Interview with Dr. Eli Prenzlau , DDS
Dentistry has been completely revolutionized by technological advancements in recent years. Dental treatments are now faster, easier and of higher quality than ever before. By keeping up with the latest technology, Dr. Eli Prenzlau’s practice has remained on the cutting edge of modern dentistry.
How did you get started in the field?
I was trained at the University of Colorado School Of Dentistry, and practiced in Denver for seven years. I combined seeing regular dental patients in my office with a specialty in geriatric dentistry, working several days a week with elderly patients in nursing homes (and becoming a member of the American Society for Geriatric Dentistry), and also worked with handicapped patients through The National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped, using portable dental equipment.
My family made Aliyah in 1983 and I opened my practice in Jerusalem. My uncle, Dr. Yehoshua Wallach, (nephew of Dr. Moshe Wallach, the founder of Shaarei Tzedek) had practiced dentistry in Jerusalem for 50 years and since he was at the end of his career, he gladly referred his patients. I was a founding partner in Migdal Hashen on Keren Hayesod St., and practiced there for 10 years before opening this office in 1994
Why is your practice called an Oral Health Center? What services do you provide?
We provide a comprehensive service incorporating treatment from many specialists working together. I specialize in oral rehabilitation, implants and esthetic dentistry, and our practice includes another dentist who does general adult, and pediatric dentistry. We also have a root canal specialist (endodontist), and an oral surgeon specializing in all areas of oral surgery, as well as Botox treatments and facial sculpting and fillers. A number of hygienists, assistants and dental technicians complete our team. Although there is no orthodontist in our practice, one practices right above us, to whom we often refer patients.
How has technological advancement affected your practice?
The whole world has changed when it comes to dental technology. We use computer-assisted design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) to make dental work easier, faster, more precise and more esthetically pleasing. Before we begin esthetic work, we offer a Digital Smile Design, creating a digital mockup of the work we’re planning. Our office was redone six years ago, updating all our equipment to “go digital”. Now, all X-rays are digital, including an in-house digital panoramic X-ray machine. This not only gives the best results but also saves patients time and headaches, since we don’t send them anywhere else for these procedures.
What are the most common issues that you deal with, and how have things changed over time to make your job easier?
In the past, the art of dentistry required us to replace patients’ missing teeth with either bridges, partial or full dentures or other removable appliances. Today, modern technology has changed the entire picture. Implant dentistry allows for the replacement of a single tooth, up to a full set of “permanent” fixed teeth. In our office, we specialize in minimally invasive implant technology, called “all on four” and “all on six”, meaning that implants can be tilted, thus avoiding complex and painful surgical procedures, like sinus lifts and bone grafting.
In terms of general dentistry, today we use composite white-bonded resin restorations, as well as porcelain and zirconia, which look nicer and last longer. Many of these materials also contain fluoride as an added protector, in addition to providing increased strength.
Everybody wants a brighter smile, and bleaching has also come a long way. In our office, we offer in-office bleaching with our incredible Zoom machine, an affordable technique. In only an hour to an hour and a half, the patient leaves with a lighter, brighter smile. One of the latest advancements in whitening is now available in our office as well—a one-size-fits-all disposable tray system, which fits over anyone’s teeth, and can be done at home.
Aside from your uncle, have any other mentors guided you in your career development?
Dr. Gordon Christensen, a world-renowned dental educator, was my instructor at the University of Colorado and has continued as my personal friend and mentor over the years. In fact, I brought him to Israel to lecture several times over the last 35 years, and hundreds of dentists attended his courses.
Speaking of which, what’s your approach to continuing education?
I place a very strong emphasis on continuing education, which is required by both the American Dental Association and the Israel Dental Association (I hold membership in both). It’s especially important in dentistry, due to rapid advancements and changes in our field. My team has traveled to Dr. Christensen’s courses in Utah, and to many courses at the Pankey Institute in Florida. We now also have a Study Club in Israel, established with the Spear Institute in Arizona. In our office, we strive for perfection, and by keeping up with all the latest advances in procedures and materials, I can offer these most updated techniques to my patients.
What best practices do you recommend for adults to maintain their oral hygiene?
Adults should brush their teeth twice a day, morning and night, for at least three minutes. I recommend an electric toothbrush; studies show that an electric brush is more efficient than hand brushing. Flossing is also essential—unfortunately, most people don’t floss enough. For those with implants or dental crowns and bridges, we highly recommend the water pick or an Israeli invention, the Silonit, a non-electric option. This is especially important for women of childbearing years, due to hormonal changes affecting their teeth and gums.
