Do you see these young kids coming in with their digital side and all that, and you being the one who has to be convinced… I mean, do you do the digital side or not?
Larry Rosenthal: Okay, the great question is this. I consider myself and how I practise dentistry still revolutionary. I open bites up every day. I expand watches vertically and horizontally, and I do this pretty seamlessly. People say you’ve got a wage, and I have to get temporaries on for a long time, whatever. So that phase, dentistry hasn’t even caught up to that point. If you do anything every day, and it doesn’t work, if you don’t change it, you’re out of business. If it does work, you just modify it, so the proof of the pudding that if people are still coming to me in this age of that, and years and things going, I don’t even see these. We’ll talk about ferries in a second.
Larry Rosenthal: But the point being is this, you’re absolutely right. For some reason, I have resisted the social media, because when I started out, it was first lectures, then a few articles, some of them from Henry Schein. They’re not going to know who you are, Larry. They’ll say you’re a high-priced salesman. You better write some things that are academically, scientifically satisfied in the community, and the community accepts it. So social media’s one of those things I didn’t because I saw some problems with social media early on. People would lie and talk about, not just dentistry, other things out there. And their lies were affecting, and to get it back was very, very hard, almost like getting a credit report back. You get some awful credit report-
Prav: Yeah, but what about the digital side of dentistry, the scanners and the smile design and all that, digital smile design?
Larry Rosenthal: Well, right now we do design dentistry. Right now we have, I think, eight technicians in this office.
Larry Rosenthal: We have a giant lab. We have a digital designer who is from Brazil, who is maybe the best in the world. He came through the great ceramists that came out of Brazil, and dentist he came out, from a digital design expert. So the point being is that they came here, and I have learned so much. I had a technician in my office for a long time when we did veneers. She would sit there. I would prep in the morning, light prep, have almost no temporary bonding, look like I’m put a casing in afterwards for the one-day smile makeover.
Larry Rosenthal: Now, I wash different materials, the billing materials, and the adding on, everything from zirconium to Emalex to this feldspathic porcelain to how we do digital wax-ups or how we do the composite now that are so phenomenal that uses provisional that looks like permanents. Everything has evolved, so I feel good about that. Every single person that comes into our practise gets a digital scan of their mouth as a permanent record.
Larry Rosenthal: I think it’s the most amazing thing. I think the dentist, even if you didn’t use a consub-changeable impressions, everyone else will have to get with it. But if you had a digital as an impression, it is one of the best practise management tools to sell. Patients do not like impressions. Now some people may not mind. Some people may. When you say, “We’re not going to do impressions.” It’s a camera, and they’re watching it on the screen develop. There’s no better communication and visual. As a matter of fact, the less a dentist talks, the better off [inaudible 00:20:13].
Larry Rosenthal: I am a total believer in digital world, and I was not until a few years ago. But I believe it’s taking dentistry to another level. I really believe, and I think it’s very, very important.
Payman: So at what point did your business go from… you said you had a small office or you were just starting out in dentistry, and then you became this world-famous cosmetic dentist. What was the transition from being this guy who rocked up, gave a lecture to a bunch of non-believers, and then became who you were today?
Larry Rosenthal: Okay, that’s a great question. I had a three-path platform. I went to get this office where I am now, I had a 700-square-foot office. Now the office became 1400 square feet, and I thought that was like Madison Square Garden. I mean, this is like the Grand Ole Opry or it’s like London Coliseum or whatever you want to call it. It was unbelievable, and it was 1400 square feet. I couldn’t afford to pay for it, so I rented out to every dentist. So I had a dentist in every room. I had 10 people at the front desk. It was absolute total disorganised chaos where now we have organised.
Larry Rosenthal: What happened was some of the methods that I watched, people would say to me, “Listen…” and the story was amazing. There was a story in Time Magazine where a woman had septuplets, and everyone was giving her something for free in Iowa, and the Oprah Winfrey Show called me on the phone and said, “Why don’t you go ahead and do her teeth.” She had black teeth, she had tetracycline-stained teeth. And everyone was giving it to her. It was in Iowa. I said, “Well, I don’t have a licence to go to Iowa.” Jerry Dennehey, he’s in… Europe, but I can’t go there. “Well, why don’t you do it on the show on Oprah?” I said, “Well, I can’t go to Chicago to do it.”
Larry Rosenthal: I said, “Listen, it’s very simple. I will help design, I will help organise, I will do it.” At that moment I had someone in town who was a PR person. She said to me, “Why are you doing it for that person. Let me do this.” And she said to me, “I will build your name up.” So a slow process, a three-pronged process. Number one, write over 30-something articles in a couple years. Number two, I lectured to every group out there from 10 people to 300 in the labs or more, and dental meetings even bigger than that. And the third thing was I went on TV, and I was on TV an awful lot in two years travelling around the country talking about the fact that this is a renaissance revolution of the highest order.
Larry Rosenthal: Oral health is one of the things that has been most dismissed by the public. It’s probably one important connection with cardiac disease and all kinds of other problems that maybe go on. People think they’re just teeth. And then I said to the fact that there was a personal self-esteem problem, that people didn’t smile, the most important emotion, I think, that goes on. If I smile right now talking to you, I sound like I’m smiling. I’m still like that, it’s all I got. So it’s not just what it looks like, it’s how you feel about yourself. And that became the most important part of what I believed was my goal and my drive in dentistry, making people feel better about themself without risking the health, and 90-something percent of the time improving their health. That was the most important part.
Payman: Larry, you graduated from dentistry. You started practising dentistry. Did you go from working for someone else through to having probably one of the most successful cosmetic practises in the world? What was that transition?
Larry Rosenthal: That was a great question again. Okay. I went around, I said, “If I want to be a high quality dentist, sitting in a lecture’s not going to do it for me.”
Payman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Larry Rosenthal: Little help, I got to see what’s going on. So I want to get a job at the number one prosthodontist in New York that had a gold band, and the beginnings of a porcelain band, porcelain and gold crowns. They were veneer into the gold and porcelain. Some of them were acrylic on top of it. Some of them were porcelain on it. I got a job. I was young. They didn’t want to hire me for anything else. They had me do root canals. Now, the entire population was in pain that year in New York City, because if you asked me to do a root canal, it was like purgatory because I could not do it. I was horrendous. I was awful. I didn’t like it. I did it with one eye looking at the tooth, one eye looking at what’s going on in the office.
