Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blind Brook's "30-Something" Reunion

Blind Brook High School is a small public school in Rye Brook, New York. Dr. Judith Okun is a graduate of its third class. She has done orthodontic and TMJ treatment for current students of this local school as well as for children of it's earlier graduates. Last weekend Blind Brook had its "30 something" reunion for the first few graduating classes. Many of us came from as near as Greenwich and as far as Hawaii to participate in this event, despite the torrential rains and flooding. There were many shared smiles and stories as we caught up on the last thirty years: Laura does sculptures and toy design and lives in California; Ricky teaches teachers all over the world; Amy is studying the environmental effects of building a railroad in Hawaii; Jenni is the medical director of a hospice in Pennsylvania; Mike is a lawyer for a construction company in NYC; Jim is a lawyer in White Plains; Joanne is the office manager for a pediatrician in Greenwich, Ct; Bev helps people find jobs in Long Island. Most of our class had been together from nursery school through high school, had a long history together, and had a longer history "to catch up on". We heard of job and family "successes" and learned of personal tragedies. Two more of our class mates have passed away: Seth Baygell and Roopi Sethi. My heart goes out to their families.
Thank you to Beverly Wachtel for the photos.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back to School Braces in Westchester

The fall season is just about to begin here in Rye Brook. School has begun, and now is the perfect time to start your orthodontic treatment! Many other students are wearing braces too; Treatment at a young age can be less complicated and you will often see better results than as an adult!

If you already have braces, it is important to remember the types of foods you can and cannot eat. Avoid the high sugar candies, snacks and beverages at the school cafeteria; these foods can damage your teeth and orthodontic appliances. Fruits and vegetables that you have to bite into should be cut up first, and any types of sticky food, such as chewing gum, should be avoided. You can find more information about what not to eat on our website, and if you have any questions you can always give us a call.

We here at Okun Orthodontics do our best to serve you, the Westchester County community, with quality orthodontic work. We work with all ages, and Dr. Okun has created amazing smiles for entire families! Give us a call at 914-253-0722, now is the perfect time to get started on the path to an amazing smile!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pain and Tooth Fractures are Linked to Grind of Recession

Although there is no official data, dentists are noticing an increase in the number of patients seeking repair for chipped and fractured teeth. All the evidence points to tooth grinding (a.k.a. bruxism), brought on as a result of stress. And the stress levels have increased with the recent economic Recession.

The body reacts to stress, real or perceived, with what is known as the "fight or flight" reaction. Since most of us do not burn off this stress- reduction- energy with extreme physical activity, we burn it off by clenching or grinding our teeth at night.

Clenching teeth can cause cold sensitivity and sometimes nerve trauma in the teeth (requiring root canal treatment to fix.) Grinding teeth can cause wear or chipping of the biting surfaces of the teeth; cracking or fracturing of the cusps (or bumps on the biting surface of the teeth); destruction of the bone that holds teeth in the mouth; shortening of the roots of the teeth; pain and spasm of the chewing, face, and neck muscles; pain or ringing of the ears, and jaw joint pain. The damage to the jaw joint and its muscles is often referred to as "TMJ".

What can we do for tooth grinding? We can’t stay up all night to make sure we aren’t rubbing our teeth together while we sleep. We can, however, cover the biting surface of our teeth with a hard plastic guard or splint at night. This way the wear- and- tear happens to the guard instead of to our teeth and their supporting structures. The guard splints the teeth together so that clenching forces are shared and do less damage to the nerves of the teeth. The guard also decreases the muscle forces needed to slide our teeth side to side, therefor decreasing the spasm of the chewing and face muscles, and decreasing the stress on the jaw joint. Many patients try over- the- counter night guards, but although they are cheap, they are not effective. At Okun Orthodontics we make custom night guards. The cost of a custom night guard is significantly less than the cost to repair the damage done by those patients who grind their teeth without protection.

It pays to prevent the pain and avoid the tooth fractures that are caused by the "grind of Recession." As the expression goes "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

--Dr. Judith Okun

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another Heartwarming Patient Letter

July 23, 2009

Everyone in Dr. Okun’s office is loving and caring. Dr. Okun has always explained to me what the problems were with my teeth, and what she needs to do to fix them. She even explains step-by-step what she is doing, so that I don’t need to be nervous. My mother says that even after 9 years of college and a Masters in nursing, she is still amazed by the amount of knowledge you need to understand what is happening with the braces, and that Dr. Okun has explained everything so clearly. I never have any pain, and I never cry when I am here. When I walk out of the office I always smile; a lot! Lots of people love my braces and the colors. When I smile people are happy. It makes me feel good when they smile back at me.

