Sandra Senzen, R.H.D., is regarded as one of the top authorities of holistic dental hygiene, and she teaches the approach through published books, articles, and educational courses. But more than that, she has built a career on being a real life Tooth Fairy to children and adults alike.
“If I bring a dentist a quarter of a million a year in referrals, that’s worth a lot more than making a few dollars off each patient. I’m opening the field for growth.” - Sandra Senzen, R.D.H
Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy? Thousands of children, who have now grown up, certainly do. That’s because Sandra Senzen, R.D.H., is the Tooth Fairy, beamed into homes by way of “The Tooth Fairy Show” aired on Manhattan Cable in New York City.
Senzen, a registered dental hygienist since 1978, has produced and hosted more than 800 segments of the TV show that helped educate children in a playful manner on the importance of oral health.
It’s all part of a path Senzen says she was meant to follow.
“We really have to listen to an inner voice,” Senzen says.
Senzen recalls feeling “an energy in my hands” at age 11 that she describes as a form of art. She married at age 18, and initially did not follow that intuition. But when her marriage ended, at age 28, and with two small children, she went back to school.
“I went back to a certain instinct I had at 18 which was to be a hygienist,” Senzen explains. “I don’t know why. But I followed an intuitive path.”
That path began when she started working as a hygienist for Dr. Robert Rubler, now deceased. Early on, she heard him whisper in her direction, “She’s a natural,” and he soon began encouraging her to take on oral health tasks beyond the scope of the average hygienist.
“He pushed me into techniques that I did not learn in school,” she said.
But that’s not the only ‘push” Senzen received. She found herself embracing more holistic approaches to oral health thanks to encouragement from patients who told her about Bioforce, a leading supplier of natural products.
“There’s nothing wrong with having natural products rather than chemicals in the body,” Senzen says. “I don’t use needles, and I don’t use toxic drugs, and it really helps in treatment. Everything that I use holistically you can swallow.”
Sometimes, life is really about being in the right place at the right time. For Senzen, that happened while walking along the street in New York City. She was approached by a man who told her, “You belong on TV.” When she asked why, he answered, “I don’t know. But my friend is starting cable TV in Manhattan, so go for it.”
And she did. But first there was a small matter she had to address where her professional occupation was concerned.
“If you’re a licensed professional, and you make yourself into more than you are, you can get in trouble with the licensure,” Senzen explains. “So I thought, if I get a trademark and do a TV show, then I’m qualified to call myself the tooth fairy.”
She brought pediadontists onto the show to help educate children. That grew into a 1-800-tooth fairy show for adults—a live, call-in show that helped callers overcome their fear of going to the dentist.
“People are just so scared to sit in the chair,” Senzen says. “They would phone in, and I would re-direct them to a dental office. Not just mine, wherever. Because people were walking the streets and losing their teeth out of fear.”
Senzen has since ended the TV show’s run, though she’s considering starting up another 1-800 tooth fairy show on Long Island. But in the interim she has written several books. The first is “The Hygiene Professional: A Partner in Dentistry,” which provides information on how to find the right dentist.
“The reason I have been so accepted in the field is that I refer,” Senzen explains. “If I bring a dentist a quarter of a million a year in referrals, that’s worth a lot more than making a few dollars off each patient. I’m opening the field for growth.”
Her second book, “Reversing Gum Disease Naturally,” focuses on how to maximize the benefits of good oral hygiene to maintain healthy gums and teeth.
And then there’s “Tooth Fairy City”, a motivational series of comic books, complete with crayons, for children to learn how to care for their teeth.
“It teaches how to love each individual tooth, and how the teeth stand together to be a whole,” Senzen says. “It provides a lot of education in a fun and playful manner.”
“I have a patent on a camellia oil,” she says. “It heals gum tissue, and it brightens teeth. And it doesn’t dry or strip the enamel.” Patients, who are only too happy to take them home, have readily accepted the products, which include a mouthwash and flavored tooth sticks.
Through all the success, Senzen remains humble and says she is “not in awe” of all that she has accomplished. Instead, she’s happy patients have been receptive, and grateful she can help people save their teeth.
Now, she wants to take what she has created in her Park Avenue, New York-based practice and open more offices across the country. Why?
“Because it will invite people into the office and help them save their teeth,” Senzen says. “There are way too many teeth being pulled and implants done, and not enough understanding as to what happens to the body with unnatural teeth.”
And after all, she is the Tooth Fairy.