One Of New York's Most Successful Endodontists

By Melda Akansel-
Dentist and Endodontist Çağatay Erakın, originally from Izmir, is now living and working in his chosen profession in New York. Erakın, who won the green card lottery, has performed root canal treatment on thousands of patients since 2001.
Cagatay Erakin. (Photo by Melda Akansel)

Dentist Çağatay Erakın’s arrival story in the United States is different from that of most other Turkish doctors. In 1992, after finishing his five-year educational process at Ege University Dental School, Erakın chose root canal treatment as a specialization and became an endodontist. After winning a green card, his profession that had started in Izmir all of a sudden found its way to the United States. Arriving in New York in 1995, American educational system rules and regulations meant that Dentist and Endodontist Çağatay Erakın had to receive additional education and training. He studied dentistry for three years at New York University and then he went on to do two more years in his chosen branch of root canal treatment. In 2001 Çağatay Erakın opened his clinic in Manhattan and for the past eight years he has treated thousands of patients’ pain with his root canal treatments.
Çağatay Erakın performs his root canal treatments at his clinic with one American and one Russian endodontist. Erakın’s patients do not suffer from normal tooth and gum problems. As Erakın explains his practice, “Usually our patients do not come here with regular problems. We accept patients who are referred to us from other dentists and after we perform root canal treatments then we send them back to their regular dentists.” On the other hand, when patients in pain approach them directly then Çağatay Erakın and his team perform root canal treatments if called for and then they send their patient to another dentist for further treatment. After the root canal treatment that Erakın performs, the dentist with whom the patient is continuing their treatment performs the fillings and crowns. After the root canal treatment process the treatment period ends; therefore, Erakın’s patients are not long-term ongoing patients.

Due to the cosmopolitan make-up of New York, Çağatay Erakın sees patients from all different countries and he also treats Turkish patients. He points out that on average two Turkish patients come to his office per week; “If we look at the make up of my patients we see that usually we see two Turkish patients per week. Since the root canal treatment process takes about forty-five minutes, we are only able to see ten patients per day. When you look at the sum that way then two Turkish patients per week is quite a percentage.” Among Çağatay Erakın’s famous patients are Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili and Yoko Ono, wife of John Lennon, a member of the legendary musical group The Beatles.

Çağatay Erakın, who has studied both in Turkey and the United States, points out that the study of dentistry is different in both countries. He says that the study of dentistry is advanced in Turkey and he compares the process of study this way: “The level of study in Turkey is good. We received a good foundation during our studies and we studied from great books. Education is free in Turkey but the students cannot access various resources.  However, here you have every opportunity, for example when the student goes to the library he can find DVD’s, videos, books and other resources that are necessary. In Turkey we studied everything from books but then it was very different when working on a patient. We had to use whatever materials that were on hand. Here, especially at NYU, whatever we saw in the books or studied in the classroom, we were then able to replicate exactly and this allowed us to be even more successful.”

Çağatay Erakın finds it very positive that the number of Turkish doctors practicing in New York is growing every day. As a root canal treatment specialist, he works with many Turkish dentists; they refer patients to each other. He is very happy to be working in co-operation with Turkish dentists. Additionally, he goes to Turkish doctors for his own health problems.

Çağatay Erakın, who loves his profession and has been working at his own clinic in New York for the past fourteen years, is very happy with his life here. For his plans for the future, he aims to advance in his specialty and in his own words, he aims to “reach the top point in his career.” “I want to be among the best in the field of endodentistry,” he says, and not liking to sing his own praises, he instead gives an example of his success through the experience of one of his patients: “Another dentist had recommended me to a patient who needed root canal treatment. However the patient wanted to get a few more opinions. When three other dentists he spoke to also recommended me, he found his way to my clinic. The first thing he said to me was, “You must be the most well known endodontist in Manhattan’.”
Çağatay Erakın, who spends most of his time with his patients, has decorated the walls of his clinic with paintings by Tuncay Topcu. This art-loving dentist also enjoys classical music and opera. He never misses an opera at the New York Metropolitan Opera nor a concert of the New York Philharmonic.

Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07