My Grandmother and Aunt tell me a lot about my teeth; they say that my teeth have improved ever since I came to Dr. Okun. I tell lots of people at my church, White Plains Deliverance Center, about Dr. Okun, and I give them her business card. So many people love my smile.

My mother and I gave Dr. Okun’s card to the principal at Yonker’s Christian Academy. She was told that her ten year old daughter was too young to get orthodontic services, but we told her that she should see Dr. Okun to get another opinion.

Thank you Dr. Okun.
Courtney Scott

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Thank you to the best orthodontist." A Patient Letter to Dr. Judith Okun

Take a look at this wonderful letter we recently received from one of our patients:

So far, since I have been at the office I have had the best experience with everyone around me. Everyone feels like family in your office. When I come in, it is so warm and calm that I never feel nervous. Every time that I go in to the chair I never feel any pain because everyone is so nice. My mother feels the same way. She says that this is the only orthodontist she feels comfortable seeing, even though we had seen three orthodontists before, and my sister had already started treatment with one of them.

I work two days a week for my pediatrician Dr. Sukra. Her daughter is very nervous and scared about coming to the dentist, even if it is just for a cleaning. Every time I see Dr. Sukura’s daughter I tell her more and more about my experience at Dr. Okun’s office. Now I think she is considering coming to see Dr. Okun for braces.

Ever since I have been seeing Dr. Okun, people in my church, White Plains Deliverance Center, have commented that my teeth have never looked so straight, clean and pretty. Now that I have been at Dr. Okun’s office I always want to smile. Before, I never wanted to.

Every time I come to Dr. Okun’s office I am never nervous because I know I am in good hands.

Thank you Dr. Okun.
Kaitlin Scott

Thank you Kaitlin!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Tip Of The Iceberg, By Dr. Judith Okun

"The tip of the iceberg" is a great expression. The small amount of ice that you can see above the water often does not indicate how much ice is hidden beneath the water. I’ve heard this expression used to represent many things. The ENT (Ears, nose and throat) doctor often describes tonsils this way: the amount of tonsil she can see in her patients throat is small compared to the amount present when she goes to remove it. I like to think of the "tip of the iceberg" as the crowns of your teeth- the part that you can see in your mouth. Under the gums, buried in bone. is a much larger part of each tooth, called the roots.

The rate of tooth movement, or "how fast teeth can move", is directly related to the size of the roots. Teeth with smaller roots move faster than teeth with larger roots, or teeth with multiple roots. This is because the bone that surrounds the teeth must remodel, or "move out of the way" so that the roots can move. The bigger the root, the more bone it must displace. Since it takes time for the bone to remodel, it takes time for the teeth to move. Understanding this is key to understanding how braces work!

So the next time you are wondering why the braces take so long to make your teeth straight, just remember that the teeth you see in your smile are just the tip of the iceberg!

--Dr. Judith Okun

Thursday, July 30, 2009

How Does a Belly Flop Cause Root Resorption? Dr. Okun Explains

It doesn’t. But a belly flop is a great analogy for one of the reasons that roots resorb.

When you drag your hands through the water in the swimming pool you can feel the water resist the movement. The faster you move your hands the more you feel the water holding you back. But you can also feel the water moving out of the way to let your hands move.

Now imagine slapping the top of the water, or doing a belly flop. As your hand, or your stomach, hits the water, the water does not move nicely out of the way. The surface water splashes, but what you notice more keenly is the stinging pain you feel on your hand or stomach. It hurts! You’ve hit the water so hard that the water acts like a solid concrete wall, and it feels like the water hit you back.

At Okun Orthodontics, we use braces to move teeth. As they push gently on the teeth, the teeth push gently on the bone that surrounds them. The bone in turn remodels, or moves out of the way, allowing the teeth to move. Sometimes, however, the bone doesn’t "move out of the way" fast enough. The root of the tooth ends up taking the brunt of the force instead. The root "gets hurt" and displays its "pain" by getting shorter. The loss of root length is called "root resorption". Unfortunately, the root never grows back.

Since long roots increase the longevity of a tooth, it is best to preserve the roots of your teeth by moving them slowly, and continuously, with your braces. To keep those forces continuous it is necessary to have your braces adjusted on a regular basis. (This is why you should schedule your orthodontic appointments at Okun Orthodontics approximately every three to six weeks.)

