Dr. DiPilla Wants you to Smile

Robert DiPilla
I Want to Make You Smile

By Chuck Bennett

Photo by Steve Ragland

About 7 years ago, Robert Taubman and his late wife, Julie, hosted a wonderful dinner party to benefit MOCAD. About halfway into the cocktail hour, a couple walked in that everyone seemed to be so excited to greet. Both, possessing movie star good looks, they were well dressed and very friendly to everyone.

“Who is this,” I thought? “And why is everyone so happy to see them?”

The name is Dipilla, Robert DiPilla, and she is his wife, Annabelle. DiPilla is a cosmetic dental surgeon; one of the best in the region stretching all the way to the East Cost where he maintains an office in Manhattan, in addition to his offices in Michigan in Birmingham, Detroit and New Baltimore.

The reason everyone was so excited to see them was not just because they’re a likeable, adorable couple, but because the week before, the very same society crowd attended another party for MOCAD and Robert DiPilla became sort of a hero.

At that party, during dinner, a guest began to choke severely. Without giving it a second thought, DiPilla whisked the guest away to privacy and began performing the Heimlich maneuver. Within seconds, a large chunk of lamb emerged that had been lodged in the guest’s windpipe. DiPilla literally saved his life.

Photo by Steve Ragland

Personally, that whole scene -- remarkable dental skills aside -- speaks to who Robert DiPilla is – good looking, well dressed, and a servant to mankind. On the professional tip, though, he is a master at restorative dentistry, creating and maintaining great teeth for the rich and famous, and for those who are simply interested in obtaining the same – a beautiful smile.

DiPilla has aspired to be a dentist from an early age growing up on the eastside of Detroit. He went to Notre Dame Prep, University of Detroit undergrad, University of Detroit Dental School, and did a surgical residency at Harvard for implants. He has wanted to be a dentist since he was a kid.

“When one of the elves in “Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer” wanted to be a dentist, so did I,” DiPilla recalls. “Hermey, the misfit elf. That was me. I had braces growing up. And I liked my orthodontist.”

Had he not gone into dentistry, DiPilla probably would have owned a restaurant. “I would be front of the house. I would be the maître d. I’m so into hospitality. What I do as a dentist is part of the hospitality business, the customer service business. At the end of the day, I’m a doctor, I’m a dentist, but I have to take care of my patients.”

DiPilla has won several local and national awards. One of his most prestigious honors is being named a “5-Star Dentist” by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. What DiPilla enjoys most about his job is transforming lives.

“I had a patient today who had saved up years and years to have some work done,” he recalls. “We did a full-mouth reconstruction. She was very embarrassed about her smile. When we finished our work, we gave her the mirror and she started crying. It was a very emotional impact.”

To get straight to the point, Dr. DiPilla’s services are costly. He admits to being very conscious of that. To counter it, he conducts a mentorship program with other doctors where he teaches dentists how to do aesthetics. It’s a hands-on program where they use real patients. If the patient qualifies, they get a $50,000-$60,000 smile for basically nothing.

What sets DiPilla apart from most other dentists is his experience and commitment. He worked with the top dentists in the industry in New York for 15 years at an office that saw only billionaires, movie stars, CEO’s and such. The techniques, the systems, the processes that were developed were done more efficiently than anyone else in the world.

temp-post-imagePhoto by Unknown

“Things that take months and months to a year, I know how to streamline everything as much as possible,” he explains. “People don’t have time to come to the dentist a thousand times. With me, you get in, you get out, and we get it done. It’s not about me. It’s about my team. I have an extraordinarily strong team behind me.”

Dipilla specializes in dental reconstruction. If your mouth is broken down, he can fix it. And sometimes the process goes beyond just the teeth. In many cases, he totally rebuilds the mouth and enhances the facial aesthetics. He can even change the size and appearance of your gums.

DiPilla’s bedside manner is particularly gentle and kind, especially with children.

“That is of utmost importance to my business,” he explains. “What I’m doing is setting a precedence for these kids, so they are not traumatized about visits to the dentist. Any trauma to them at an early age sets it up for the future.”

Technology has positively affected DiPilla’s business significantly. There are techniques that use optical impressions and 3-D printing to assist in creating the perfect smile. And the biggest trend, according DiPilla, is brighter, whiter, faker looking teeth.

“Before Covid, the strong trend was putting emeralds and diamonds and grills in your teeth,” he adds. “I did a lot of that work in my New York office where we do work for movie stars in particular roles. When they need a character to look a certain way, we’ve fabricated teeth.”

DiPilla has worked with several movie stars, celebrities, and CEOs, even royalty. One of his favs is Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York (“We became good friends,” he adds.). Joan Rivers was also a client (“She was great. Always engaged with you. She’d ask, did you call your mom today?”). Mick Jagger (“Very smart. Very witty. Didn’t talk much. Very private. He would schedule for 10 or 11 at night when no other patients would be there.”).

Photo by Steve Ragland

Business tycoon, Dan Gilbert has been a client of DiPilla’s for 10-plus years. He said: “In any case, Dr. DiPilla has taken the leap to make a strong commitment to downtown Detroit and has filled the ‘gap’ for our dental needs. You will be hard pressed to find a dental operation anywhere that is more patient-focused and skilled than that of Dr. DiPilla, Dr. Groth and their team.”

DiPilla is the official dentist for the Detroit Pistons. He still sees former Piston Andre Drummond regularly, and recently completed work with current Pistons Point Guard, Frank Jackson.

“I couldn’t be happier, man,” wrote Frank Jackson. "They’re awesome. Love it.”

DiPilla’s proudest moment with a star patient took place in New York when the patient chipped a tooth.

“That consultation took 3 hours,” he fondly recalls. “I had to get it right. I had to fix this one perfectly. Her name was Annabelle, and now she’s my wife.”

Photo by Steve Ragland

Robert and Annabelle have been married now for 9 years in December. They have two young boys, Enzo and Luca, in addition to Robert’s 3 children from a previous marriage. They built a beautiful new home in Bloomfield Hills 4 years ago.

In his spare time, DiPilla loves to travel (his vacation-spot jam is Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic, where Annabelle is from). He loves having his friends and family over to cook and eat together. He loves seeing people have a good time. He loves to make people happy.

“That’s my purpose,” he says. “To make sure people are happy. I want to make sure people are taken care of. I want to make you smile.”