'No Surprises' with James A. Vito, D.M.D.
When in need of complex dental care at the hands of a gifted specialist, patients near and far turn to Dr. James A. Vito
by Bill Donahue

Ten years ago, John Brandt needed someone to deliver him to salvation after a lifetime of dental woes. He remembers it like it was yesterday: He had a number of failing dental appliances in his mouth, thereby creating a sorry situation that had begun to inhibit his social life and also impair his confidence to run his business as a general contractor.

Upon visiting a general dentist, who quickly acknowledged that “fixing” Brandt would be too sophisticated of a job, the dentist recommended two qualified professionals: The first was a local specialist near Brandt’s home in northern New Jersey, who quoted him a price of approximately $50,000 to have his dental problems resolved within a year; and the second was James A. Vito, D.M.D., a Wayne-based periodontist and prosthodontist with specialized training in dental implants, who prescribed a treatment plan that would cost considerably more, with the end result to be accomplished over the course of several years, with each visit requiring a three-hour car ride to the Main Line.

Brandt considered a certain age-old axiom—“You get what you pay for”—and subsequently chose Dr. Vito.

“I wasn’t so concerned with the travel or the money,” Brandt recalls. “Dr. Vito exuded all the confidence in the world. The first time I met him I drove the three hours to see him and had a two-hour examination. He put a plan together the very next day. … He knew that if my [dental health] continued to degrade, it would mean dentures. I told him, “Doctor, I’m not here to get dentures.’ And he told me, ‘John, this is what we’re going to do to get you squared away.’”

Dr. Vito orchestrated every step of Brandt’s progressive transformation, which included bone, gum and sinus grafts, as well as the placement of a number of dental implants. In the 10 years since Brandt opted to have Dr. Vito craft his sterling smile, not a day has passed that he has questioned his decision.

“He did seven implants that first day,” Brandt says. “I had gotten a hotel down the street, and I can tell you that when I woke up later that evening, I looked in the mirror and opened my mouth and saw that I had teeth in my mouth and they were fixed. Before then I couldn’t eat an apple, I couldn’t eat steak, I couldn’t chew corn on the cob.

“We were probably three or four years into it before I was complete and whole,” he continues, “but he gave me a functioning bite surface every step of the way. Everything he did for me was completely transformational.”

Such stories are increasingly common among Dr. Vito’s patients. Brandt made a wise decision by choosing such a qualified practitioner, though Dr. Vito says too many people try to cut corners in the quest to save time, money or energy—often with regrettable results.

Dr. Vito has gone to great lengths to ensure predictable, durable and successful outcomes for patients. In addition to his dental degree, which he earned from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, he pursued seven additional years of specialty training to learn how to treat complex restorative cases. Dr. Vito received his certification in periodontics and fixed prosthodontics through the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Periodontal Prosthesis-Fixed Prosthodontics program. He is also dual board certified in implant dentistry through the American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant Dentistry and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. Lastly, he is a clinical professor of periodontics and implant dentistry at the Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry and is on the teaching faculty of the Misch International Implant Institute.  

“You can really see the advantage and benefit of going to one place to have all procedures done,” he says. “There are certain things I need to refer out, like jaw surgery, but at the end of the day you need someone to be the quarterback. In a case where someone needs jaw surgery, I would work closely with [the oral surgeon]. The surgeon is relying on me to set the case up and put the teeth where they need to be, so when the patient is healing from the surgery, they will have an ideal bite. There is a lot of planning involved with something like that, and not everybody is adept at it.”

So how should a patient go about discovering who is adept at handling his or her dental case? Dr. Vito’s best advice: Do your homework.

“You’ve got Google, so use that to find out their credentials: where they came from; what they are good at; what societies they belong to; whether or not they have taken the exams to prove that they are knowledgeable in the field,” says Dr. Vito. “The thing about dentistry is that it’s a very personal kind of thing. It’s like a woman going to the hairdresser; the only way she will change is if the hairdresser really messes up. There’s trust, there’s rapport, and that’s where a lot of the problem lies; sometimes the dentist will get in over his head, because he’s not qualified to do a particular procedure, and the patient will be surprised when something goes wrong.”

Dr. Vito suggests patients ask the following questions of a prospective specialist: “How many of these procedures have you done, and how successful have they been?” “How many courses in the subject have you taken?” “Do you feel comfortable and proficient in performing the procedure?” “Can you provide references?”

“These are all the questions that should have been asked the first time, but it’s only when their trust has been breached that most people think to ask,” he says. “The point is, research your health care provider, especially if you need something sophisticated or involved. … If you can’t afford to do it right the first time, can you afford to do it over? You’ve got one shot, so get the right person for the job. That way you won’t be in the position of looking back and regretting your decision.”

Within Dr. Vito’s specialty practice is a thriving general practice, where he and his staff provide routine cleanings and other dental services to maintain patients’ smiles and intercept any budding problems before they snowball.

Ardmore resident Charlotte Williams (not her real name, by request) is among these patients. A self-described “dental phobic,” Williams first became Dr. Vito’s patient approximately five years ago, when she needed “serious dental work” that included dental implants, bone grafts and a succession of caps. Now she has a fabulous smile.

“I had to go to the hospital for special bone grafts, performed by an oral surgeon Dr. Vito works closely with, and I asked Dr. Vito to be there during the procedure.” she says. “I knew if I had questions while I was there, Jim could answer them. He told me the other doctor could do the implants, too, but I said, ‘No, I want you to do them.’

“I can’t reiterate how kind and gentle he is, and how there were no surprises,” she continues. “I still go in to his office for cleanings because I have so much invested in my smile, and I know he and his staff are going to do it right.”

Fellow patient John Brandt could not have said it any better. He insists, however, that Dr. Vito gave him much more than just a great smile.

“I have had some influential men in my life, and of the top five, [Dr. Vito] is up there,” Brandt says. “The way he received me and treated me, words can’t describe the joy that I get from thinking about how he has affected my life. I now see him once a quarter for routine cleanings, and I look forward to the trip. … He’s more than a dentist; he’s a friend.”

James A. Vito, D.M.D.
523 East Lancaster Ave.
Wayne, PA  19087
610-971-2590 | www.jamesvito.com


Photograph by Jody Robinson