Laurel M. Morello, DDS — Cosmetic Dentist
Dr. Morello has been a proud San Diego dentist for nearly 40 years. Dr. Morello was accepted with early admission to Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry and was awarded her Bachelor of Science degree along with her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1979. After graduating from dental school, she completed a one-year general practice residency at Cleveland Metropolitan Hospital which involved additional training in oral surgery, periodontal surgery, general anesthesia, endodontics, cosmetic dentistry and children’s dentistry. In 1980, she moved to San Diego, California, to begin her career at her El Cajon dental practice.
Early on, Dr. Morello was determined to be well-educated and well-rounded in her field. She studied many disciplines in dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. In order to offer the most comprehensive treatment to her patients, she delved into an in-depth study of, and advanced training in TMD and TMJ disorders. Dr. Morello has extensive training and expertise in microscopic dentistry, which is a very unique and admirable craft in the general dentistry field. The microscope allows her to magnify the tooth so she can pay attention to the finest bit of detail. Along with the guided use of the microscope, Dr. Morello has advanced training in endodontics (root canal therapy), soft and hard tissue dental lasers, and implant restoration to enhance the patient experience and deliver the best possible dentistry. She carries certifications in Airway management and ALF certification. She remains active in the dental professional community as a presenter at the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry on aberrant airway function and a member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, San Diego County Dental Society, Academy of Laser Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, The ALF Academy and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. She continues to expand her knowledge base in the field of sleep-disordered breathing. Dr. Morello volunteers quarterly as a dentist for the 1000 Smiles organization, a Rotary International program in Ensenada, Mexico.
Dr. Morello has a very innate yet trained eye in the artistic field of dentistry. She comes from a lineage of professional artists. Her mother has had a lifelong career as a commercial artist and her brother is a gifted pianist and professor of fine arts represented by The Forum Gallery in NYC. She attributes her passion and creativity for dentistry to her love of art and fervor to help others help themselves. In her healing approach to dentistry, education of the patient is a key factor. She notes that the mouth is the portal to the body and a balancing point for the head and neck region and down to the toes.
Dr. Morello has balanced her career of 40 years with raising three children and a fitness lifestyle. Her daughter, Michelle, earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional sciences from Cal Poly Technical University in San Luis Obispo and her dental hygiene degree at Southwestern University, where as valedictorian, she was appointed an honorary Psi Epsilon lifetime membership. Michelle has recently donated the gift of a lifetime…2 grandchildren! Dr. Morello’s son, Paul, currently attends Case Western Reserve Dental School following in her footsteps, and her son Anthony enjoys writing and performing comedy at the local comedy stores. Her pastimes include playing piano, reading, writing and solving puzzles. She pursues fitness eagerly through cycling, swimming, hiking, yoga and dancing. Losing a dear friend to leukemia compelled her to participate in Team In Training, a fitness training program involving fundraising for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society and which is also a great way to stay fit through cycling, triathlon and running, all while saving lives!
Michael O’Brien, DDS — Associate Dentist
Dr. Michael O’Brien received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) from the University of Southern California School of Dentistry, a program renowned for clinical excellence in restorative dentistry. He is licensed to practice in both California and Missouri. Simply put, he is very passionate about dentistry. He loves working with his hands and helping people through both education and high-quality dentistry that mimics nature. He is constantly reading and researching dental literature to update his dental knowledge. Dr. O’Brien started to attend continuing education courses while he was still in dental school along with just about every selective and elective course he could attend, from removable prosthodontics to the aesthetic selective courses. He is dedicated to the craft of dentistry and committed to providing clear treatment options in simple terms and providing consistently excellent results.
In his spare time, Dr. O’Brien loves fishing, playing with his dogs, photography, welding, tinkering with his motorized bicycle, electronics or working on his most recent project. He is an avid home brewer and not only enjoys brewing but has built some pretty advanced Peltier-based conical fermentation devices to regulate the temperature of the beer as it ferments. One theme that you may notice is that he is almost always working with his hands, which is one of the many reasons that he loves what he does. Dentistry is a wonderful mix of science, art and people skills, and luckily for Dr. O’Brien, he excels at all of these.
Eric Zane Shapira, DDS, MAGD, MA, MHA – Associate Dentist
Dr. Shapira is a graduate of Temple University Dental School in Philadelphia. He received his Certificate of Completion from a General Practice Residency in Dentistry and Internship in Medicine at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco in 1976. He was an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of the Pacific Arthur Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco; where he developed courses in geriatric dentistry and working with medically compromised individuals at UOP. He also developed courses in hospital dentistry at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco.
Dr. Shapira has published over 100 professional papers and articles in dentistry and aging. He is a professor of Geriatric Medicine, Nursing and Dentistry at several hospitals in mainland China. Recently he was given that nation’s highest award, The Friendship Award for meritorious humanitarian service throughout China since 2008. The award was announced in Shanxi Province in December, 2012 and presented in December 2014. He was one of six nominees out of 2000 candidates and the only doctor to be nominated.
Dr. Shapira has been an active member in the Academy of General Dentistry for over 40 years. He received the prestigious Mastership in the Academy and in 2010 was the only recipient of the academy’s Humanitarian Award for his service to better mankind throughout the world both for his clinical work and teaching. He is an emeritus member of both the AGD and ADA.
Dr. Shapira had a private practice in dentistry on the Half Moon Bay Coastside for over 35 years and continues to practice part-time in San Francisco, Ramona and El Cajon, California. He is proficient in all phases of dentistry, but especially enjoys doing periodontics, endodontics, aesthetic dentistry and placing and restoring dental implants.
Dr. Shapira received a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Gerontology from Notre Dame de Namur University and became an “aging specialist.” He founded Aging Mentor Services, of Aging Specialists, Inc. (www.agingmentorservices.com). He also received a master’s degree in Health Administration from the University of Phoenix, which has enabled him to help people navigate the healthcare system and the transitions of aging.
He has authored a book on healthy aging titled: “A New Wrinkle: What I Learned from Older People Who Never Acted Their Age.” The book is in its second printing and can be found on Amazon.com as well as www.newwrinklebook.com.
In his “spare” time, Dr. Shapira finds respite and joy in Plein Air watercolor painting and sculpting, which he has done for over 50 years. He is working on two more books: a historical novel about his grandmother and a book about Sex After 60.
Vicky – Front Office Manager
I was raised in Lakeside and went on to raise my family there. My career in the dental field began in 1996 and to this day I love it! Spending time with my two beautiful daughters and my amazing grandsons is my favorite thing to do; however, Disneyland and sports are both close seconds!!!! I will go the extra mile for you, our patient, in attending to your insurance needs, scheduling and providing caring support. I truly enjoy the unique opportunity I have as the front office manager in the dynamic and welcoming office of Dr. Laurel Morello.
Trish: RDA Rock Star
I have been a part of Dr. Morello’s team since 2002 and in the dental field since 1996. Seeing big smiles from our patients after their visits is something I really enjoy. Working with Dr. Morello, I feel like a lifelong learner always on the cutting edge and never a dull moment! I’m a San Diego native and have been married to my high school sweetheart since 1992. When I’m not running to one of my children’s sporting events I enjoy walking and hiking and spending time with my family and friends.
Carol: The Amazing RDA
I am a native of the East County. I have been an R.D.A. since 1975. I married my husband Guy in 2000 and have three grown children including a set of twins. My life has been blessed with 6 grandsons and one more grandson on the way!
My hobbies are baseball (Love it, GO PADRES!). I enjoy water aerobics and love to camp, garden and shop thrift stores. My sign is Cancer which explains my passion for home and family.