Now you know how the pain from a belly flop can represent the remodeling of the roots of your teeth. If you have any specific questions about root resorption, give Okun Orthodontics a call at 914-253-0722.

--Dr. Judith Okun

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sorting Seeds, from Dr. Judith Okun

I watched Curious George on PBS Kids this morning while washing the dishes. (I don’t get many channels with my roof top antenna.) George, the monkey who always gets into trouble while investigating his world, has mixed all the packages of vegetable seeds together in one jar, and now has to figure out a way to re-label them. He sorts them by size and color, and then compares them to the seeds in cut vegetables. When the Man with the Yellow Hat comes home each pile of vegetable seeds has a name, and each kind of vegetable can be planted in the special way that can help it grow.

Sorting by characteristics is something we all do to make sense of the world. Orthodontists like me compile characteristics in order to make a diagnosis. We sort our patients by characteristics such as facial type, whether the upper jaw and teeth are in the correct forward-to-back relationship to the lower jaw and teeth, and whether the teeth are crowded or have spaces between them. For example, if we have a patient at Okun Orthodontics who has a square jaw/short face, upper teeth and jaw too far forward for the lower jaw and teeth, and crowded teeth, we would give this patient’s bite the name "Class II division 2 crowded malocclusion." Since orthodontists treat many bites of this kind, we know how to use braces to make this patient’s teeth bite properly and look their best.

If you want to know how I would name your bite, please call to schedule a consultation appointment at Okun Orthodontics. At your first visit I will look at your face and teeth and list their characteristics. Then I will tell you what your bite is called and what the problems are that need to be fixed. I’ll tell you how I would recommend fixing them, how long I think it will take, and approximately what it costs to fix these problems. I’ll even work out a payment plan with you so that you can start fixing your bite problems, and have your best smile, as soon as possible.

--Dr. Judith Okun

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dr. Judith Okun Explains TMJ

So what exactly is TMJ?

"TMJ" is used to refer to problems associated with the jaw joint.
TMJ disorders are more common than you may realize in the United States. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that between 5 and 15 percent of people experience pain associated with TMJ. The initials TMJ actually stand for the TemporoMandibular Joint, which is where your lower jawbone and your skull connect. You have one joint on each side of your face, and you can experience pain in one without it being present in the other.

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

Signs to watch out for are pain and discomfort in your jaw. Sometimes the pain spreads and you can feel it around your ears and throughout your face. You will probably experience difficulty chewing and swallowing. Oftentimes the joint will lock causing difficulties opening or closing your mouth. The joint can also make a clicking noise when you move your mouth. Left untreated, TMJ can also cause headaches, difficulties making facial expressions, and even make it painful to apply cosmetics to your face.

What causes TMJ?

The TMJ is one of the most complicated joints in your body because it moves up and down as well as side to side. TMJ problems usually involve a genetic predisposition which can be exacerbated by jaw clenching, teeth grinding, arthritis, or some kind of trauma to the joint.

How do you treat TMJ?

At Okun Orthodontics, we start out by analyzing your symptoms and history to fully understand your condition and the potential causes. We will examine the joint and your range of motion to properly diagnose your condition. If you have TMJ, you are in good hands as we are equipped with the latest in technology at Okun Orthodontics. We can not only work with you to alleviate the causes of TMJ, but we can help you to minimize the stresses to the joint by fabricating a custom dental guard for you to wear on your teeth at night. Also, we often can eliminate the pain with electric stimulation in our office. This is the same technology used in sport’s medicine that enables athletes to have less pain and heal quickly.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hair, Smiles, and Self Image by Dr. Okun

This week marked the death of two great celebrities, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. They were both known for their stage presence and smiles. Farah was also known for her beautiful hair and Michael for his beautiful music.

It is ironic then, that Farrah died from cancer, whose cure also causes hair loss. Those close to her said that losing her hair was one of the most devastating parts of the whole cancer experience.

Dr. Okun is very aware of the importance of appearance to feeling good about oneself. This is why she enjoys her job of making beautiful smiles with braces! This is also why she and many of her patients have grown and cut their hair to donate for children and women who have lost their hair from illness. In fact, Dr. Okun’s daughter has donated her hair three times!

