Dr. Richard Nissen: One of Clayton’s 10 Most Influential People

Dr. Richard Nissen understands smiling. Smiles are scattered across his office, plastered on the walls, luminesce from his computer screens and are ingrained in his impact on the city of Clayton. Most importantly, Nissen knows what a smile can give to an individual and what it can give to a community.

“Improving somebody’s appearance, I think, has a huge impact on some kids. For some patients that have very mal aligned teeth, that holds them back. They’re embarrassed about their smile so when you improve that, I think that improves a patient’s self-esteem and then they carry that forth in their ability to socialize and interact with people, and that’s a big positive thing,” says Nissen.

Nissen chose Clayton because of the engagement and interactions he experiences on an everyday basis. “Our practice draws from kind of this area, we’ve been around for 50 some years probably, so we’re seeing second third generation families who grew up here,” says Nissen. “Clayton kids as a whole are very engaging. Sometimes you walk into a room and people don’t say anything, but most of the population that we see are fun people to work with.”

However, Nissen’s Fridays are spent doing volunteer work with patients from all across the county and the state that suffer from cleft palate. “That’s my day off,” says Nissen.

“Our practice here sees more cleft palate and craniofacial patients than probably anybody in St. Louis or anybody in the state because of our connection with Wash U. so we see a fair number of kids interspersed with all of our local kids, which is great.”

As Dr. Richard Nissen’s mission continues to expand, he still hopes that his invaluable work will endure for the rest of his patients’ lives. “My question is, are you guys still wearing your retainers?”