Dr. Richard Ly
Dentist in Port Jefferson & Middle Island, NY
Dr. Ly was born in Saigon, Vietnam and raised in Brooklyn, New York. During his undergraduate studies at NYU, he joined the U.S. Army Reserves as a soldier medic. He was the recipient of the U.S. Army Health Profession Scholarship Program and accepted into New York University’s College of Dentistry. He graduated from NYUCD in 2002. He was then commissioned as a Captain in the army and completed his officer basic training at Ft. Sam Houston, TX. His four year tour of duty included a one-year Advanced Education in General Dentistry at Ft. Meade, MD, two years in Korea, and the final year at the Pentagon. He is still serving in the Inactive Ready Reserves as a dental officer and was deployed to Iraq in 2009. Dr. Ly was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in August 2014.
Dr. Ly is the director of the Mobile Oral Health Program, Dentally Driven, which is a very important and unique service to our community. Dr. Ly and his team provide dental care to underserved communities including adolescent group homes, Native American Reservations, detention facilities, and homeless shelters. Through this program, thousands of children have been given the opportunity to receive free emergency, preventative and restorative care.
Why did you become a dentist?
I decided to become a dentist in my junior year of High School. I knew that I wanted to help people, but I didn’t want to deal with life and death. As a child, I’d had a lot of dental work and the experience was very traumatic. I wanted to change people’s view of dentistry through my care.
What do you like most about being a dentist?
I like the patient interaction and being able to make a difference in their lives. Within an hour, I can fix a dental problem and change a patient who was in pain to someone who is pain-free.
How did you get involved in the Armed Forces?
We had recruiters visit my high school and I thought that the idea of going into the army was very cool. I even applied to West Point, but decided that the commitment – four years of active service following college – was too much. After my freshman year of college, I again met with recruiters about joining the reserves as a soldier medic. This time I knew it was the right decision. A few weeks later, I was at boot camp!
How do you spend your free time?
I am definitely a sports fanatic. I collect Michael Jordan sneakers and I enjoy basketball, football and many other athletics. I love spending time with my wife and son. I am also a big Bruce Lee fan. For this reason, my son – Brandon — has the same name as Bruce Lee’s son!