An Athletic Approach to Lectures with Dr. Neal Kravitz

In Launchpad by Dental Entrepreneur

Dr. Neal Kravitz was one of the first lecturers I was introduced to as an orthodontist.  He lectured at GORP (Graduate Orthodontic Resident Program) in Michigan.  He had his classic football jersey on, matching the location of the lecture. In this case–The University of Michigan.  Why football jerseys? Maybe because he was a kicker for the D1 Columbia Lions Football team!   He was an Academic All-Ivy, which I’m sure contributed to his ability to juggle multiple things at once.  He then went on to earn his dental degree from the University of Pennsylvania and completed his orthodontics residency at the University of Illinois Chicago.

I was lucky enough to talk with him while he was on his drive home from work!

When did you start doing all this extra work outside of the dental chair?

As early as residency, believe it or not.  It’s always been a huge part of my profession from the very beginning.  I have always been writing, publishing, and speaking. Now, I always talk about, since I was so young, maybe it would have been a little better to experience life and develop a little bit more humility. 

Did you go straight through from college to residency?

Yes.  I kind of regret that.  I kind of got burnt out in dental school.  I think it would’ve been good to get a Masters under a less rigorous schedule.  The burnout wasn’t from all the extra stuff, it was from the pressure.  Internal stress and chronic stress for trying to be perfect with my schoolwork and grades.

What did you start lecturing on?

Miniscrews in residency.  After residency, I lectured about practice management.  Which I regret.  When you’re younger, you’re enamored by the wrong things – EBITDA, case starts, etc.  I would try to impress the audience with the number of patients I had seen, but it was unnecessary and lacked humility, and I don’t think it’s good for a young orthodontist to lecture about business when they don’t know clinical failures. 

How did you get good at lecturing?

COVID and Zoom really helped me listen to my cadence.  I have lectures where I’m not happy where I didn’t control the space well, or I was too tired.  I approach it now as an athletic event.  I don’t go out the night before. I give a lot of things away.  I am constantly trying to improve them.  

How often have you been lecturing?

I’ve been lecturing for 16 years.  2 talks per month. It took about 10 years to get good.  If you get into the world of lecturing, you become a better dentist since you’re constantly working on your photos and slides and how you can teach best.  You become open and vulnerable.  

Can you estimate how much money each slide takes to produce?

Each slide is about $1000 to make.  They take so much time and effort to produce.  I work with a graphic designer, and those take months to make.  A month ago, somebody published a paper with all my illustrations and didn’t give me credit.  I emailed them and said you need to at least give me credit, haha.

How did you get involved with the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics?

I started writing articles as a resident.  I slowly worked my way up, writing and editing articles.  

Any good pearls?

To coordinate upper and lower arches, I may use upper arches in both arches.  Sometimes I like to step down after establishing torque and finish and detail in 18 ss and do last tiny bends there.


About Luke Shapiro

Dr. Lucas Shapiro is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine, where he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery. He completed his post-doctoral orthodontic training at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. He currently practices orthodontics at Lemchen Salzer Ortho in NYC. He started the Instagram page @‌futuredentists, works with the educational organization @‌ignitedds, and has an orthodontic TikTok page @‌drshap.

Dr. Luke Shapiro received his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Spanish. He received his DDS from Stony Brook and completed his orthodontics residency at Tufts.  He now works in private practice in New York city and is also a part of the IgniteDDS team.