Larry Rosenthal: But I did learn a lesson. I went to him, I said to him, “Listen, Doctor, this is Joe, I’ll be in so on and so forth, you guys are the head of the Prosthodontist Society, and you guys are phenomenal dentists, and I’m honoured to be here and I want to stay here, but I’m the wrong person doing this. I will cause problems.” Actually, I wasn’t as bad as I sound, but still, there’s someone else there. “I would like to be part of this team. I will be the gopher, I’ll do whatever you want, but I’ll do that too.” And they kept me around for quite a while, and I watched the way the office worked, the interactions. Two very classy prosthodontists who were excellent dentists, who had a clientele that was unbelievable. And I said, “What is going on here? Why are they coming here, this clientele? Why are they coming to this office? Why are they paying these high fees?”
Larry Rosenthal: And I realised, it was their calm, professionalism, the ease at which they went ahead and did it. The fact that the office was positive, was reinforcing, and that they were quality dentists and they had a quality lab guy there too. And I said, “That’s part of the key.” There’s a team here that’s making it work, and without that team, it’s a struggle. And that was also in the ’80s. It was in the ’80s. I graduated school in ’72. Maybe in the ’70s actually, even before that. It might have been the ’70s. And I went across there and I said, “I’m going to build something great.”
Larry Rosenthal: By the way, I got to tell you something. This sounds very, very pompous, it may sound arrogant, not meant to be. But I believed in myself, and I believed in myself so much that if I was selling vitamins, I’d be the best vitamin salesman.
Payman: Where does that come from, Larry? Where does that come from?
Larry Rosenthal: My father.
Larry Rosenthal: My father instilled a confidence in me. I would go ahead to this day and not make restaurant reservations. I go to the hardest restaurant possible to get in, walk in the door, and say, “I know you have no tables, but I’m in the corner over here, and if you get a chance, I’d like a table.” I think anyone that makes a restaurant reservation is a fraud. Because anybody that makes reservations, what’s the difference, you just get accepted. You need to get in.
Larry Rosenthal: I drive around New York City in a car. I had a driver for 20 years. I drive myself. Never put in a lock finding a spot before. The challenge of life is getting things done that no believes you can do. That’s what keeps me going to this day. And when I see the patients, and they go, “How can you do this one more?” I would go into dentists, here I had braces, here I got ortho, here I got Invisalign, here I got root canal, here I got this here. Everything’s been passed all over the place. Or I did this, I didn’t like it, whatever.
Payman: Larry, you’ve treated some of the most powerful people in the world. I mean, I think you were one of the first dentists ever to have people travel across continents to come and see you. They could be the richest people, the most influential people. You’ve had an insight into people who’ve really made it in the world. Do you ever feel like that feeling of… Have you ever seen Eyes Wide Shut, the film?
Larry Rosenthal: No, but I should.
Payman: That feeling of you’ve touched the very highest level of society and I don’t know whether you consider yourself as part of that. For a dentist, sometimes difficult. What’s the key to happiness? I mean, we see lots of unhappy rich and successful people. What’s the key to happiness for you? This process you’re talking about?
Larry Rosenthal: Well, first of all, if you think about any job around the world, the CEOs, the people that run the government, people that go ahead and are rock stars in their own world, the dentist is the rock star in dentistry. The patient sits in a chair, they virtually know nothing. They think they know everything, but they know nothing, right? They’re coming to because a dentist is the expert. He went to school. It’s even different than anything else, because there are teeth. They, the power of people that came into me at the beginning, what they would do, they would do what they do with everyone in their social, in their work environment, they try to dominate and they try to go ahead and let you follow their thought process and what they want. That’s not what they want.
Larry Rosenthal: They want you to take control. If they have control over you, they have no confidence in you. The word is trust. If someone trusts you and believes in you, whether it be this podcast, whether it be dentistry, where it be relationships, then you’re in. And if they don’t trust you, even the best path in the world doesn’t work. So the key is that… And it also is rewards. The power you have over them, over people the are billionaires, that are heads of state, that lead the free world, that are superstar rock stars, that are models that everyone wants to be like, pictures of it, all these people, actresses, actors, people across the board, right?
Payman: What I’m saying is you get an insight-
Larry Rosenthal: How in my office, okay, in my office, they are lucky to be there. When every star comes in, I won’t mention stars, when they come in, they’re lucky to be there. They could be in another office, and maybe get a great treatment, and maybe get the final result even better, but they won’t get treated better. It won’t feel better. And whatever I charge, it’s worth it. And when they tell me, “Can I go… You know, I went to your competitor…” whoever that is, “and the fee was this. It’s lower than yours, can you match that fee because I really want to go to you.” And I say to them, “[inaudible 00:30:46] ask you. You should be there. They’re a great office. They’re great dentists. They will do the job. But if you want me, this is what I charge. This is who I am.”
Larry Rosenthal: Have a nice day. And the power of control of that, because the fee is $10 or $8 or $12 or 12,000 or 10,000, it doesn’t change people’s minds. It’s not going to be that much crazier. But the idea of this, and the friends that have me, people coming in today, people came in yesterday, I go around the world, I go places that I’m invited, things that I don’t even want to go to anymore, but the feeling of these… Not only my patients, they’re my friends.
Payman: So this is what I’m saying, this is what I’m saying. You must have been exposed to life at the very top.
Larry Rosenthal: I’m never exposed to it, not in my mother and father. I told my father was, I did it. I got married to a woman that went along, was a top model, and went everywhere with me. And we would get into places like Studio 54 and things like that. I’d meet someone, I’d go there, we’d push it, we’d go everywhere. I would never tell them what I do. I would just… Well, who is this guy? It was the fact that I believed in myself. My father taught me something very special, actually my son did. He says, “Larry, you’re bet…” “Dad,” my son said to me, and he meant this, “Your best friends are the ushers of Madison Square Garden and the guys in the garage.”
Larry Rosenthal: My father said to me, and I don’t mean this in a bad way. This is the most important thing in life. This sound bad, but it’s not a bad way. It’s taking care of little people. The little people means not the employers, but the employees that work out there. And I try to make everyone, whether the guy’s a policeman on a corner or sanitation guy or the guy that’s sitting out there trying to sell belts for a living in New York City when no one’s walking around, or masked. I love these people. And I love the people. So therefore my image was, oh, Larry is all this. He’s out there. He doesn’t care. It’s exact opposite. I enjoy those people more than the so-called phonies that have made it to the top and want everybody to know about it.
