Long Island native Dr. Nikki Bell, also known as “The Lip Doctor” is not your traditional dentist. As a result of fusing dentistry and advanced esthetics, she has risen to great heights and is currently operating two medical practices.
Bell attended Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York, on a full academic scholarship and soon after her dental pursuits began with studies at Meharry Medical College. She received a degree as a doctor of dental surgery in 2001 and then went on to complete a dental graduate-level residency program. Shortly thereafter Bell began her quest to develop a private practice.
Currently, Bell shares two New York locations, in Freeport and downtown Brooklyn, where, as a cosmetic dentist she is certified to treat with lasers and performs most procedures without the use of a drill or anesthetic. This specialization makes her techniques cutting edge and in high demand. She treats all phases with specialized services in dental implants and facial esthetics.
Black Enterprise had the opportunity to speak with The Lip Doctor about her passion for cosmetic dentistry, the business of building a practice, and how healthcare providers can expand their practices and services.
How were you able to transition your cosmetic dental practice into a cosmetic dental medi/spa?
As a doctor of dentistry, I traditionally deal with the head and neck so there was somewhat of a natural progression. I was specializing in reconstructive procedures but there were some things that I could not address when a patient had an asymmetry or deficiency. The lasers I invested in, along with fillers, Botox, and my injectables, provided me the ability to do more. I then incorporated skincare and the spa element for the health benefits.
What differentiates your personal brand and the brand of your practice from others?
My ability to incorporate many different services allows us to achieve the best results for my patients. I quickly became obsessed with being able to utilize my devices along with my skill level to help my patients. Once my patients saw the results, they began to trust me as more than just their doctor, and my patient base grew organically. I believe that this trust factor, along with having a high skill level with a wider spectrum of procedures, is what separates me from others in my field.
Is there a lack of representation of people of color in your profession?
I do not see a lot of people in my profession who look like me, and I emphasize that because there is a broad spectrum of people that I treat who may not receive the care they need. As a doctor, there is a lot of pride that I feel in my services and products because I truly want people to feel like their skin matters. I developed a product line about a year ago beginning with a lip plumper. The product line has now expanded into a makeup line, lipstick line, along with face care products.
What one piece of advice do you have for young women and men of color building their career in the esthetics industry?
It is critical that we understand the importance of us being in this field and to take it seriously. Studying and staying abreast of new technology as it comes out is important. There is neglect for those within our community. Just like we have limited resources in our community we also have limited services in respect to our health whether it is skincare or cosmetic dentistry.