Not a drill

Dr. Ronald Plotka takes pride in his practice, North Shore Center for Family and Cosmetic Dentistry. He is holding the hand piece of the Solea laser that he uses to perform procedures painlessly without needing to inject Novocain. 

Plotka’s taking the pain out of dentistry


It was the family dinners in Atlantic City, N.J., watching his relatives’ dentures fall out, that inspired Dr. Ronald Plotka to devote his life to dentistry. Another motivating force was the memory of being an 11-year-old boy and accompanying his 40-year-old mother to the dentist and hearing him say, “Jeanette, you are 40 years old. It’s time for dentures.”

A passionate advocate of preventative dentistry, Plotka prides himself in the fact that he has never extracted a tooth from a patient or put a patient in dentures.

“If all I am doing is drilling, filling and billing, I’ve failed somewhere along the line,” notes the national lecturer and dentalexpert whose practice, North Shore Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, is located at 293 Humphrey St.

Dr. Plotka outside his Humphrey Street practice.
Dr. Plotka outside his Humphrey Street practice.

Plotka received his bachelor’s in biology from Principia College and his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from St. Louis University. He served as a faculty lecturer and teacher at Tufts University School of Dentistry. He began his career in the U.S. Air Force, serving as captain in the Air Force Dental Corps.

When a colleague told him to take a look at a practice in Swampscott, he thought, “that doesn’t sound like a good place.”(I think he was picturing a swamp.) However, when he met the owner of the practice and saw its magical spot on the ocean, he had a change of heart.

“The dentist told me that he was in the Navy and I said I was in the Air Force,” said Plotka. “I took one look out the window and I didn’t have to look twice,” he says.

He credits his long-term success to his tremendous team, the positive and proactive culture of the practice and an educational approach to preventing dental disease.

“We don’t do anything the way we did it 10 years go,” says Plotka, who embraces new techniques and technologies to give patients a robust range of care options. “There’s been a paradigm shift in oral care. If you take care of your teeth and keep all of them, you’re going to live 10 years longer.”

His practice utilizes CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and manufacturing) dentistry to improve the design and creation of dental restorations, such as crowns and veneers. It has also been transformed by using the Solea Dental Laser. Thanks to this revolutionary micron laser, Plotka is able to perform procedures painlessly without needing to inject Novocain. By taking fear out of the visit, patients can relax.

“I have thousands of patients without cavities,” notes Plotka.

Along with pioneering several oral healthcare advancements, including dental bonding, tooth sealants, same-day crown fabrication and laser drilling, Plotka also developed the Mouth Watchers line of antibacterial toothbrushes. The practice also deliver solutions to joint dysfunction and sleep apnea, and provides Invisalign clear aligners for teeth straightening.

Dr. Plotka checks in with patient Susan Schodlatz.
Dr. Plotka checks in with patient Susan Schodlatz.

Plotka’s professional affiliations are numerous. A short list includes the American Dental Association, North Shore Dental Association of Massachusetts, American Academy of General Dentistry and American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He served as past-president of the American Society for Preventative Dentistry of Massachusetts and was a founding member of the Solea Laser with Convergent Dental and the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health. He was also on the Board of Directors of the Visiting Nurses Association.

He spoke with great pride about being a founder of the Smiles for Life teeth whitening program, through which thousands of dentists professionally whiten teeth to raise money for seriously ill, disabled and underprivileged children in their local communities and around the world.

When asked if he has any plans to slow down after 47 years of practice, he smiles and says, “I’m just warming up.”

Photos: Paula Muller