Few if any dentists have Instagram accounts more popular than Dr. Nicholas Toscano, who boasts over 150,000 followers. Though he does have an affinity for shocking before-and-after photos from operations, Dr. Toscano’s tremendous following can largely be attributed to the countless photos of supermodels, or as he calls them, patients.
According to the New York Times, the 45-year-old from Jericho, New York is the official dentist for several major modeling agencies, making him responsible for the picture-perfect smiles of models such as Abigail Ratchford, Mara Tiegen, Jasmin Tookes, Romee Strijd and Cindy Guyer. It’s common for Dr. Toscano’s patients to post selfies with him right after treatment, sending his name and face out to their millions of followers, many of whom end up in his Manhattan office shortly after.
Being the go-to dentist for dozens of models means tending to the always-probable “emergency,” which often requires Dr. Toscano to rush back to his office at night to fix a broken tooth or perform a teeth bleaching before a fashion shoot. Dr. Toscano must also be extremely flexible to accommodate his patients’ unreliable schedules. The time or date of a shoot are always subject to change, forcing patients to cancel on him three or four consecutive times at the last minute.
No Stranger to Important Patients
How did Dr. Toscano obtain such clientele and learn to deal with their chaotic needs?
For thirteen years, he was the active-duty dentist for the US Navy. Patients included post and pre-mission SEAL teams as well as sitting presidents and prominent members of Congress.
Dr. Toscano realized he wanted to be a dentist while completing an orthodontics project for an eighth-grade science fair. His father was a Navy SEAL and his brother, Christopher, is a Navy lawyer, so Dr. Toscano attended Columbia University School of Dental Medicine on a Navy scholarship.
His responsibilities soon included performing facial reconstruction on injured soldiers, examining the teeth of Navy crews heading into lengthy submarine deployments, and making sure special forces officers had good oral health before missions.
A Lesson in Pressure
Dr. Toscano eventually served at the Washington Navy Yard and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he treated Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and Laura Bush, and a slew of politicians such as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
One of his busiest years was 2008, the height of the financial crisis and an extremely stressful time for politicians. Patients would grind their teeth during long legislative sessions, sometimes putting so much pressure on their teeth that they caused them to break.
Dr. Toscano explained that treating soldiers and politicians taught him not to let the stress of their lives pour into his own.
“Serving during a war, you put a lot in perspective, and that’s one reason many models and celebrity types come to me,” he told the New York Times. “Because I don’t get caught up in the New York nonsense and all the hubbub.”
From One Battlefield to Another
In 2009, Dr. Toscano left the military and opened his own practice, offering low rates for up-and-coming models from smaller agencies.
When asked about the difference between his previous and current clientele, Dr. Toscano suggested numerous similarities in terms of unexpected changes in schedule, abrupt treatments, and, of course, immense urgency and stress.
“It’s different, but it’s the same,” he said of soldiers and models.
It’s different, but it’s the same,” Toscano said of soldiers and models.
Both stages of his career also reminded Dr. Toscano of the importance of never judging his patients, whether it be by their lifestyle choices or small-talk.
His first piece of advice for treating politicians?
“Stay apolitical,” he said.
For a more complete list of Dr. Toscano’s patients, visit his office on Central Park South, where his patients’ work along with tributes from presidents and SEAL teams adorn the waiting room wall.