The Smile Architect
Through an expertly applied blend of art and science, Dr. Joseph R. Greenberg has earned his reputation for enhancing smiles along the Main Line
by Bill Donahue


It wasn’t as if Dr. Todd Albert was ever afraid to smile. But now, thanks to the care and expertise of renowned Main Line dentist and prosthodontist Joseph R. Greenberg, D.M.D., F.A.G.D., smiling comes just a bit more easily.


“I had a tooth growing into my jaw, and it pulled all my other teeth out of whack,” says Dr. Albert, president of The Rothman Institute at Jefferson Hospital. “Dr. Greenberg analyzed my teeth and jaw and made a proposal for how to get to a better smile, and he delivered on the proposal. … My teeth were never right, and he made them right. You could say I feel better about myself because of my smile.”


Such stories are common among patients of Dr. Greenberg, whose Villanova-based practice has been perfecting patients’ smiles for more than 30 years. The scope of services provided by Dr. Greenberg and his seasoned staff includes dental hygiene, natural teeth whitening, laser-assisted periodontal treatments, implant restorations, invisible braces and crowns, bridges and veneers.


“Most dentists are not looking at the patient’s whole face when they work on their front teeth; you have to understand how changing someone’s smile can improve or otherwise affect someone’s face,” says Dr. Greenberg, who is routinely ranked among the region’s top dentists. “You often hear the phrase ‘smile art,’ and I think that is really kind of passé, because art implies loose creativity. Yes, you need the art, but then there’s the science. Where we should be is smile architecture, because an architect doesn’t just throw things at the wall and see what sticks. My goal is to deliver predictability.”


More than simply a performer of procedures that can improve the health and appearance of one’s mouth, Dr. Greenberg is expertly trained to diagnose and treat periodontal diseases. Furthermore, he looks at each patient as a whole and understands how the teeth fit within and enhance one’s face, aesthetically speaking. The Facial Plane Relator, a simply designed yet highly effective device he invented in 1999 as a way to capture and record patients’ critical facial landmarks, helps him understand exactly how and when certain adjustments need to be made.


“I can show people what the possibilities are,” he says. “If I don’t, I’m depriving them of what could be a better life. Most times, when people leave here, they’re smiling more and their lives are different.”


Dr. Greenberg, who at one time was the team dentist for the Philadelphia 76ers, received his dental degree and postdoctoral dual-specialty training in periodontics and fixed prosthodontics/periodontal prosthesis from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine, where he has been teaching dental students for more than three decades. He has built upon his education through extensive postdoctoral training, lecturing and researching, and has also added new technology to the practice—digital radiography, for example, as well as computer-assisted milling for creating precise ceramics for crowns and veneers—to continually improve the patient experience.


Such commitment to excellence has helped Dr. Greenberg’s practice establish a high level of patient loyalty he describes as “very powerful.” Some of Dr. Greenberg’s patients—Nancy Pope, for one—have been relying on his expertise in dental care for decades, despite having moved elsewhere. Pope, who splits her time between homes in Palm Beach, Fla., and on the Main Line, has been a patient of Dr. Greenberg’s for more than 20 years. She still has him clean her teeth three times a year and will fly back for “anything really serious.”


“I first started going to Dr. Greenberg when the doctor I had been going to before went out of practice, so I called the University of Pennsylvania because I knew what a fabulous dental school they had,” she says. “I asked them, ‘Who would you recommend?’ and they gave me his name. From the very beginning he was very professional, and the work he did was beyond the level of the dentist I had been going to. He really cares about his patients. I wouldn’t go to any other person.”


A few years ago, she sought Dr. Greenberg’s counsel on how she might improve her smile, and he suggested porcelain veneers. Her smile, as she describes it, went from being “a little crooked before” to now glowing with a set of “gorgeous teeth.”


“It’s a big difference before and after, and it makes me notice other people’s teeth more,” she says. “The work he has done is outstanding. I feel better about myself when I look in the mirror because I have a really beautiful smile, and I actually feel so much happier smiling.” 


Dr. Greenberg’s practice stands out for another reason, and her name is Patricia Goode. An advanced reflexologist and reiki master, Goode has been using therapeutic techniques to offer “complete relaxation” to Dr. Greenberg’s patients for more than six years.


“Sometime she stays for the whole appointment,” says Dyanne Greenberg, the practice’s business manager. “She can be present for a hygiene patient or a five-hour-treatment patient.


“Having Pat available for patients helps undo the deeply rooted fear of the dentist, and it’s very successful,” she continues. “She’s typically there for the patient 10 minutes before the appointment begins, and everyone is working together as a team at that point.”


Changing Lives

In addition to running his thriving practice, Dr. Greenberg is the founding president of Kids Smiles, an organization that provides children in underserved communities with free or low-cost preventative and restorative dental care. The organization, which has grown to include two centers in Philadelphia and a third in Washington, D.C., has served more than 65,000 patients since its inception.


“Some of these kids wake up in the morning in pain, with nobody to help them,” he says. “Providing them with care is important, but it’s also the education part—teaching kids how to take care of themselves and understand that what they put in their mouths will affect their health. Tooth decay is the most common chronic health condition in the world, and it’s not going away. It’s all about health literacy.”


Of course, vulnerable children aren’t the only people whose future Dr. Greenberg has changed for the better. In fact, his work has led to life-altering results for countless adults, including fashion models and some of the most powerful, high-profile executives in the region.


Another patient, the CEO of a publicly traded technology firm, had an inverse smile line, meaning his front teeth were shorter than his eye teeth. For such a public figure, the CEO had a surprisingly unattractive smile. Dr. Greenberg remembers asking this patient a simple yet bold question: “Would you be open to the possibility of changing your smile?”


“First, we whitened his teeth, and then we lengthened his two front teeth through porcelain veneers,” he says. “His teeth got beautifully white, and his smile went from being almost scary to being perfect. Some of his employees would come in here from time to time, and I would ask how he was doing [since the procedure]. They said he was smiling more and had become a more confident leader.


“Whether you’re the charismatic leader of a major organization or any man or woman who could benefit from feeling better about their smile, a positive change in your demeanor can make a lot of good things happen.”


Dr. Todd Albert, Nancy Pope and numerous other patients of Dr. Greenberg’s would undoubtedly agree.


Joseph R. Greenberg, D.M.D., P.C.

600 Newtown Road

Villanova, PA 19085

Phone: 610-520-0200



Rob Hall is a photographer based in Plumsteadville.