Marlboro Area Oral-Maxillofacial Surgeon Strives to Reach His Full Potential — and Makes It Possible for Others to Do the Same
Nothing is worse than wasted potential!
This concept was ingrained in Dr. Marten Ladman from an early age. He recalls receiving several report cards in grade school with the words “has potential, doesn’t use it.” Family members, teachers and friends certainly recognized his unused potential; however, these words never really hit home until a friend from college was accepted into medical school. At that moment, challenge became Dr. Ladman’s new passion and the road to reaching his own full potential began to develop. As he matured, he made a conscious decision to make sure his epitaph won’t bear the quotes he heard in his early years.
This decision made him challenge himself, and he learned to love it. In fact, that is the main reason he chose to go the route of only 5% of the nation’s dentists, and become an oral surgeon. “Surgery can be the most challenging area, and I do best when presented with a challenge,” comments Dr. Ladman. And so the bar was raised: first choosing one of the most demanding of dental specialties, becoming accepted into one of the most competitive and respected oral surgical residency programs in the country and becoming additionally board certified in dental anesthesia.
From the moment when he embraced this educational journey, Dr. Ladman began to surround himself with mentors and instructors who would help him become the best he could be in his chosen field of oral surgery. These mentors have included the Associate Dean of the Temple University Dental School, and the founder of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency Program at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. This residency program at the LIJMC was, and still is to this day, one of the most prestigious in the country. “It was a very intense program, that included the opportunity to work at several affiliated institutions, including the Northport VA and Stonybrook University Hospital, among others,” comments Dr. Ladman.
Dr. Ladman maintains that the patient is the most important person in the room — not the doctor — and he makes it his personal responsibility to refer patients out if it is in their best interest, where they can be treated most proficiently.
In fact, Dr. Ladman was fortunate enough to have been in residency at LIJMC while Dr. Leon Eisenbud was still chairman of the department. He was an innovative dental instructor in the post-WWII era, and founder of the dental training program at LIJMC. Dr. Ladman was able to work closely with Dr. Eisenbud before the professor moved to emeritus status, and considers himself very privileged to have had that opportunity. In fact, Dr. Ladman feels his career was greatly helped by the many outstanding professors and mentors with whom he has interacted.
Because of these mentors, and many others, Dr. Ladman has embraced the notion of challenging oneself to reach or exceed their potentials, to go above and beyond what one may feel capable of doing. Far from becoming complacent as he settled into his career, he continued his study, kept abreast of research trends and maintained memberships in several professional associations.
Commitment to Continuing Education and Inspiring Others
Dr. Ladman’s passion for high achievements has not lessened with time; if anything it has become even stronger. Today, he is not only setting high goals and striving to reach them, he has encouraged others to live up to — or even exceed — theirs. In fact, this philosophy is the cornerstone of everything Dr. Ladman stands for, and this is evident in both his personal and professional life. He works every day to ensure that those he comes into contact with also work to excel — he truly wants no one to become a victim of wasted potential.
It is for these reasons that Dr. Ladman has held academic positions throughout his career, and is currently the Director of the Division of Dentistry at the Raritan Bay Medical Center. He is also one of the founders and cosponsors for the eight-year-old Forum for Advanced Dental Studies. This professional study group meets monthly for 10 months a year, from September to June. Dr. Ladman feels this forum is invaluable for “bringing continuing education to the dental community at large.”
The forums cover the latest updates and advances, including topics such as implants, bone grafting, cosmetic dentistry, and sterilization and infection control, as well as covering advances in other specialties, such as periodontics and endodontics. General dentists and their staff members can obtain up to 30 continuing education credits each year by attending this forum.
Dr. Ladman is also well respected as a mentor to other oral surgeons, introducing them to the techniques, practices and templates that have proven to serve his patients and community well. Rather than “hoard” his knowledge and keep it limited to his patients, he strongly believes that it is vital to share knowledge with other surgeons so that their patients can also benefit from the newest techniques.
Commitment to Patients
In 1985, Dr. Ladman became certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and opened his own practice in Marlboro. “I had a 2-year-old daughter,” he states, “so I thought it was time to settle down and find a place to start my career. One of my mentors said to find a place where you would like to live and practice there; my wife had family in Marlboro, so we decided on that area.”
In order to service patients across the county line, in Middlesex County, Dr. Ladman opened a second office in East Brunswick. With his home only five minutes from the Marlboro office and 15 minutes from the East Brunswick office, it is very easy for him to meet a patient with any sort of emergency situation.
