Master Clinician, Elite Educator
At the Elite Center for Implant Dentistry Training and Education in Bryn Mawr, internationally known dental implant specialist Dr. Ernesto Lee instructs locally based clinicians eager to enhance their skills in advanced esthetic and implant dentistry
by Bill Donahue

After spending the past several decades traveling to Asia, Latin America and Europe to teach other high-level clinicians in all aspects of advanced esthetic and implant dentistry, Ernesto Lee, D.M.D., is excited to spend a little less time on the road. He’s hardly done teaching, however. In fact, his reason for traveling less is to teach more often, only much closer to home.

At the Elite Center for Implant Dentistry Training and Education, which is located in the same building as his private practice in Bryn Mawr, Dr. Lee is strengthening his reputation as a leader, mentor and educator of other practicing dental clinicians throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area.

“I always liked education, and I always taught others, even when I was still in high school,” says Dr. Lee, founder of Advanced Esthetic & Implant Dentistry in Bryn Mawr, as well as director of the Periodontal Prosthesis program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “I enjoy lecture-based teaching, but I’m particularly good at clinical teaching. I can stand at the front of a room all day and quote facts and figures, but when I sit with a patient or I’m doing hands-on teaching with a student, I am in my element.”

Teaching locally is nothing new for Dr. Lee. Since 2007, certified dentists from around the world have been coming to Philadelphia to become students of Dr. Lee at Penn’s prestigious “Perio-Prosth” program, all with the intention of enhancing their clinical skills. The Elite Center for Implant Dentistry Training and Education will simply enable Dr. Lee to widen his teaching circle to the Main Line.

“I had always envisioned a situation where I would have a training facility in my office,” he says. “I spent several years building the center and getting it ready, but with all my other responsibilities I found I was just getting pulled in too many different directions. I think a lot of professionals find themselves in situations where they want to become more involved and share their expertise, but many of them get to a point in time where they are simply overstretched.  In many instances, you end up doing things for many reasons, and your goals keep getting postponed as a result. This new venture gives me a lot more independence and flexibility.”

Although Dr. Lee realized that launching the center would be a significant undertaking, he was encouraged by an overwhelming demand for his expertise among other dental professionals. His reputation as a master clinician—someone known for getting exceptional results from even the most challenging of implant cases—has proven to be a significant draw.

Dr. Lee hosted his first event, “Elite Clinical Immersion Live Implant Placement Course,” over two weekends in September. All clinicians in attendance earned 32 continuing-education credits for the intensive, four-day training and lecture, which featured didactics, hands-on exercises and live implant surgery.  He intends to host his second event in January.

For the remainder of 2016, Dr. Lee is planning a full agenda of classes and lectures to be held on a regular schedule—one bimonthly, possibly more often—for practicing general dentists and specialists who wish to expand their knowledge in implant dentistry. The coursework will include topics such as the latest surgical techniques, restorative procedures and the use of lasers and other advanced technology used in the planning, placement and maintenance of dental implants. Events will be organized to accommodate the busy schedules of practicing clinicians, from the novice to the advanced.

The fact that other dental professionals would want to learn from Dr. Lee’s considerable clinical experience is no surprise. As a dual specialist in Periodontics/Dental Implantology and Prosthodontics/Periodontal Prosthesis, Dr. Lee has perfected the art and science of extracting a patient’s failing natural tooth and then restoring it with an implant-supported replacement that bears a remarkable resemblance—in terms of both form and function—to a natural tooth.

His love of teaching aside, Dr. Lee remains a devoted student of his vocation. He is committed to continually learning new skills and adopting new technologies to refine surgical results for patients of his private practice. In addition, his position as a key opinion leader in his field means others routinely seek him out to gain his opinion on innovations that could spur the next generation of implant procedures.

Not long ago, for example, Dr. Lee adopted high-resolution cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) to assist him in the placement of dental implants. The CBCT scanner provides a three-dimensional evaluation of a potential implant site, as well as other important areas of the patient’s head and neck anatomy that could ultimately enhance implant success. Such an all-encompassing view enables Dr. Lee to plan each procedure virtually, and then create surgical guides to ensure the accurate placement of an implant in the safest and most efficient manner possible. The high-resolution CBCT also exposes the patient to significantly less radiation compared with traditional X-rays or CT scans.

In addition, Dr. Lee is currently among the few dental implantologists in the area to have adopted the intraoral scanner as an alternative to traditional impressions. The scanner essentially enables him to create a digital replica of the teeth, which can then be used in the design and fabrication of precise restorations using CAD/CAM technology. The scanner has been particularly useful for patients who are sensitive to traditional impression materials.

Such cutting-edge tools and techniques will inevitably provide valuable information for upcoming courses to be taught at the Elite Center for Implant Dentistry Training and Education, which Dr. Lee envisions as “an opportunity to develop a local community of excellence-driven professionals.”

“At the end of the day, there are only a few centers of this level nationwide, and nothing comparable in this region,” he says. “I’ll continue to do some lectures nationally and internationally, but on a more selective basis. My immediate goal is to establish this place as a center for postgraduate education, but I’m not going to do it all by myself. There’s no reason we can’t have partnerships with other organizations or have visiting lectures and teachers as well, so I’m very excited about the possibilities.”

Ernesto Lee, D.M.D.
Advanced Esthetic & Implant Dentistry
976 Railroad Ave., Suite 200
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Practicing clinicians interested in taking upcoming courses at the Elite Center for Implant Dentistry Training and Education can find more information and a schedule of events at Dr. Lee’s website,

Photograph by Nina Lea Photography