American Board of Craniofacial Pain Logo

About Robert L. Wartell, DMD

Robert L. Wartell, DMD has had a varied and comprehensive career. He completed his undergraduate studies at Temple University, married and began his family. After graduating from Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia, he served for two years as a dentist in the U.S. Air Force during the Viet Nam War. After returning to Philadelphia, Dr. Wartell opened a dental practice where he cared for patients for 20 years. During this time, he spent 5 years teaching clinical dentistry one day each week, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine.

After 20 years of practicing dentistry in Philadelphia, Dr. Wartell had burned out. He decided to sell his practice and move to Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was fortunate to find a long-time professional photographer to mentor him, and he eventually opened a commercial photography business in Santa Fe. He spent the next ten years photographing art, jewelry, and other products for artists, galleries, and merchants in Santa Fe and surrounding communities. He participated in many local organizations: he was a volunteer firefighter in for 5 years, and was a member of the boards of directors of the American Cancer Society and the Visiting Nurse Service. He and his wife Pat often cooked lunch for senior citizens at Open Hands senior daycare. He became active in the local chapter of the American Advertising Federation, and became District Governor and a member of the national Board of Directors.

After ten years as a photographer, the urge to serve as a dentist once again became strong enough that Dr. Wartell took the Western Regional Board Examination and received his license to practice in New Mexico. He then worked seeing patients at the state psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas, New Mexico and at the Santa Fe Community College dental clinic. In these locations he was only able to treat patients on Medicaid.

At the end of 2001, Dr. Wartell decided to offer his services to the entire Santa Fe community. He opened a general practice, so that he could once again help patients from all walks of life. By 2007 Dr. Wartell realized that he was diagnosing many patients with temporomandibular-índuced pain and dysfunction and was referring these patients to a dentist in Albuquerque for treatment. He decided to learn as much as possible about the TMJ, joined the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, and made a decision to eventually limit his practice to the treatment of patients with TMDs. He ramped up his study of the subject, and in three years he was able to stop seeing general dental patients.

As his experience and knowledge increased, Dr. Wartell was able to help many patients with long-standing TMJ pain to heal. So many of these patients, some suffering for many years, had been told that nothing could be done to relieve their symptoms and dysfunction. This was not true. By considering the TMJ from an orthopedic point of view instead of a dental point of view, he was able to help almost every patient that was referred to him.

Referrals from dentists and physicians kept growing, and the practice continued until being closed in March 2020 by the pandemic. Because of his age and comorbidities, Dr. Wartell felt too at risk to continue seeing patients. He retired and closed the practice. After several months at home, and missing his interactions with patients and staff, he realized that he could put his valuable knowledge of diagnosis and treatment of TMJDs to use. He decided to become a TMJ mentor for other dentists. Most dental schools have a limited amount of course-time devoted to the TMJ, and most dentists graduate with little knowledge of the subject. Dr. Wartell believes he can help these dentists to help their patients using proven medical techniques to treat their mandibular orthopedic problems.

Contact Dr. Wartell by text at 505-395-6164 or using the form below to learn how he can help you help your TMD patients, while avoiding the need to refer them out.