Another unique aspect of Dr. Ladman’s practice is the fact that he makes himself completely available to his patients. “I have been known to show up on a Sunday morning or after hours if someone needs me, check on bleeding or other urgent situations,” comments Dr. Ladman. He is completely devoted to the well-being of his patients, rather than just his practice’s “bottom line.”
Dr. Ladman is dedicated to having the most advanced diagnostic tools at his disposal. In keeping with that philosophy, the Marlboro office installed an i-CAT Cone Beam 3-D Imaging System, which produces immediate three-dimensional views of available bone for implants, as well as clearly identifying the location of impacted and supernumerary teeth.
Technology is Key
Dr. Ladman is dedicated to having the most advanced diagnostic tools at his disposal. He embraces the newest technological developments in his industry, which help patients have a better outcome and overall experience. In keeping with that philosophy, the Marlboro office installed an i-CAT Cone Beam 3-D Imaging System, which produces immediate three-dimensional views of available bone for implants, as well as clearly identifying the location of impacted and supernumerary teeth. The millimeter cut images also make visible the locations of vital structures such as nerves, blood vessels and sinus cavity that need to be avoided when placing implants.
The immediate “reconstruction” of a patient’s mouth, face and jaw areas enhances doctor/patient communication by allowing Dr. Ladman to share a visual diagnosis with the patient, allowing for a better understanding of their treatment options and more confidence when going into treatment.
Where his patients are concerned, Dr. Ladman is committed to ensuring that all of them thoroughly understand — and feel as comfortable as possible about — any upcoming procedure they may be facing. To that end, he incorporated the Emmi system, an Internet-based, multimedia program that provides patients a very clear sense of what to expect before, during and after surgery. The program can answer many of the common questions that patients may have, and if patients have additional questions, they can type those in and Dr. Ladman will personally address them. In fact, former President Bill Clinton utilized the Emmi system prior to his own heart surgery.
Providing Support to Area Hospitals
While the percentage of dentists who elect to go into oral surgery is small, the percentage of those oral surgeons who continue to take ER calls at hospitals is even smaller. Due to a variety of factors, including economic (50% or more are nonpaying patients) and inconvenience (oral surgeons have to be available 24 hours a day), more and more oral surgeons are not renewing their hospital privileges when they expire.
Fortunately for patients in the area, Dr. Ladman has not followed this trend. He maintains affiliations — and call schedules — as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon at several area hospitals: Centra State Medical Center, Bayshore Hospital, Raritan Bay Medical Center, River Medical Center and St. Peter’s Medical Center. “I feel it is an obligation I have accepted, and part of my responsibility as an oral surgeon,” comments Dr. Ladman.
Procedures typically done in the hospital setting include extensive bone grafting, dealing with severe infection, maxillofacial repositioning, corrective jaw surgery, and various fractures and other trauma to the jaw, teeth and gums.
Respect and Loyalty in a Dynamic Staff
As testimony to Dr. Ladman’s passion for fostering excellence in others, the cohesiveness of his office staff is unique in itself; each member of the staff is mature, experienced, intelligent, well trained and completely devoted to Dr. Ladman, who is a true mentor to everyone with whom he works. He maintains a staff of six surgical assistants and four office managers, who travel between the two offices.
The loyalty to Dr. Ladman is evident in the uncharacteristically low turnover; the “rookie” employee has been with the office for nearly three years, Dr. Ladman asserts with a quiet but determined smile. In fact, the two most recent exits have been due to retirement (after being employed 18 years) and relocation to another state.
The devotion of his staff comes as no surprise; Dr. Ladman treats everyone with respect, pays them well and always ensures that there is an abundance of help. In oral surgery there is no room for error, so he takes great care in scheduling the team so that no one is ever overworked or stressed, because that is when errors or mistakes are made. He is intensely loyal to every person who has ever been loyal to him. He also truly empowers his staff and nurtures their careers.
As part of his educational journey, Dr. Ladman surrounded himself with mentors and instructors who would help him become the best he could be in his chosen field of oral surgery. These mentors have included the Associate Dean of the Temple University Dental School, and the founder of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency Program at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
Part of this nurturing includes encouraging his employees’ professional growth through continuing education opportunities: they are always invited to his monthly forum meetings and are given CPR updates. The entire staff attended a special training session for emergency protocols held in Philadelphia a few months ago, with the entire trip sponsored by Dr. Ladman. Additionally, Dr. Ladman will happily supply all the resources — including financial — for his employees to continue growing in their careers. If a staff member discovers a particular course or seminar that is related to their job, he will usually allow them to take it, and will pay for it as well.