Larry Rosenthal: You know what it is? You do things for people that they don’t even know you did it for them. That’s why dentistry’s great. I’m sorry, next question.
Prav: So just touching on the same question that Payman asked, you’ve had the opportunity to mix with these incredibly successful individuals who’ve become friends of yours. Can you give us an insight to during the conversations with them, what do you take away as being the top two or three secrets to their success, and does that necessarily mean happiness, and what is that?
Larry Rosenthal: Okay. Happiness and success are two different things. And success can be divided into so many different categories.
Larry Rosenthal: When dentists say success, that means a practise that’s busy, that there’s a kind of dentistry they want to do, the results are very good, basically pretty happy and they’re making a good living, and they’re thought of well in the community. I think that’s a dentist. When I think of success, I think it’s a fact that they cannot believe the experience, that they thought it would be much worse. They thought of dentistry of being more painful, more negative, rather than joint, wanting to go to the dentist.
Larry Rosenthal: When it goes to CEOs it’s the same thing. There are different types of people. There are people that rule by fear. They go ahead and they become very, very condescending and arrogant, and they scare their competition. They scare their employees. They fight everyone else into believing in them, and afraid to object. I do the opposite. I want to get that back that they’re part of a team. They love being here, and they could tell me, “Dr. Rosenthal, this tooth over here doesn’t fit or doesn’t look good.” I’m looking over here, I don’t see it. We got to make it or we got to change it. The smile’s going this way or that way. And I go, “My God…” I will say to my staff.
Larry Rosenthal: Patients say, “You’ve got a great assistant today, because their teeth are always going to the right over here.” We have a great assistant. I have no problem in that way. As a matter of fact, I go in a new direction. I also believe that most dentists are so serious. I think humour is something you don’t buy, but lighten up. You know, life, lighten up. Things can happen bad and good to everybody else, whether you are the president, whether you are the CEO, whether you are the all-star football player, you’re the model of the world. You make mistakes. It happens all the time. Lighten up. And if you loosen up your attitude, you can look at it negatively. I listen to it every day.
Larry Rosenthal: People come to the dentist and what do they do? Complain. That’s why they’re there. They might not complain about you, but complain about other dentists or their teeth in general, or their life in general, whatever it might be. If you’re complaining, it’s negative. We want serotonin, we want positive things. That’s what makes you happy. Your mind starts to feel happy because you refuse to dwell on the negative. I’m going to give you one example. Can I give you one example?
Larry Rosenthal: A friend of mine went ahead… I used this in lectures a long time, I just thought of it. Friend of mine went to school with another friend, and the other friend he went to school there with at the same time, he went ahead and they both graduated. They went into different professions. Similar path guys and same type of education, background, et cetera. One became a salesperson, and the other one became a broker on Wall Street. And the salesperson made like $100,000 one year. The next year he made 130 and he was ecstatic. The broker made a million dollars one year, and went down to 750 the next year and wanted to put a bullet in his head because he was going down and the other one was going up.
Larry Rosenthal: So it doesn’t really matter what you have, it depends on what you want to achieve, and what you need to live your life. It’s all just… I mean, money is the exchange of goods and services to do something. I mean, that’s what it is. You don’t have to have a new car. Your car works. You don’t have to have new teeth. You don’t have to have a lot of things. It’s not what you have to have, it’s what you want to have, and what you want to be.
Payman: Larry, you’re perfectly positioned having done so many veneers to discuss failures of veneers. So where are the failures? What can a general dentist do to minimalize the number of failures that they have?
Larry Rosenthal: Okay, first of all…
Payman: And how do you handle patients when it comes to [crosstalk 00:37:15].
Larry Rosenthal: Okay, I’m going to tell you a story that happened to me last week, and a patient’s actually coming in today.
Larry Rosenthal: A very short picture, it’s visual, I probably sent them to you.
Larry Rosenthal: What happens is this. What is a failure? If the case is beautiful, two teeth, four teeth, six teeth, a bridge, implant, whatever it is, and it fits perfectly, and the person goes great, and the bite’s great. Comes back the next day and he says to me, “I’m getting food caught here. I don’t feel good. I don’t like the way it looks. It doesn’t feel fine. I’m not the same person.” And you really don’t think you can do better. You can do different, but not better. Is that a failure?
Prav: Yeah, it’s a failure of communication I guess.
Larry Rosenthal: Well, I don’t know, you may have told him the same thing, doesn’t matter. Some patients will go, you do 10 cases, and they’ll say, “I like this better. I don’t like this anyways.” And the failure is to go ahead and evaluate your patient. That’s one of the biggest problems. You shouldn’t be treating some people. I went to five dentists, I’m not happy here. Can you make me happy?
Payman: When I did a lot of veneers I used to have patients super happy in the chair go home sometimes and a family member would see them as different look, and then they would come back and say, “I’m not happy anymore.” [crosstalk 00:38:27]-
Larry Rosenthal: You go ahead and you pay the grandchildren off. You pay the grandchildren, you give them some cash. So they go to grandma, “Your teeth look great.” Or you go ahead and get a homeless guy outside the office and didn’t know it was a temporary, “Ma’am, you look beautiful. Where’d you get those teeth?” 20 bucks and you’ve got a success.
Payman: But let’s talk about critical failures, so staining, chipping, whatever.
Larry Rosenthal: Okay, listen, we’re a triangle, the first seven years, we said the last five years, 10 years, now it’s 15, 20 years, whatever. It depends upon the case. They want you to guarantee when it’s going to last. I can’t guarantee it. I guarantee I’ll stand by my work. So if it’s a clinical failure… Want me to give you a prime example?
Larry Rosenthal: I’m going to expose myself right out here. I’ll undress myself right to you in public. I’m going to do it. So I had a guy last week, I put in a very difficult case, and it was six [inaudible] teeth. It was a bridge from two to five, you could see the implants from two to four. The teeth were dentures at that point. Raising his bite three to five milligramme, overcrowding lower interiors, broken down teeth. Seen this person come in, take impressions, he flies in, I try the case. Nothing fits. I’m talking about I can’t get one thing seated. On the model they look great, not one could be seated. What do you do? America, England, dentist out there globally, what do you do now? I don’t know.
Larry Rosenthal: I’ll tell you what I did. I don’t know what you’d do. I know what my partner would do differently than I do it. I make it work. I sat there for three and a half hours, drilling out the inside of hemax, zirconium bridges, uses provisionals back there. I drilled out with like 44 burrs. I adjusted the teeth and drop, the patient had no idea what was going on. I get the case in. I had a doctor who’s in post-grad in prosthodontics school observing me, watching me do this.
