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Stargazing at the Dentists’ Office

February 4, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Smiling before the camera, a Tinseltown tradition, requires teeth of pearly white perfection.

Dentists Gregg Lituchy, 38, and Marc Lowenberg, 51, know how to make a celebrity smile. The list of celebrity clients at their Central Park office includes Courteney Cox, one of NBC-TV’s ``Friends,″ and star of ``Scream 2.″

Cox has been booking routine checkups since 1984, the year she was discovered in a Brian De Palma video, ``Dancing in the Dark,″ with Bruce Springsteen.

Ron Eldard, formerly of television’s ``Men Behaving Badly,″ once bumped into fellow actor Jason Patric (``Speed 2: Cruise Control″) in the waiting room. Both were there for a cleaning (which might be an incentive for some of us plebes to show up for regular visits).

Supermodels Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Amber Valetta book appointments with Lituchy and Lowenberg. Paul Reiser of ``Mad About You″ and film actress Ellen Barkin are former patients.

Actress Julianna Margulies has been a patient for years. ``She came to me right before she went out to Los Angeles to do the pilot for ’ER,‴ Lowenberg said. ``I didn’t charge her for X-rays because she was an aspiring actress.″

Usually, celebrities just need routine dental work. But sometimes, the pathway to beauty is filled with bonding, bleaching _ and more.

``When you’re watching TV and you see these incredible smiles, I would have to guess a lot of that is porcelain veneers,″ Lituchy said. ``It’s the Mercedes of smiles. It’s predictable, it lasts, and it’s an expensive luxury for yourself.″

Porcelain veneers _ which can cost up to $20,000 _ can beautify every tooth visible to an adoring public. And Lowenberg said he’ll ``go to any length to attain perfection.″

So whose perfect smile is the result of dental artistry?

``Everybody goes to the dentist and has no compunction saying they go to the dentist,″ said Lowenberg. ``But people in the limelight want people to believe that whatever they have, they were born with.″

Singer/daytime TV-host Kathie Lee Gifford (``Live With Regis and Kathie Lee) is the only celebrity he could recall who has admitted having a touchup. And she’s not one of his patients.

What attracts celebs to this dynamic dental duo? How about this? If you make a visit to the dentist entertaining, the entertainers will come. ``Patients who are overly anxious can have reflexology on their feet or hands, or a shoulder massage,″ Lowenberg said.

Besides the usual dental paraphernalia, the Lowenberg/Lituchy offices are equipped with overhead television sets and VCRs. ``During dental work, most patients watch E! Entertainment Television or MTV,″ Lowenberg said. ``For a long procedure, they’ll watch a movie.″

Lowenberg and Lituchy have been creating ``smile make-overs″ together for seven years. They’re best friends, but true closeness, they said, comes with their patients.

``You can’t have a more intimate relationship with someone than when you’re working on their mouth,″ Lowenberg said. ``In between drilling, you share what’s going on in your life.″

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