Robert Graffeo, DDS
411 First Street
Photos by Victor M. Rodriguez
Once in a while you meet someone who’s perfectly suited to his chosen career. Dr. Robert Graffeo is one of those people. When we open the door, he’s in the reception area, not just smiling but smiling. He’s one of those people for whom the compliment “great smile” totally applies.
What a perfect advertisement for what he calls “Dentistry Redefined.” That’s what it says on his business card, which contains other clues about how he sees his life’s work. Instead of “appointment,” patients call for “reservations.” The card also promises “patient comfort” and “simply beautiful smiles.”
Dr. Robert started out as a dental lab tech before moving on to dentistry. “I like the creative nature of it and improving people’s smiles,” he says. He calls his discipline comprehensive dentistry. With fellow specialists, he “choreographs treatment plans for optimum health. What I offer is total care for quality control; patients don’t bounce from office to office.”
He treats the “total person. It’s like being an artist in a way. A new patient is like a new canvas. You don’t just take film and fill a tooth. You have to know what their expectations are, their family life, their jobs. You create an inviting environment where a patient doesn’t feel like a number.”
Dr. Robert tells the story of a patient who had a toothache on Labor Day weekend but was reluctant to call. Dr. Robert saw him on the Monday holiday for a 20-minute procedure, gently reminding him that he should have called immediately.
“I’m an old-school person,” he says. “I care. That’s the way I was raised. I value honor and integrity.” When he’s behind the chair, he’s “focused 100 percent. It’s about the patient, not about lunch, and I leave my cell phone in my office.”
He also cares about the office. He designed it himself, with a beautiful wood counter in the waiting room and lots of personal touches, including one of his most prized possessions: the framed diploma of his great-great grandfather, dated 1899, also a dentist back in Italy, where the family is from.
The outside of the office has “curb appeal,” Dr. Robert says. “It used to be dark and dingy.” Now it has an inviting blue sign.
Dr. Robert gives back to the community, working with kids with learning disabilities who make posters for him, with sayings such as this from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Don’t go where the path may lead. Go instead where there’s no path and leave a trail.”
It would be hard to find a better adage to describe the life and work of Dr. Robert Graffeo.