Larry Rosenthal: In horror, the guy is in horror, and I’m going, “Isn’t this great? Watch this.” He goes, “Do you do this in every case.” I go, “Absolutely. Every case we have to do this.” So I put the case in, I put it in, listen to this, I take new impressions, right?
Larry Rosenthal: Before I do the work inside the crowns. I see the stuff in, I put the bridge in temporarily I put the crown in, the anterior veneers, crowns permanently lowers them fine. I get the bite right. He’s coming in today. Bring me the back bridge in the top front teeth. I told Jackie yesterday that “I hope that girl’s not touching me teeth.” He said, “I went to my mother’s 80th birthday, just before I came in yesterday, on weekend, and they can’t believe how I look, how my face looks like somebody else.”
Larry Rosenthal: I had to tell them, and I didn’t tell them anything, nothing works. Any dentist do that or would they let it go. This is the question for the day. I’m not talking about one tooth failure. I’m talking about the whole thing. The important thing is if someone screws up and I take all responsibility because I’m a dentist. The lab’s going to screw up, Jessica screw up, impressions, everything else, it’s my fault. I said, “If you go to another dentist, it’s a problem, it’s my fault.” I take full responsibility in the beginning. I say if you go to a surgeon, implant fails, I have to live. If he fails, I got to spend my time. The surgeon should pay me.
Larry Rosenthal: He put an implant in, it failed. I got to do it again? I stand by a lot of things. I do every account over there, even sometimes you should put in time. The idea is this, there is a thing in business that is that the cost of doing business. But if I let that guy go, put his temporaries back on, he would have said, “Maybe I went to the wrong place here. It’s a lot of money. Why didn’t it fit?” When I put them in and got them replaced, and I got them in pretty good, x-rays, clean them. So what I’m saying to you is that you stand by it. You stand by it. We make critical failures all the time, and it may not be your fault. It may be your fault. It may be the wrong cement. It may have set on. It may have fit great. It may be the margins chip, don’t fit that way. You didn’t get the impression. That’s going to happen.
Larry Rosenthal: If you do enough teeth, you can’t worry about failures. You have to accept failures. And you tell the patient, I told them, I said, “This case is great. I’m going to evaluate when you come back next week because I may want to make some changes. You may be happy, but I want to make some changes. I’m not sure.”
Payman: But clinically, Larry, what are the few things about porcelain laminates that most dentists don’t know but they really should?
Larry Rosenthal: Well the problem with porcelain laminates is mostly a problem with cementation, over-preparation of cementation. If they prep the teeth too much, they don’t have them. If they did a clinical wax up or a digital wax up and did a trial smile over their teeth and got some sort of result, they’d see they use as a prep guide. They’d see their own prep of the teeth causing problems. It looks like it’s going this way. I’ve done it myself so many times over-prep teeth.
Larry Rosenthal: And the other thing is cementation. The process is very, very difficult, especially when you have light cure and due cure materials in the same, things back and forth. It is a precision operation. It’s like doing your heart or your liver. If you do it wrong, you’ve got to do it again.
Payman: What’s your favourite cement, by the way, your favourite bonding agent?
Larry Rosenthal: Well, I use a whole lot of them. But I still use Loxiflo for veneers. I use Maxim a lot for EMAC. I use all kinds of different cements. It depends if I’m just kind of seeing the colour. I look at things by setting times too, and whether it’s light or heat. I look at some of the properties and I’d like to have obviously more working time, or that I can get a gel cement off. I can go through that whole lecture on that stuff. I can send to your audience what I do, whatever. We have our courses that we give, have some videos.
Payman: Do you prefer teaching or do you prefer clinical dentistry? Which one do you prefer the most?
Larry Rosenthal: That’s a great question. Honestly, I miss teaching and creating. Since COVID, I haven’t been able to teach. I’ve done a lot of podcasts like this, several places and labs, and people around the world.
Payman: I can imagine COVID being a nightmare for someone like you. You’re such a social person.
Larry Rosenthal: It’s a nightmare for everyone.
Payman: But more for you.
Larry Rosenthal: Well, Mike Coburt went to Florida for three days, and I ended up being 64 days putting out 56 days.
Larry Rosenthal: Got my body in shape, do whatever I possibly could. He came back to New York and I was helping him pop up in the Hamptons, and went on, then we’ll come back to the city, same as… and now we’re busier than ever. I can’t explain it. Two and a half months away and now people will do anything, anytime. They don’t know what they’re going to do.
Prav: It’s like a rebound spending, isn’t it?
Larry Rosenthal: And they say, “I deserve it. I deserve it now.” If they’re looking at patients, you have to say to a patient, “Do you deserve this? You don’t believe you deserve it, then maybe you shouldn’t do it.” If you don’t think that you and your life… I’m 65 years old, how long is it going to last? I say, “How long are you going to last?” If you’re going to last five years, you’re about 70, 75. I mean, don’t you want to do it tomorrow or are you going to wait another 10 years to do it? If you want to make it feel good, you should do. Oh, okay, they’re cheap, and who cares.
Prav: Larry, tell us about when you first met Mike Apa and the process for meeting that young kid, because I was there. I remember the time. It was around 2007, ’06, ’07. How did it go from him… I remember you said he wanted to do free Zooms for you to becoming Mike Apa.
Larry Rosenthal: He was in dental school. Yeah, I met him in dental school, but he was in college, he tells this story. I don’t know if he’s telling the truth or not. I never verified this, and it probably is not true, but this is what he tell you. You could ask him too. He says to me that he was in school up in Albany, New York, and he was looking at some video or something like that. Someone gave him a video of me, and he told his dad, he said, “I’m going to be a dentist and this guy, I’m going to be a part of his practise.” Reminds me of someone I know.
Larry Rosenthal: So the bottom line is he goes ahead, he goes to dental school, and he starts the first aesthetic programme, and he invites me to speak. And I speak. And he says to me later on, I don’t know if it’s true or not that I crushed him, because he introduced me, and then after speaking a lot of people came around me, and he never got a chance to get close to me, to talk to me, to do what my intent was not to speak to the people, but to get to know me, and to get me to know him.
Larry Rosenthal: And somehow he says he asked me or did it to me, and I got more and more incensed, more driven. And then I went to the ACV lecture to speak and I said, “I’m the head [inaudible 00:47:30], do you remember me?” And he goes ahead and says, “Should I go into a prostrate programme or should I do a residency?” I said, “What do you want to do? If you don’t want to get started, get a residency.” Gets a residency. He calls me a residency, he’s like, “I’m under a residency.” He goes, “I go to get out of here.” There is old school, it’s old dentures, stuff like that, whatever.
