Grace, Grit & Soul

Yuliya Alterman is Creating a Life on Her Terms

The History Behind Her Smile

When you see Dr. Alterman laughing with her patients or lighting up the room with her smile, you can also sense that something deeper is there: That her heart and soul are present. That she’s worked hard to get where she is. That she has strong roots and a powerful history behind her.

And all of that is true.

Growing up in St. Petersburg, Russia, Yuliya was influenced artistically by the culture around her and personally by the example her father lived. She observed her father practicing dentistry during a time in communist Russia when dental care wasn’t accessible to everyone. He would often travel around treating patients for free because he believed so deeply in his work and wanted to help people.

This man not only left a huge impression on his daughter, but he became a bit of a legend. Yuliya’s grandfather once heard a story about an amazing doctor with golden hands, and it wasn’t until his name was mentioned that he realized they were talking about his own son. It made her grandfather, and Yuliya, so proud, and in that moment she knew that she wanted to someday become someone who could make her own father feel the way her grandfather felt. Proud.

Her American Dream Come True

At a time in the U.S. when immigration is such an important topic, Alterman reflects on current happenings through her own journey of immigrating to America. It was always her dream to come here and become a dentist.

“Every immigrant’s fear is that we don’t belong here… How do I find my own voice in the country I don’t belong?”

That desired sense of belonging was what motivated her to find a community she could connect with, which led her to open up her own dental practice, Soul Dental in NYC, with her friend and business partner Dr. Alexandra Yungelson.

Much like her father, starting her own practice was never about the money. Her success is measured in the smiles she sees passing through her office and in the feeling of fulfillment she has every day because she knows she’s living her passion.

Having her own practice allows Yuliya the ability to help people through dentistry AND the freedom to be herself and create her career and life on her own terms, which is really what she’s always wanted.

Paying it Forward

In addition to treating patients at Soul Dental, Dr. Alterman is honored to attend at New York University Medical Center for dental residents.  She prides herself on not only sharing the skills and tools of dentistry itself, but also the ins and outs of running your own practice, and how to balance life as a professional.

“To every resident, I’m like an open book. I believe in sharing and encouraging.”

All of this translates within the Soul Dental office, as well. Three of their staff members are studying to be hygienists, and Yuliya is happy to encourage and support them on their journeys. It’s not uncommon for her to receive emails from her staff expressing gratitude for how being part of Soul Dental inspires them to live life to its fullest.

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