By Walker Joyce
We are all the sum of our experiences, and our relationships shape much of our lives. Those fortunate to come from loving households are given a head start on the future, and the friends who extend the reach of parents and other relatives can add immeasurably to this foundation. As the old hymn puts it, blessed be the ties that bind.
Dr. Daniel Sullivan, the majordomo of his own brood and Warren Oral Surgery, is a fine example.
He’s the son of two hard-working professionals. His mother provided the medical genes, spending decades as a highly-regarded physician, specializing in rheumatology. “She was very old-school,” her son said, “and she only recently retired. She worked long hours treating ailments like lupus and arthritis. Her patients adored her.”
His father was an economist who went into corporate finance. He rose to an executive position with General Motors then got involved with managing pension funds. Both jobs required lots of commuting.
And while he admired both, it turned out to be his Godfather— and Dan’s honorary uncle—who became his role model.
“His name is Terrence Duddy, and he was my Dad’s best friend,” Dr. Sullivan recalled. “He was also my dentist growing up. He had a general practice in Sparta.”
Dr. Sullivan admired the man’s lifestyle, running his own business in a building near his home, and making his own hours. “He was completely in charge of his own life. He also owned a boat that he kept moored on Lake Mohawk,” he said. “I spent a lot of happy times sailing around with him.”
As he entered his teen years, he also began spending extra time in Dr. Duddy’s office. Something about dentistry and the way his Godfather went about it had an almost instant appeal. “He was just an excellent mentor.” Both noticed that Dan had fine manual dexterity. “I wanted to work with my hands,” he said. “I certainly didn’t want to sit in a cubicle and crunch numbers.”
Dr. Sullivan enrolled at New York University’s College of Dentistry, where he decided to specialize in oral and maxillofacial surgery. He went on to an internship at the University of Pennsylvania, and a residency in the Seton Hall U. Hospital system.
He returned to Manhattan to begin his career, and soon after starting to practice he found himself invited to join the faculty at his NYU alma mater. “The pieces just fit together,” he said. “I had my own patients, but I could still work part-time as a Clinical Associate Professor.”
Soon, things began to come full-circle. He returned to New Jersey, and became an attending surgeon at both Overlook and Robert Wood Johnson University hospitals. Feeling that his hours were approaching the sort his parents kept, he remembered Dr. Duddy’s example and decided to become his own boss.
In 2005, he founded Warren Oral Surgery.
Today, Dr. Sullivan’s thriving practice is among the most respected in the tri-state area. Two more surgeons, Dr. Sanjeet Chaudhary and Dr. Shawn Lynn, have joined the staff. And like his role model, it’s situated a literal walk from his home, just three miles away.
“It was built to our exact specifications, with the most up-to-date equipment available,” he said. Its 4,000 square feet includes spacious surgical suites, consult and recovery rooms, administrative offices, a laser surgical unit, and other amenities.
And every year honors, accolades and more patients have come their way.
Dr. Sullivan has been voted a Top Dentist several times in New Jersey Monthly’s annual survey. “The award is attained by peer voting, so I’ve been very proud to receive it.” He’s also been tapped as a “Favorite Kids’ Doc” by New Jersey Family magazine.
He attributes that designation to his role as a father. “My personal life is intertwined with my professional life. I’ve learned a great deal about how to treat kids by raising my own three children. They’re very curious and ask a lot of questions. My oldest son was quite taken with our laser tool, and I actually had to go back to the textbooks to answer everything he wanted to know!”
Perhaps history is repeating itself again.
Warren Oral Surgery is located at 58 Mt. Bethel Road. Call 732-415-4305 for appointments and further information.