Larry Rosenthal: So I said, “What do you want to do?” He says, “I want to work for you.” I said, “That sounds very good.” I said, “I have a place downtown, we’re doing this far, and we’re we’re doing bleach [inaudible 00:48:03].” He comes by, walk around the office and what’s happening. I don’t want to get into the whole thing. And then after being me for a long time and standing by me and learning, it’s a 10-year process to get really good in dentistry and to understand it. It may be five years, sometimes 15, 20 years to be successful. It’s not an overnight success. It’s not like opening a Walmart or a Target or one of those stores.
Prav: But could you see it in him? Could you see his potential?
Larry Rosenthal: Listen, I had a lot of people that wanted me as a partner.
Larry Rosenthal: I mean, realise that I need a partner for end of strategy sometime in the future. I wanted to be able to do that. I had a lot of people working with me I called my partner. They’re good dentists, but no one was as driven, as sharp, as obsessed. He was like a fly you couldn’t get off of your sleeve who wants to get better. He was showing me his temporaries, I’d say, “Oh, they’re great.” And then I come to the other side, and he goes, “That’s much better.” He goes, “Well, what’d you do there?” I said, “I’m going to watch it.” Just going back and forth and he kept doing it. Now you see the impressions, time to set up the crown. I said, “We got you.” I said, “It’s permanent.”
Larry Rosenthal: If you start accepting mediocrity, you enter mediocrity. You start with the best, and you may end up sometimes with mediocrity. But if you start with mediocrity, it’s not going to get better.
Larry Rosenthal: If you want to be good, be obsessed. Now he is obsessed to the point where he’s almost psychotically obsessed. But in a good way. And he’s built, and I’m unbelievably proud of him because he’s built an empire, and he took what I had, and he built it to another level. It was totally due to social media. I said, “Good luck.” But he did, and he exceeded, I think, his own expectations and mine. And he deserves all the credit because he has put in the time, the effect.
Prav: Yeah, he definitely did.
Larry Rosenthal: He is driven to stuff. Do I remember a lot of things he was doing? Somehow I don’t agree with them all, but it’s a whole different mindset. Do I think anything’s wrong? No. It’s different. Different philosophy in that kind of way. So we still have this almost good welfare chat in the morning about life, what’s going on, what’s happening. He’s my boss and I’m his father.
Prav: Nice. Nice.
Larry Rosenthal: You know what I’m saying?
Prav: That’s beautiful put, man.
Payman: Larry, tell me about the transaction. How do you even have that conversation, broach that subject? You may not want to tell us the details, but I’m just curious to know that you’ve got this kid who you’ve brought from dental school, as his father, and then there’s a transaction that happens. Talk to me about how those conversations even went about.
Larry Rosenthal: Well, I’ll tell you, first of all, I’m not his father. It’s sort of a jest-
Prav: I know. No, no, I know.
Larry Rosenthal: I’m his shrink. I’m his shrink. I’m not his father. That’s even worse. But the bottom line is this, what happened was, he was dedicated, obsessed to creating great dentistry, creating a lot of great dentistry at a faster speed than most. He understood. He got it, okay? It took him a while to get the technical things done, and some of the things in his personality to show who he was. He still does it on prior plans and stuff like that. That’s his way. It’s different than I would do it.
Larry Rosenthal: But what happened was after being with me so many years, he goes, “Listen, I looked at myself and I say, ‘When do I want to leave dentistry?'” I think I was 63. I’m 72 now. I said, “I’ve got to leave by at least 70,” or something like that, or 68. Maybe I can’t even walk by then or see by then, or my hands are shaking. What am I going to do. So he came to me, he said, “What do you want to do?” I said, “We’ll do a seven year exit strategy.” And we did a strategy. It worked out from an economic standpoint, and [inaudible] transitions, I think about, I have no regrets about it.
Larry Rosenthal: I didn’t know I’d feel this good at this age, but I still couldn’t run the operation in New York, and like to. Under the radar, I do a lot as well. But when people say to me he’s my partner. I say, “No, he’s my boss.”
Larry Rosenthal: I think it’s pretty cool.
Larry Rosenthal: People say to me, “Don’t you feel badly about it? You built this whole thing up. Now you’re an employee?” I said, “It’s better than being unemployed.” I said, “You know, is it in 2001?” I’ve got my little practise.
Payman: Do you carry on the same way as you were before in the office?
Larry Rosenthal: Yes, 97% I carry.
Payman: As in the way you carry?
Larry Rosenthal: Well, I feel that I’m the owner.
Payman: It’s lovely to see Jackie’s still working with you.
Larry Rosenthal: We had Jackie, we had Barbara with me, a hygienist for 26 years. We had a lot of people here for a lot of years.
Larry Rosenthal: A lot of years. Most of my assistants are 10 years plus, they’re becoming a dentist or they go back and forth. But the point being is that this is a family.
Larry Rosenthal: When someone comes to get a job in this family, it’s both good and bad. It’s hard to break into the family. You need to have certain qualities, certain goals, certain personality assets, not defects, that make you… and some do and some don’t. Can be technical very good, but a problem with your attitude or the way you looking over people or the way you approach your job. It’s not a job, it’s a life. It’s a lifestyle. You have to give it. If you give it, you get rewarded.
Larry Rosenthal: You may not want to give it. You may not be able to give it, you have family, or whatever it might be. Changing husband, changing wife, back and forth. It’s a hard thing to do, and to manage all these people and do that, I’ve got to give them my critic, and to do it in Dubai and LA it’s all very, very, very hard. I did it with teaching and having courses everywhere and doing it that way. You go and I could leave. I always felt the reason why I didn’t franchise this is because I did… this sounds maybe out of context, wrong, but I wasn’t sure the quality I was getting around, even the dentists that were very profitable, successful practises. Even the dentists that teach for us, and I taught.
Larry Rosenthal: If I put my name on it, and it’s not going to be that quality, what then? You look at plastic surgeons in most of the United States have no partners. People who go to plastic surgeon won’t go to someone else. Dentists interchange back and forth. It’s a different kind and a different set of problems.
