Top 25 Women in Dentistry: Ariana Feldberg, Founder of Ideal Dental Laboratory

September 27, 2012

Ariana Feldberg is the founding laboratory technician at Ideal Dental Laboratory in Aquinnah, Mass. Feldberg’s talent is only matched by the passion she has for her job, so it may come as a surprise that she started her adult life as a marine biologist.

Ariana Feldberg is the founding laboratory technician at Ideal Dental Laboratory in Aquinnah, Mass. Feldberg’s talent is only matched by the passion she has for her job, so it may come as a surprise that she started her adult life as a marine biologist.

“This is my second career, but I love making a mess,” she said. “I love working with my hands, I love being able to create things and help people smile and eat correctly.”

As the daughter of a dentist, Feldberg worked in the dental lab for a year before college, but decided that marine biology was the path she would take. After 12 years in the field her research came to an end because of a lack of funding from grants, and that’s when she was faced with a difficult choice.

“My choices were to move or switch careers, and I love where I live in Martha’s Vineyard,” she said. “So I talked to my dad, and I said there’s no lab on the island, what do you think about opening up a lab?”

Though she’s been in practice for a little more than a year, Feldberg has already been honored with a Martha’s Vineyard small business grant.

She went back to school to study orthodontic appliances, and as soon as she graduated she met with the doctors in the area and they gave her some news she wasn’t expecting to hear: They don’t do much orthodontics, but were in dire need of a local denture lab.

“Everybody said, dentures, dentures, dentures, we need somebody to do dentures,” Feldberg recalled. “We need repairs, you know, and it takes too long to ship them off island. There’s no one local, and these people were without their teeth for weeks on end, and I was like, okay, I can learn that.”

So she headed back to school for a third time and came out knowing she would be fulfilling a need.

As a woman of science, Feldberg said sometimes she struggles with the idea that women should not be in science but that it’s only made her push harder.

“One of my favorite lines my dad taught me growing up is, no doesn’t always mean no. No may mean not yet,” she said. “ So I don’t really take no for an answer.”

Feldberg hopes to hire someone to help her, mentor them and give them the opportunity to share in her passion.