Dr Apa is not your average dentist

How often do you see an average dentist jet-setting around the world first class on Emirates? Or posing with A-list clients after ?

dr apa huda kattan

Dr Michael Apa built a global dentistry empire with offices based in New York, LA and Dubai but he never actually wanted to be a dentist. “I wanted to be a pediatrician, but it was considered a major achievement to go to dental school in my household,” he explains. “I was like, yeah I’ll do dentistry, and then I kind of just put blinkers on. I did three years of college and went straight into dental school.”

He’s the opposite of the old scary dentist that you remember from childhood. The one with the big frightening chair and the sterile practice with broken toys, the one hour waiting time that caused your nerve levels to reach petrified by the time you walked into his room. In fact, he’s friendly, easy to talk to and slick, just like his state-of-the-art luxurious dental practices.


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You won’t find him in one of those haunting white lab coats either, he prefers a well-tailored suit by Brunello Cucinelli and loves the finer things in life, like his fancy drive to work – “I get driven around like an idiot in a G Wagon. I sit in the back and it’s one of the most uncomfortable cars to be driven around in. It’s like you are a piece of popcorn, popping around over every speed bump and cobblestone. It’s just terrible, I should really get a Range Rover,” he laughs. So, how has Apa managed to turn dentistry into the life that he had always imagined?

He believes that taking risks, hard work and happiness will always win success, and aside from all the material things in life that he’s amassed, he’s happiest when he’s working. “I think when I was young I always wanted to live this type of life, and dentistry has been very good to me,” he says. “It has given me all the things that I wanted to do, such as travel, experience great things in life, work with amazing people, run a business and be able to really do something that I love. When I’m sat in the chair working it’s probably my happiest time of the day.”


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He makes it all sound so effortless that you’d be forgiven for thinking that his journey has been easy, however Apa is keen to point out that you don’t reach this level by playing safe.“You have to find something that you can mould into what you want your life to be, so dentistry is one thing that I’ve taken and done what I wanted to do,” he explains. “What separates me from a lot of people is that I’m relentless and I take risks. And if something’s not working I will work harder until I can make it work. You also have to really enjoy every day and create a life for yourself that makes you happy. So, for instance I’m 42 now and I’m really just getting into this part of life where I’m like, ‘I have to be happy every day’. No matter what it is. One thing I never understood is people that have money and don’t spend it. I don’t understand that at all. The point of money is to be able to afford not ‘nice’ things, but things to ensure my life is exactly how I need it to be, like my commute to work or my closet. I have to wake up in the morning and love my environment and love each part of my day. My offices are built a certain way for the patients, but they are also built for me.”

Amongst his flock of celebrity patients including Chloë Sevigny, the Olsen’s and Kyle Richards from The Real Housewives, he counts Huda Kattan as one of his close friends. “I’ve been working in Dubai since 2010 as a visiting doctor and when I opened my own office here in 2015 I focused on the same kind of patients that I focused on in New York. These were world travellers who really wanted the best for themselves and could afford it,” he says.”


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In 2015, influencers didn’t really exist here and were not famous like they were in New York, so we started bringing them in to talk about the brand and make noise about the opening. Somehow Huda heard about us, and requested to come in as a patient. It was weird, because she didn’t come in to get her teeth done to barter for a promotion, she was just looking for the best. Huda is passionate about people who she finds and trusts, and from meeting her back then it spurred on huge support from her and I really appreciated it. I’ve been close to her and her family ever since.”

With three practices in three different time zones (and a new one that he plans to open soon,) his Apa Cosmetics line, his innovative approach to dentistry and unique eye for detail in all areas of his life.

Dr Apa is so far from your traditional dentist, he’s the dentist of the future.

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