Focus on International Faculty
Dr. Denise Estafan: A Role Model for Dentists Trained Abroad

Dr. Denise Estafan

Dr. Denise Estafan came to the United States after earning a DDS degree from Cairo University College of Dentistry in 1969, completing a general practice residency at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Northern Ireland in 1971, and practicing general dentistry in Saudi Arabia from 1978 to 1980. After earning a dental degree from NYU in 1982, Dr. Estafan began to practice privately in Port Washington, New York, and joined the NYUCD faculty, where she currently serves as Associate Professor of Cariology & Comprehensive Care and Director of Esthetic Dentistry. In 1995, she also earned a master's degree in dental materials from NYU.

Dr. Estafan is well known for her research on computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing, or CAD/CAM, a technology that enables dentists to create a 3D blueprint of a restoration from a photographic image of a tooth. The recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, Dr. Estafan is president of NYUCD's chapter of the OKU dental honor society and the author of over 40 journal articles on dental materials and esthetic dentistry. She travels regularly to the Middle East and Europe to lecture on the latest dental techniques and technologies.

Dr. Estafan has played a leading role in introducing curricular innovations in esthetic dentistry, such as a preclinical course on CAD/CAM restoration, and training fellow faculty members in these innovations. She has been an inspiration to students, especially those who originally trained overseas to whom she serves as a mentor.

"When I began my clinical training at NYUCD," Dr. Estafan recalls, "I found it challenging to deal with esthetic cases because the patients were so demanding and had extremely high expectations. But with help from my mentors, I grew more self-confident and met the challenge head-on. Today, I encourage my students to do the same. I believe strongly in Dean Bertolami's philosophy that everyone has to have a mentor and that everyone has to be a mentor."

"I've enjoyed working with Dr. Estafan because she has given me opportunities I didn't expect to have as a predoctoral student," says Dr. Sabina Malla, '10, who came to NYUCD from Nepal. "Thanks to Dr. Estafan's guidance, I've been able to successfully complete a full-mouth rehabilitation - a case normally reserved for postdoctoral residents."

"Through hard work and dedication, Dr. Estafan has built a distinguished career in esthetic dentistry in her adopted home," says Dr. Mark Wolff, Associate Dean for Predoctoral Clinical Education and Professor and Chair of the Department of Cariology & Comprehensive Care. "She is truly an inspiration to the many overseas-trained dentists who come to NYUCD to earn US dental degrees."