Prav: Yeah, yeah. You’ve been, Larry, born and bred New Yorker. You must have seen Donald Trump in his early days when he was doing the property deals and all that. And now, we see the polarisation of your country. I don’t know, I’m obviously not there, but I can see it, it’s polarised quite a lot. You’ve got on the one side, the protests, the Black Lives Matter stuff. On the other side, you’ve got the NRA-
Larry Rosenthal: Don’t you have that in UK?
Prav: We’ve got different opinions, but it’s not so different. I get the feeling… I might be wrong about it, but I get the feeling whoever wins this election of yours, which is going to be in, when? 60 days, 70 days time, is that right?
Larry Rosenthal: Yes.
Prav: Whoever wins that, the other side are going to come out on the streets and cause a problem. What’s your position on Trump? Let’s start with that. I don’t mean now. Before.
Larry Rosenthal: The problem is we’re all problem, because whoever wins will change the way the world is.
Prav: Yeah, yeah.
Larry Rosenthal: They’ll change United States, and the world will adjust to it accordingly.
Prav: Of course.
Larry Rosenthal: Economic, political, military, every kind of social. So this seems to me, in my lifetime, I’ve been around a long time, single most important election in the history of this country and maybe the world.
Larry Rosenthal: And the problem with the election is this. I was born and raised a total Jewish Democratic. When I go to the voting booth when I was younger, I didn’t look at the name, I just went down D. I’m serious.
Prav: Yeah, yeah.
Larry Rosenthal: And my brother is that way today, hasn’t changed. Then I don’t know how many years ago, he started to be, I said, “Well, listen, why don’t I just listen to the candidate, to the platform?” And so I’d go Democrat, Republican, sometimes back and forth depending on who I thought was right. What I see today is this, and what I know today is this, and then I’ll get into the man himself.
Larry Rosenthal: What I see today is this, is that power, which is the root of most evil in the world, has gotten to the point where anarchy exists in the United States more than I’ve ever seen it in my life. They don’t have a platform. I say they don’t, I mean, the people that are protesting, especially the violent ones who are paid, I happen to know they’re paid. I won’t go on air and talk about it, because they’ll be outside my window, but they’re paid, and what happens with this is that they don’t even know why… If you ask them why they’re protesting, and they don’t have a cause, and they won’t even have a platform. They don’t even know why. They’re just protesting to protest.
Larry Rosenthal: And it feeds. As it starts to go, it feeds. Now the problem is, the reason why people are protesting, the reason why there is chaos, the reason why there is more criminal shooting and looting and everything else, is because one side hates the other side, and they hate particularly one person. They hate a person who said when he went into the office, “I’m going to drain the swamp.” And he meant that the people that have been there forever and done nothing, and have lied about things and done things, “I am going to turn it around. I’m not a politician.”
Larry Rosenthal: Immediately, before it even happened, the president, they went and went to try and unseat him. And they did a lot of things, I’m not going to go into my specific and my feeling about that, is they said, “This man is going to take away our job, take away who we are, and do this thing, and expose us to what we really are. We have to get him out. We have to get him down and pull him down.” And they tried on every single level. Now, having said that, the man himself is vulnerable. He causes half the problems.
Larry Rosenthal: He causes half the problems because he believes this is who he is. He believes this is how I got to where I am in life. I’m not changing it. I’m not changing the way I say it, speak. He’s been, from what I understand, advised by the people he loves very much that if he modified some of his rhetoric or some of his Twitter accounts or any of the stuff like that, he would be much acceptable. And I know him to be, can be a very endearing affable guy if he wants. So, that’s who he is.
Prav: So, New York in the ’80s and ’90s when he was kind of dominating the real estate world, is he the same guy? Is he just the same guy?
Larry Rosenthal: He’s exactly the same guy. He’s tough as nails. He likes you one minute, hates you the next, goes back and forth. He’ll change like that. He’ll change on a dime, but he’ll believe in it. But if he loves you, you’re the best in the world. This is the best book in the world, Open Wide(r) by Dr. Larry Rosenthal. So the point is, this is the best cell phone in the world. This is the best water in the world.
Larry Rosenthal: So everyone is the best in the world. If he doesn’t like you, he goes, “It’s a failure.” Or, “He’s bad,” or he’s whatever, and he’ll go back and forth between him and his friends. But I will tell you this, call him certain names like racist, like misogynist, and all those things, I know him a long time, he is the furthest thing from that.
Larry Rosenthal: He hires everyone across the board, and they all like him. Women have worked for him for years, 30-something years. If he didn’t treat them well, they wouldn’t stay there. So that’s all fake news that it caused. And he won’t let it go. So I’m going to tell you one thing. I advised him one time, I said, “Mr. President, you fight like Mike Tyson and Joe Frazier. You get punched. You get back up and you punch them right back.” I said, “Who is your favourite athlete of all times?” He was a Black Muslim, he resisted the draught, he’d taunt over his opponents, he changed his name Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, and he is the most… if not the most endeared athlete in the world, right? And yet, you look at him like that.
Larry Rosenthal: What did he do? He didn’t get hit. He’d rope and dope. He moved. He moved. He moved. He moved. And that is the number one greatest athlete. If you tweet one day and don’t tweet for three days, it will drive them crazy. Tweet me. Text me. If he did that, that’s what you do. And the problem is that he said, “And you’re right, it’s not me.”
Payman: So did you treat him?
Larry Rosenthal: I’m not going to tell you that. I’m not going to discuss that. But the bottom line is this, that I believe, I really believe in my heart, whether I knew him or not, that if they don’t win the election, this world and this country, the power that’s coming underneath the undercurrent of the far left is potentially very, very scary. And right now, we don’t know.
Prav: Are you not worried about the undercurrent of the far right?
Larry Rosenthal: I feel the same way about the far right. I’m not an extreme guy. I’m extreme personality, but I’m a middle guy. That’s [inaudible 01:02:04], middle guys, I’m okay. Probably give everyone, I’m okay. I’m not worried about the whole thing. Everybody has differences of opinions, what you want to do with-
Payman: Because I think, Larry for me, I think it’s opposite of what you’re saying in so much as if the Democrats win, I’m worried about the far right, not the far left. If Trump wins, I’m worried about the far left.
Larry Rosenthal: I totally agree that the fear now is the hate, and the hate, regardless of who wins is [inaudible 01:02:35].
Larry Rosenthal: They’re not going to leave anyone alone. They’re not going to understand. They’re too vested. They’re too angry. They’re too caught up in this movement that they’re not going to accept any, okay? And the problem is to let things in this country, let these cities go unabated, regardless of who’s running it, doesn’t seem to me the interest of the people.
