Photographer: Greg Pallante
When I think of going to the dentist I shudder. I remember when I was a kid living in Montreal, my parents would take me to this old scary dude that was not gentile AT ALL. Since then I’ve always had this fear of going to the dentist and until now haven’t found the right one to treat me right, and a dentist my family and I can grow old with. A few weeks ago while taking a stroll with Mia on Jersey Ave, I saw Modern Family Dentistry.
From the outside I could see this beautiful inviting office that didn’t really look like a dental practice. I had a feeling there was a story behind this new local business. I reached out to Jennifer and came to Modern Family Dentistry for a tour, an interview and a dental tune-up for me and my little munchkin.
What are your names?
I’m Jennifer Marin, like Marin Blvd. I’m Ari Crystal.
Tell me a little bit about yourselves?
J: Well we both met in dental school. I was a junior and Ari was a senior. We happened to end up in the same clinic together and I was in the lab fixing my dentures one day and Ari walked up to me he was like “I heard you were into rock and roll music” and then from there we’ve started hanging out.
You guys are adorable!
J: Haha! on our first date, I got two tickets to see Ted Leo & The Pharmacists at Maxwell’s and I asked Ari to come with me. So that was our first show together, we’ve gone to tons of rock shows since, it’s our favorite thing to do. Ari has been living in Jersey City for about 10 years and I moved here right after dental school. I’m from Queens so I moved to Newark because I had no clue where else to go.
A: Yea, I grew up in central jersey and the New York city was a big satellite point for me. I left to go to college in Massachusetts and then I got into dental school. Towards the end of college I actually studied studio art, so I spent most of my time when I wasnt taking pre-med classes painting and print making and then towards the last two years I started playing music with my friends and so we started a band.
What was your band called?
A: We were called “Go Cat Go” at the time, after the Carl Perkins Blue Suede Shoe Lyrics. We wanted to keep playing after college, I had already been accepted into dental school here in Newark, so I ended up finding Jersey City as the perfect place to come with my friends to live. We lived together for two years, played and recorded a ton of music. Played at CBGB’s, Don Hill’s and a bunch of other downtown venues, and then people kind of dispersed. Then I moved to Downtown (JC) and this is where I really fell in love with Jersey City.
What is your favorite hangout spot?
A: Well for a while definitely Barcade, just because we both really love craft beer, and we love the rotating beer selection there.
How did Modern Family Dentistry come about?
J: Well I’ve been envisioning opening my own office for a really long time and when I was a resident at Newark Beth Israel I was definitely sure I wanted to open a practice in JC. Ari and I worked at pediatric offices for 3 years after my residency. What we always wanted to do was create office where it was modern, gentile, more of a family concept. We wanted to create an environment that was conducive towards families in general.
A: Yea – I think we want to provide something that’s more consistent care with a single person, and develop that kind of lifelong relationship with somebody that you can trust….It’s all about attention.
J: The experience is really important to us, and customizing care. It’s not every person fits this mold and they require the same treatment, everyone has to be put into separate categories. Our treatment approach is mostly about preservation, and prevention. We don’t necessarily think that more dental work is necessarily good for your mouth, we believe that preserving what you have is more important than anything else. We want to focus on educating patients because most of the effort has to be put in at home once we have done al we can help here.
OK, I have a confession, I don’t floss as often as I should.
A: HAH.. and that’s the way people usually introduce themselves when they first find out we are dentists, it becomes this kind of confessional thing where people want to talk about how dentists make them feel guilty, and even before I get the chance to say anything like “We actually don’t judge” the last thing we want to do is make a person feel uncomfortable about their own habits at home.. It’s always the point of education, where we can communicate with people in a way that they understand the necessity of taking care of their teeth.
What are the services that you guys currently provide?
A: We provide as broad range as possible, we both have a lot of experience dealing with every different types of dentistry…And that’s part of the reason why we both really love dentistry…is that you can learn such a wide variety of techniques. We are able to treat any number of patients with any number of issues…. Under our roof, we see adults and children of all ages we see first child visits as well, as soon as one year old. We do your standard restorative care when necessary, again we try to be as conservative as possible. We always want to make sure the conditions are right and we are using the best materials as possible to have the highest level of success with all of our restorations. We do lots of cosmetic work as well. The art major in me loves doing front teeth and smile reconstruction.
I need to know something, very important. What kind of drugs do you guys use?
J: Ari and I are both licensed in administering IV and Oral Sedation so we can administer a light sedation where people are still conscious but they don’t remember what happened because it’s a certain and specific dosage. It gives a very soothing relaxed effect.
Is there anything else we havent talked about that you’d like for people to know?
J: We are trying to reinvent the dental experience, and I wanted to open a place and space for Jersey City that was unique and to be here for the community.
A: I think the one thing we do want to convey is that even as we get busier we still want to allow patients to feel like they’ve had the proper attention given to them, based on their personal fears or desires and expectations. We want to be able to smash the stereotype of going to dentists!
J: We always want to deliver the best quality of everything; materials, computers and everything. We treat how we would want our own family to be treated. We are trying to reinvent the dental experience, and I wanted to open a place and space for Jersey City that was unique and to be here for the community.
So how is it working together?
A: Its been great honestly, we really balance each other very well here. Our standards of treatment and practice are very similar and that’s something that we figured out pretty early on, so we were never nervous about that going in. In general though, the concept of this office has been Jen’s and I’ve been able to just be a good sounding board.
Literally you guys are like Ken & Barbie!
A: Except the real parts! We’re anatomically correct!
551 Jersey Ave
Jersey City, New Jersey 07302