Leslie H. Sultan, D.M.D., P.A., B.S.’80
Computers, Chemistry and Conceptualization
By Carol Olechowski
Picture a profession where you’re “upside down and backward, working through a mirror and conceptualizing how things go together, from the beginning to the end,” and you’ll have a vague idea of the intricacies of Leslie Sultan’s specialty: diagnosing and treating defects of the face, jaws and mouth.
“Many of my patients present with problems that are congenital or traumatic in origin,” explains the founder of the Sultan Center for Oral Facial Surgery in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “The scope of my practice includes everything from the removal of impacted teeth to facial reconstruction” that addresses “both form and function, improving aesthetics and ensuring my patients’ ability to breathe, speak and chew properly.” Sultan’s subspecialties include surgery to correct obstructive sleep apnea, the design and placement of custom computer-designed dental and facial implants, and temporomandibular joint replacement.
Much of his work “is based on computer design” and recalls Sultan’s years at the University at Albany, where he took one of the first computer science courses offered. “A lot of what I do now is also based on my training in organic chemistry. Even the development of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), integral to my diagnoses, is based on research using early Nuclear Magnetic Resonance technology developed in the chemistry department when I was an undergrad,” the Brooklyn, N.Y., native notes.
“At the time I graduated, I was gung ho on research and planned to obtain a Ph.D.,” remembers Sultan, a Board Certified Diplomate of the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in private practice since 1989. “I worked for one of my professors, Dr. Henry G. Kuivila, an organic chemist. I was interested in being an industrial research chemist, so I took the graduate school entrance exam and got accepted to seven organic chemistry Ph.D. programs across the country.” After a year at Penn State, “I realized that research was not the right path for me. I was more of a people person.”
Sultan’s people skills led him to dentistry, and eventually to a career in oral and maxillofacial surgery. He graduated in the top 5 percent of his class at the University of Maryland Dental School, and completed an internship at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and his residency at New York City’s Mount Sinai Medical Center. Licensed in both Florida and New York, Sultan is affiliated with Broward General Medical Center, where he performs the majority of his surgeries and is a member of the Trauma and Sleep Disorders Teams. A past director of Broward’s Cleft Palate Program, he also cares for the county’s indigent population and volunteers for surgical missions to underdeveloped countries.
Away from the surgical suite, Sultan runs; does Pilates; plays guitar and tennis; and is “the proud dad” to his rescue dog and cat.
Sultan, a Nova Southeastern University professor who supervises the training of future surgeons, enrolled at Albany because “it was a great school with a great reputation. I had a lot of friends who were going there, and it was very affordable. Plus, Albany had a really good health sciences program.” Sultan still keeps in touch with fellow alumni, including Eric Lobel, M.D., B.S.’80, an anesthesiologist in Alabama, and New York City businessman Steven Schapiro, B.S.’80.
Albany, he adds, was “a great stepping stone to where I am now. Looking back at my career, I wouldn’t have done anything different.”