Over the summer, you might see a bright red 1993 Land Rover Defender being driven around the Hamptons. Its driver might pull over in front of a pharmacy, where customers, already waiting, are in line. A hatchback in the rear of the car opens and reveals a sink with running water. And then, right there on the street, the first person in line, assisted by a man in a white coat, brushes his teeth.
It’s all part of a promotion by the prominent Manhattan dentist Dr. Jan Linhart to sell products he and his team have produced: Linhart toothpaste, Linhart whitening enhancer, a special toothbrush and Linhart lip balm. Free samples are in the offing. The Range Rover also shows up at special events in the Hamptons, including Dan’s Taste of Two Forks.
As Linhart says—I talked to him about all this back in his Manhattan office recently—“Would you rather get dental products created by a businessman or by a dentist?” The answer is obvious.
Linhart opened his practice, in the Helmsley Building on Park Avenue, in 1980 with one room, one chair and one nurse. Today his office, among the leading dental offices in the country, has a staff of 24 that includes eight dentists, four hygienists and a team of specialists with expertise as periodontists and orthodontists, while others have special training in root canals, implants and sleep apnea.
“I offer the kind of care my dad offered, where people feel comfortable and get the best. I depend on the good will of my patients for referrals,” he said. Fact is, Linhart’s medical practices, passed down from father to son, go back a hundred years.
Linhart took me, along with his son, Dr. Zach Linhart—a dentist who, at 33, is now his partner in the business—on a tour of the offices. Besides many spotless dental treatment rooms, there is a large suite for dignitaries. Here, the dentist’s chair and equipment sit on a platform at one end, but at the other, sofas, couches and comfortable club chairs form a horseshoe of relaxation that includes a side bar of snacks and drinks—there’s even a cappuccino machine. I have never seen anything like it.
“Some of our clients come with bodyguards, assistants or interpreters, particularly those from abroad,” Zach told me. “This room is a favorite of Middle Eastern royal families that include princes, sheikhs, heads of state and heads of countries.”
On the wall along a hallway hang more than a dozen framed photographs of well-known individuals, some of whom signed the photographs and offered praise to the Linharts. Linhart cannot name specific patients, but there are photographs of Beth and Howard Stern, Melania Trump, Pierce Brosnan and His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Emir of Kuwait. There’s also a photo of Martha Stewart, who has endorsed their products.
Linhart’s father was a physician who started his medical practice in Prague in 1935. After Nazi rulers forced him to close his practice a few years later, he went undercover to became a resistance fighter as the war proceeded. When the war ended, he fell in love and married a young woman who had survived Auschwitz, then reopened his practice. But in the late 1950s, the Czech government, which was under the brutal thumb of the Soviet Union by then, ordered all professionals working in the country to turn over their practices to the State but continue working, though now as State employees.
Instead, Linhart’s father took his wife and their children—Linhart was 13 years old—to America and reopened his private practice in New York.
Jan, soon a citizen, did undergraduate work at Bowdoin College in Maine, got his dental degree at the NYU College of Dentistry, then did his residency at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, New Jersey. After that, he immediately set up his own dental office in Manhattan. One chair, one nurse.
“Dad advised me to do what he did, not work for anybody, but instead start my own practice. I found dentistry fascinating, particularly because it is multi-faceted,” Linhart Said. He met Ellen at a college mixer, and they soon married. She had been working in advertising at J. Walter Thompson.
Linhart today is a grandfather. He, Zach and the grandkids all live in Westchester, while another son works on Wall Street. The Linharts are most proud to have the Linhart Continuing Dental Education Program at NYU College of Dentistry named after them. And just last year, Linhart Dentistry was awarded the Concierge Choice Award for Health and Beauty.