Fluoride toothpastes are important, since it’s the only fluoride application adult teeth receive. Although fluoridated water is good for children’s teeth while forming, it doesn’t have much effect on fully formed teeth.
Keep up with regular checkups and preventative treatments at your dentist. Don’t wait until you have a toothache. By then, it’s too late and you may already need a root canal and crown.
In our office, we stress the importance of prevention through routine recall appointments every six months, which consist of cleaning by our hygienists and examination (including an oral cancer detection exam) by the dentists. This preventive-oriented dental technique helps avoid severe problems and will save you pain and cost in the long run.
What is the key to growing a successful dental practice?
I would say that the most important thing is teamwork—to have a staff of dental assistants who know how to work with the dentists, not only in interacting with patients, but in actually performing procedures. We call this “four-handed dentistry”, and I train my assistants to be EDDAs (expanded duty dental assistants) so they can take photos, impressions, X-rays, etc. Aside from the assistants, my secretary, Michal, has been with me for over 20 years, so the patients all know her and are very comfortable with her. Our hygienists have also practiced with us for many years. It’s very important to have our team of dentists and the rest of our staff working together as a solid group, in order to build a good practice.
What procedures are presently being done in your office?
- Our surgical department, under Dr. Guy Sharfie, a top oral and maxillofacial surgeon from Hadassah Medical Center, provides the following:
- All types of extractions, including fully impacted wisdom teeth
2. Implant placement including bone grafting and guided bone regeneration
3. Endondontic (root canal) surgical procedures (apicoectomies)
4. Botox and facial sculpting with fillers
5. Biopsy and pathological evaluation
6. Periodontal or gum/tissue surgery
7. Socket preservation techniques 8. Full sinus lifts (when needed)
- Our endodontic department, under Dr. Tammy Silva, a U.S. board-certified endodontist, provides:
1. All root canal treatments
2. Retreatments of failed or compromised older root canal fillings
3. Pediatric root canal treatments (“pulp capping”)
- Our general dentist, Dr. Alon Eidilitz, from Hadassah Dental Center, provides:
1. Beautiful esthetic white porcelain, bonded restorations/fillings
2. Bonding fractured or chipped teeth
3. Implant restorations and bridges
4. Pediatric and adult pit and fissure sealants
5. General and pediatric dentistry
Dr. Prenzlau, in which areas of dentistry do you personally specialize?
It’s called “the art of dentistry”, and there’s a reason for that terminology. One needs to be particularly artistic when working with fine materials in the front area of the mouth. I have many years of experience and expertise in working with bonding of front teeth, especially with thin porcelain laminate veneers. This type of treatment can do wonders not only for the patient’s smile, but also for their self-esteem. With today’s advanced zirconia materials, the esthetics and outcome are phenomenal!
I also concentrate on full mouth rehabilitation, which means restoring patients’ teeth with crowns or bridges over implants or their own natural teeth. In addition, I enjoy working with the geriatric population—helping them keep their own natural teeth for their entire lives!
By working in conjunction with all of our specialists, we can accomplish so much together; specifically, I focus on the following:
1. All rehabilitative and reconstructive dentistry—from cases of worn dentition through beautiful zirconia-based crowns, bridges and veneers
2. ER or esthetic recontouring, of fractured and chipped teeth
3. Solving complex dentition problems; with digital means, through our Digital Smile Design, where patients can “see” the outcome before even beginning any dental work. By using the computer, they can envision what their teeth will look like, and even have a mockup of the case to try into their mouth!
4. Fully reconstruct patients with implants—from single crowns to full permanent teeth.
There are many dental clinics in Jerusalem. Why do your patients choose you?
Do you want to know the truth? The reason people choose a dentist probably has nothing to do with your technical skills and your knowhow. They are not even aware of all your knowledge and experience. It’s mostly due to being able to click and connect with the patient. A dentist who has a warm smile and is genuinely interested in the patient makes them feel more confident about dental treatment. People want to know that they can trust you. If you talk to them patiently and kindly, and explain everything thoroughly, they’ll feel comfortable and will trust you with their oral health care.
It’s a good thing that here in our practice, the dentists are highly trained and experienced, because even though the patients might be choosing to come here because of our good bedside manner, at the same time, they are actually getting the best in cutting-edge modern dentistry.
Dr. Prenzlau’s Oral Health Center in Jerusalem offers the full range of dental and oral health treatments, including oral rehabilitation, implants and esthetic dentistry. They are located on Rechov Azza 26 in Jerusalem and can be contacted at 02-566-0669.