Encouraging and supportive beyond dental education, Dr. Ladman has been very active in the career interests of his staff. For example, when a staff member wanted to go back to school to become an ultrasound technician, Dr. Ladman rearranged her schedule so that she could work and go to school. Another was interested in a dental hygiene program. While sorry to see her go, Dr. Ladman wrote a glowing recommendation letter to include with her application. He maintains a demeanor of approachability that is uncommon in many offices, and the mutual respect and admiration adds to the comfortable and welcoming atmosphere of the offices.
Dr. Ladman’s implant coordinator enthusiastically states: “He saw something in me that I never would have recognized, and he just pushed. He believed in me, and that made me believe in myself in a way I never had before. He just knew the right buttons to push.”
Multidisciplinary Approach to Patient Care
Dr. Ladman is a champion of the team approach to complex cases, and passionately defends this patient care perspective:
“The nature of my practice is that 75 to 80% are referred by other dentists and about 25% are referred by previous patients. We have resources for special care, and my specialties are implants, wisdom teeth, endodontic surgery, anesthesia; these are the things I do well, and what I focus on,” states Dr. Ladman.
While he is very familiar with nerve repair, large bone grafting and corrective jaw surgery, he shies away from becoming what some call a “decathlon surgeon” who prefers to do every single procedure him or herself. Continues Dr. Ladman, “I don’t think I should do everything; I stay with what I do well, and maintain a close network of professionals in other areas of dentistry who do those other procedures in volume.”
He maintains that the patient is the most important person in the room — not the doctor — and he makes it his personal responsibility to refer patients out if it is in their best interest, where they can be treated most proficiently.
One beneficiary of this outlook is a 19-year-old young man with ectodermal dysplasia. He had endured the deformities associated with the condition until he stopped growing, when he presented at Dr. Ladman’s office, three weeks before he was to start college. There were many steps involved in the planning, and to make sure the patient got the best care possible, Dr. Ladman set up a treat ment planning conference at his office.
Dr. Ladman maintains a staff of six surgical assistants and four office managers, who travel between the two offices.
Dr. Ladman runs these multidisciplinary meetings with a “leave your egos at the door” mentality. In fact, these roundtable committees were established to ensure that treatment plans, like the complex one that had to be developed for this student, would be followed by everyone on the team in ways even exceeding the potential of every professional on that team.
The team included a dentist who was a specialist in reconstruction, and another oral-maxillofacial surgeon from a facility that specialized in the complex bone grafting that would be required. Dr. Ladman, who specializes in dental implants and localized grafting, would be doing the implants on the patient after the initial graft.
The patient is now several months into his treatment, and the entire staff is amazed to see the difference already in the quiet, unsmiling boy who first came to the office: he is now smiling, casually exchanging quips with Dr. Ladman and the office staff, and has literally been given a new chance in the more social aspects of life. The patient’s treatment will be a long-term success, Dr. Ladman feels, because he had the advantage of this multidisciplinary approach.
Time for Family and Community
Dr. Ladman is a devoted family man, and is very proud of his two daughters. The oldest (who was 2 when he started his practice) was an honors graduate of the University of Michigan, and is now a financial analyst. His youngest, an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, is considering following in her father’s footsteps and applying to dental school.
He has also embraced the community in which he chose to lay down his roots. He supports it with community donations, booster, cheerleading and sports team sponsorships. Many uniforms of young team members in the community have the practice name on them, and Dr. Ladman can usually be counted on to pony up for an advertisement in a school program or two.
Dr. Ladman, in keeping with his passion for education at all levels, is currently in the process of establishing a scholarship for seniors of the local high schools. Rather than being purely academic based, the parameters for the award center on a more creative approach.
Dr. Ladman is now giving back what he has learned to new postresidency oral surgeons. He has had several doctors working with him for up to a year at a time since founding his practice. He also encourages high school and college students to work as interns in the office, where they are able to learn many different skills, from front and back office, and even getting a glimpse into the clinical aspects of oral surgery.
Through his support of the continuing professional growth of his staff, the practical training of new dental surgery graduates, and for college-bound seniors, Dr. Ladman earned the respect and loyalty of his staff, colleagues, family and, in fact, the entire community.
He is most certainly responsible for many less people in the world being able to say they “had potential, but didn’t use it!”.