Payman: Are you seeing a lot of looting in New York? Is that happening?
Larry Rosenthal: I didn’t see a lot. I saw boarding up, uptown. I didn’t see a lot. I went downtown one time, you don’t see it. Most of the problems are in the boroughs or downtown. Again, they’re in low income communities. These people are not protected. They need the protection. They need the help. [crosstalk] reach other… It’s in every major city. It’s been going on for a long time in other cities, New York not so much, I mean somewhat. You need to go ahead and you need authority. I’m sorry, just like parents need to go in and tell their kids, and either scold them or punish them or do what they have to do. It’s the same thing with people. You let people go, and kids were running wild, there’s people going to run wild. You need authority.
Larry Rosenthal: I don’t mean you’ve got to lock them up. You’ve got to show force and strength. And what you’re doing, if it’s peaceful it’s fine. If it’s not, it’s not fine. There are repercussions. If I am elected president, by the way, I would not take this on. What I would do is this. I’d consider being president of the world. Now in Putin, Zay, and all those guys below me, and come through me as the authority, that’s something I can see. The president of the world, the president of the United States, not for me.
Prav: How much time do you spend in the Hamptons, Larry?
Larry Rosenthal: Now I spend a lot. I come here on Sundays. I work, because where am I going to go? So I work here Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday full time. Sometimes I see someone on Thursday morning, then I go to the Hamptons, and I love that. It’s great. It’s a different world, but it’s getting better. It’s remarkable that this virus can come and change the world.
Larry Rosenthal: I do believe, and I was wrong for a while, I believe it’ll go away. And I believe it’ll go away and other things will happen. But I also believe the scars will be there for millions of people unfortunately, economic scars, social scars, loss of life scars. It is a horrible thing. And even in those conditions, I manage to keep my positive attitude going. I told a patient, I said, “Listen, things are out of control. Take care of yourself. Be safe. You feel uncomfortable doing something, don’t do it.”
Prav: Did you learn something, did you gain something from the lockdown?
Larry Rosenthal: Yeah, I gained everything I always gain. I gained appreciation for life, which I always feel every single day, and I felt sorry for the next generations growing up in this world because who knows where it’s going to go. It’s out of my control. I can vote. I can go ahead and support financially some things like that, but basically I’m one person. So my job is what my grandfather told me, “You can make one person happy at a time, and my job is to make your grandmother happy, and that’s what I want you to do [inaudible] same about it.”
Payman: Larry, tell us about your wife.
Larry Rosenthal: My wife, Sandy. My wife is a lovely wife. She’s a fabulous wife. She’s been very, very good for years. She’s giving, she’s caring, she’s lovely. And I have a son, and he is in Russia on business, and he now lives in Pennsylvania now. I have a grandchild.
Payman: Oh, wow.
Larry Rosenthal: A two-year-old grandchild. He’s in the restaurant. He went to culinary institute, and he’s trying to start his own way and his own things. New York was a tough place to start. Down there’s a little easier. And so he’s working his way up the ladder. He’s very talented. I support what he wants to do. I’m there to listen to him anytime and give him advice. This is the way is another story, but I will give it. I will offer it. If he doesn’t ask for it, sometimes I won’t offer.
Payman: And during the whole lockdown time, did you get time to spend more time with your family?
Larry Rosenthal: Well, I grew up it was a different place. Part of the time back and forth, my son was down there. My wife was with her sister a little bit, and family. I had some illnesses and stuff like that. So we did whatever we could, but the point being is that to this day, I’m one person. I was like sunset. I look out there, look at the world, and I say, “My life, if I had to live over again, what would I do differently?” And what I say to myself is at this point in my life, I am blessed. I became more spiritual as I got older. I wasn’t much before. I believed in the idea that some things are out of your control, and some things are within the frame of your control. You can only do so much.
Larry Rosenthal: You have to accept certain things. Do not dwell on negative, positives things. I’ll give you an example. My mother passed away this year before COVID. She was 100 years old and seven months.
Larry Rosenthal: We all sat at the funeral with immediate family, and we had a shiva call, which is a thing, Jewish thing at my brother’s house right afterwards. So the immediate family’s probably 30 people, 40 people were there when it started. And they’re coming in, they’re crying. Everyone loved Nana. She’s the super nicest person in the world. So I said to them, I said, “Excuse me. If I were to tell you that in your lifetime, you never had diabetes, never had heart disease, never had cancer, never had a stroke, never had any really major surgeries, had a little dementia at the end, but you lived to 100 years and seven months, and you passed away in your sleep, in your own bed, is there anybody here who wouldn’t sign off for that?”
Payman: I’ll take that today.
Larry Rosenthal: This is not a funeral. This is a celebration. It’s a celebration of life.
Larry Rosenthal: And that’s the whole point. You never lose her. I had a friend of mine that was crying at his father lost, he was 80-something years old, and cancer, I said… You get closer with her. My father was around me all the time. He died at 55 years old. His father died at 38. I mean, all his family, so one side of the family lives forever, one side dies shortly. I’m part of the side that dies shortly, so I’m on borrowed time.
Larry Rosenthal: So I’m going to live every day, and I really believe I’ve lived every day for the last 40 years. I go out to dinner almost every single night, just to go out to dinner every night. I go out there, if there’s a concert I’m going to a concert. If there’s a basketball game… Can’t put it in now. A lot of my life is taken away because I was at Madison Square Gardens three days a week. Wherever I travel, I can get a militia. If I find out there was a concert, what’s going on. I’m a people person. I’m a music person. And I’m a sports person, and I need action and energy.
Larry Rosenthal: To this day I got a text from someone this morning saying, “Doc, you’re the greatest I’ve been.” His name is Dustin Johnson. He became number one in the world and shot 30 under par last week. And it came with a message from Wayne Gretzky. It was his father-in-law, and said to me, “Doc, look at this. Ever since you did his teeth, number one in the rollback.” So he’s a guy, he’s a great guy, I’m very happy for him. He had an injury, been out for a while, so we had a good shot. Playing golf for myself, I’m loving it. Makes me feel good.
Larry Rosenthal: And today, to remove fear for “immediate family,” patients of yours and anything you’ve done, you see a patient out there, you do a vital. Hey, I did those teeth. Or hey, I know that person. It’s pretty special. It goes back to the power thing. If I ever believed in my life I know people, even if I’ve had doors opened to me at places around the world, and castles, and houses and theatres and concerts, backstage and all this stuff, I don’t walk around talking about that, and I don’t do it. It’s not just to impress others, it’s just to go ahead and say, “I’m loving this. I’m blessed.”
