Meet Ernesto A. Lee DMD

Dr. Ernesto Lee has traveled the world lecturing as an expert in Dental Implants and Esthetic Dentistry. Whether in Madrid, Shanghai, Athens, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Barcelona, Singapore, Manila, Buenos Aires, Beirut, Mexico City or Bogota, to name a few; dentists flock to his dynamic seminars and in many instances follow him to Philadelphia to become his students at Penn.

As a master clinician in Esthetic and Implant Dentistry, he is in continuous demand throughout the United States, lecturing to audiences of practicing dentists and specialists; while also dictating courses to the faculty of several dental schools including Columbia University, NYU, Loma Linda University, USC, Ohio State, Rutgers and Creighton University.  And, while Dr. Lee could utilize his skills to build a career in any of these locations, he chose to settle in the Philadelphia area, starting a family and establishing his private practice in Bryn Mawr 20 years ago.  Over the course of his private practice career, Dr. Lee has been distinguished with over a dozen Top Doc and Best Dentist awards from Main Line Today magazine as well as Philadelphia Magazine.

Born and raised in Panama, Dr. Lee graduated summa cum laude and was class valedictorian at the University of Panama School of Dentistry. His drive to excel led him to Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Periodontal Prosthesis program. The comprehensive surgical/restorative training appealed to Dr. Lee because of its advanced interdisciplinary approach for the treatment of the most complex cases.

In 2007, following an academic career at Penn spanning nearly two decades, Dr. Lee was appointed Director of the iconic Perio-Prosth program, as it is known in dental circles, in a classic student-becomes-the-teacher tale. As such his responsibilities include overseeing the clinical and didactic education of approximately 35 residents from all over the world – who are certified dentists already practicing in the field and seeking to enhance their skills.

Dr. Lee is also an author of multiple articles, chapters and textbook; and has served on the editorial boards of several Spanish and English language professional journals. As one can imagine, this extensive involvement in education keeps Dr. Lee at the cutting edge of innovation in his field.

In addition to all of these commitments, Dr. Lee continues to reserve time to treat patients in his own private practice; where as a dual specialist, he is able to provide all surgical and restorative phases of Implant and Esthetic Dentistry. “My vision from the beginning was to develop a private practice where I could actually do the kind of quality dentistry I enjoy – one where I can apply what I consider to be the best clinical practices without being encumbered,” he explains.

To this end, Dr. Lee sought a location close to the family residence in Bryn Mawr, where he has been in private practice since 1995. Even with his busy schedule of lectures and teaching responsibilities, Dr. Lee continues to place the utmost priority on the patients he sees in his practice. “I prefer to sit with my patient and focus on their treatment for an appropriate period of time, rather than alternating back and forth between several patients” he says. “This is an approach that lends itself better to my personality and the kind of work I enjoy, while providing the level of results I like to achieve.”

As a dental implant and esthetic specialist who has been practicing on the Main Line for 20 years, Dr. Lee also understands the unique needs of the individuals in the area. “People have lifestyles,” he says. “Just because somebody may not work, does not mean they don’t have other commitments. Whatever treatment I provide, I need to make sure that my patients are comfortable, and look good.” This includes adapting to summer and winter travel schedules, patients referred from out-of-state, as well as the requirements of the many dentists who seek treatment for themselves in Dr. Lee’s practice.

With this in mind, Dr. Lee is keenly sensitive to the aesthetic desires of his patients. As an expert in smile design, he knows how to create a more youthful smile and understands the nuances of gender appropriate appearance. “A great smile involves a lot more than white or straight teeth”, he says. “Teeth that are designed in harmony with the lips and face enhance the naturalness and beauty of the entire composition, with the additional value of providing a rejuvenated appearance.”

Dr. Lee explains that throughout the treatment process, he puts a priority on solutions that allow patients to function as normally as possible, so that there is minimal impact on their professional and social lives. Whereas it is common for dentists to place implants and have the patient wear dentures or go without teeth for months, Dr. Lee is able to avoid this situation in most cases. “People don’t want to wear dentures while they wait for their implants to heal,” he says. “So we always find ways of making sure that temporary teeth remain fixated through the process.”

“We have developed techniques where we can restore implants immediately, rather than having the usual 3-6 month wait. We have refined the esthetic aspects of these techniques to the point where a failing front tooth can be immediately replaced with an implant and a restoration that will be strikingly similar to a natural tooth. This is what I frequently teach at my courses, but it is a technique sensitive procedure that requires an appropriate level of skill and experience.”

Dr. Lee notes that implantology is a “completely different field now” compared to when he started. “We are using 21st century technology and materials to provide patients with better outcomes than ever before. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to learn and share experiences with other key opinion leaders throughout the US and around the world. It allows me to remain at the forefront of the latest innovations, and make them available to my patients on the Main Line”, he adds.    

“In the beginning, I used to say I specialized in creating healthy and beautiful smiles,” he says. “I quickly learned that I actually specialize in easy transitions. Not only do I strive for an excellent result, but also need to make sure that my patients remain comfortable and look good throughout the process.”