Larry Rosenthal: Some reason, some way, they gave me this opportunity. It’s not me who did it. Whatever happened there, I’m blessed, and I’m going to take advantage of it. I’m going to love it. I’m just going to go ahead and enjoy and spread a cheer.
Payman: Larry, map out to me a magical day in your life, from waking up in the morning to putting your head down at night. What happens? Not what happens, the ideal day. Let’s say you could paint the picture of the perfect day, how would that go, Larry?
Larry Rosenthal: Okay. My ideal day. My ideal day, I’d get up in the morning, I go to the gym. I go to the gym in New York. I go out for a little while. I’m not the greatest workout person. Everybody do yoga stretch, and everything else. Have a very light breakfast, walk to work. Beautiful day in New York City, 15, 20-minute walk. Say hello to a few people along the way that I see, shop owners and other people out there. Go to the office, I’m going to have one great case in the morning on somebody that’s challenging and special, maybe the person’s special.
Larry Rosenthal: Then I would go ahead have lunch, and go to play golf with some good friends of mine. Wouldn’t happen often now because I’m working very hard. But I go play golf. Then I go back and play golf and maybe meet somewhere maybe for a light dinner or something like that, and either go to a Knick basketball game or a concert or something out at night, and go home and have a little sex.
Payman: Just a little sex. Not a lot.
Larry Rosenthal: And then hopefully go to sleep.
Payman: It’s amazing that you actually put a patient into your ideal day. I love that.
Larry Rosenthal: If I don’t go to work, I feel a little lost sometimes.
Larry Rosenthal: I don’t know what I’d do. I’m a little afraid of the day I can’t work, I’m not working, whatever the reason is. I don’t know what I’ll do with my life. It was the same thing with sports and golf and music, and all those things. They seem to come together all the time I’m thinking about things. Must interact with people. I like to… Personally, it’s very verbose as you can tell from listening to people. Look into their eyes and listen to what’s going on in their mind, what they’re thinking about, especially when they feel good about something. That’s maybe beyond… It gives me great vibes.
Payman: You’ve certainly not got the energy of a typical 72-year-old.
Larry Rosenthal: Mike says to me he’s wishing he had the energy now. To be honest, I don’t know why I have the energy.
Payman: It’s amazing.
Larry Rosenthal: I get frightened losing energy. That’s why I don’t stop.
Payman: It’s amazing.
Larry Rosenthal: This is a thing I was thinking about one day. I know myself. I said, “If you take a car, this is like the economy,” what they’re doing now is showing off. If you’re going down the road, and going down a hill, and when you’re going down a hill, you shut the car off, it takes a long, hard, difficult path to get it started to go up that hill again, when you get back on and doing it. You go down the hill and you slow down, you don’t shut it off, and then you accelerate as you go up the hill, piece of cake. So if you shut it down, then it’s very hard to put it back up again. You slow it down, fine. You got to slow down once in a while, can’t keep going the same level.
Larry Rosenthal: I do. They asked me what I do for relaxation, what I would do for my life. Relaxation pleasure is doing things. My mind gets spent, and my body gets working.
Payman: Larry, it’s been a massive, massive pleasure having you on the podcast. Prav always likes to-
Larry Rosenthal: You guys are great.
Payman: Prav always likes to end it with one last question, so would you… Prav, go for it, buddy.
Prav: So, Larry, you’re 110, super healthy, but it’s your last day on the planet. And you’ve got the four or five most important people that matter to you in the world with you at that moment. What are the three pieces of advice that you would leave them with? And how would you like to be remembered?
Larry Rosenthal: Well, first of all, what I’d leave my [inaudible] for and one thing I’d say that we’re going to have crossbows in life and decisions to make. And if you think you have a shot at doing it, do it. You’ve got to do it. Go ahead and think about it. I’ll give you an example real fast. I’m asking my brother, “Do you want to play golf at…” That’s a good idea, I’ll think about it. Ask my mother when she was alive, “Mom, do you want to go have breakfast?” She goes, “Yeah, I probably do, but I’ll let you know when.” “Mom, you want to go to the bathroom?” “Yeah, I guess I do.” “Mom, here’s a million dollars. You want it?””It’s a lot of money, but I’m not sure.”
Larry Rosenthal: So my brother spends his whole life waiting, not sure, go back and forth about doing it. Best brother in the world, great guy, has a personality. Very happy, successful, and I love him to death. We’re different. I asked my father, “Dad, you want to go?” Before I finish the sentence, we’re out the door. So that’s one.
Larry Rosenthal: So my advice to do that. The other thing my advice is that be kind. When you get mad, think about why the other person’s angry, what they’re upset about. Just look at them and understand that it may not be you. It may be someone else and you’re just in front of them at that moment. So I believe in the philosophy of the bully, when he attacks you, step back. When I go into the office, and I have someone, having never gone to the employment in my entire life, just ignore them. I go, “Wow, is Jackie here today? I don’t see her around. I guess she didn’t show up today.” I’m looking right at her. I ignore them. I just ignore them. There’s no greater punishment than being ignored.
Larry Rosenthal: And then the third thing about them is I would say to them, “Here are you on earth. Most dentists and most people out there that have a job and their families, people are not as fortunate as you.” Opportunity or not, going to it or not, difficulty or not, physical disability or not, you’ve got a chance to live your life. Don’t hesitate. You’re here for a short period of time, and you don’t know what happens. Enjoy it, and try and help others, unfortunate. Be generous. Don’t be petty. Don’t be cheap. Be generous to people out there that don’t have the same amount as you have. Unless your life remembered for, I’d like to remember for being a great good who really cares about people and made a difference on this planet.
Payman: Thank you, Larry. Thanks so much for your time. It’s been inspiring.
Prav: Thank you so much.
Larry Rosenthal: Agreed. You guys are great. Okay, I hope to see you one day soon, all right?
Prav: Thank you.
Payman: Thank you so, so much for agreeing to do this.
Larry Rosenthal: It made me feel good day. I appreciate it. Thank you.
Payman: You’re the best.
Prav: You’ve been amazing.
Payman: Take care.
Outro Voice: This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one-on-one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts, Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.
Prav: Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this far, you must have listened to the whole thing. Just a huge thank you, both from me and Pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say, and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.
Payman: If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing, and if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks.
Prav: And don’t forget our six star rating.