Dr. Okun donated her hair to Pantene. The opening phrase on the web site for Pantene Pro-V Beautiful lengths states “You have the power to help a woman during the greatest fight of her life.” With six ponytails Pantene and HairUWear can make a “beautiful, high quality, real hair wig…for a woman who has been affected by hair loss from cancer treatment, at no cost to her.”

The other organizations that Dr. Okun’s patients have supported have been Zichron Menachem (based in Israel but having donation centers in Jerusalem, London and New York), Wigs for Kids (in Rocky River, Ohio), and Locks of Love (in West Palm Beach, Florida). All of these organizations make wigs for children suffering from hair loss diseases, with the costs of these wigs covered by donations. The mission of these organizations is to “help kids look themselves” (as stated on the Wigs for Kids website.)

Zichron Menachem, the Israeli Association to Support Children with Cancer and their families, describes the needs for all kinds of hair to make custom wigs. “Each wig has to be tailor made for each specific child, to enable them to regain their former appearance. The wig is designed according to the exact size and shape of the child’s head, using hair that is as similar as possible to the child’s original hair. A boy whose hair was short and curly will need a short, curly wit. A girl who had long, straight ginger hair will need a long straight, ginger wig. Therefore, we need as many different types of hair as possible.”

Dr. Okun hopes that her example will continue to motivate her patients to donate their hair, and help make the difference in the self image of a child.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Graduation 2009 and the Best Smile Award from Okun Orthodontics

June is almost over and so are this spring’s graduations. Many of our patients graduated from Middle School and High School, including Dr. Okun’s children. It gives us great pleasure to see the beautiful smiles we helped to create in yearbooks and at graduation ceremonies.

We’ve always said that “a beautiful smile can change your self image.” So many times we’ve seen new patients talk with their hands in front of their mouths because they are afraid for people to see their teeth. After wearing braces, they feel so good about themselves that they walk down the street smiling. A smile is contagious. Everyone they smile at smiles back, reinforcing that good feeling.

Dr. Okun’s patients are known for sharing their smiles. In fact, this year two of the three student’s winning the “Best Smile Award” in the Westchester Hebrew High School Yearbook were patient’s of Dr. Okun! Thank you to Sarah E. and Eddie G. for sharing those beautiful smiles every day!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tracey from Okun Orthodontics Is A Grandma!!

Tracey from Dr. Okun's Office is now a grandma! Welcome to the family Jaylynn! Here's what she had to say about the new baby boy in her life.

I’m so excited I don’t even know what to say. I have like no words to express my excitement. My daughter Katt had a baby boy on Sunday. Jaylynn Miguel is so adorable and tiny.

I spent five days in the hospital with Katt before Jaylynn was born. He was five weeks early but is doing great. He was 19 inches long and five pounds 9.8 ounces and growing fast. He looks like he has nuts in his cheeks they are so pudgy and he is very alert, always turning his head toward the voice in the room.

This was an unexpected vacation from work and I have a lot to catch up on now that I’m back. Don’t worry; I’ll be quick to get those insurance forms in order!
I’m a grandma for the first time!!!! WOW! (I’m too young for that, but whatever, I’m taking it as it comes. So its ok.)

Office Manger, Okun Orthodontics

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dr. Okun and Her Family Do Great Community Work with Bikkur Cholim of Rockland County

"Bikkur Cholim" is a phrase that means "visiting the sick." All of us, sometime during our lives, will be put in the position of visiting someone we know who is sick. Some of us choose to visit lots of people who are sick, to see if we can help them with anything, or just to visit and make them feel better because they have someone to keep them company.

When Orthodox Jews arrange to visit someone who is sick on the Sabbath, they find a place that is walking distance from the sick person to stay for the duration of the Sabbath (Friday evening until Saturday night), and arrange in advance for food. This is because we don't travel, cook, or spend money on the Sabbath (unless it is a life or death situation.) Sometimes we don't have the luxury of planning in advance.

Bikkur Cholim of Rockland County is a Charitable Organization that rents three rooms on the property of Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, NY for Orthodox Jews to stay if they have someone to visit at this hospital. One room has beds and a bathroom for women (complete with a pack and play for babies), one room has beds and a bathroom for men, and one room has a table and chairs, refrigerator, and warming drawer. This organization also provides food. The organization has volunteers from Rockland County who purchase food (both catered foods- like chicken and cakes, and supermarket foods- like yogurt and fruit) and drop it off at the "kitchen" room on Fridays. The student volunteers from Westchester Hebrew High School in Mamaroneck come on Friday afternoon to put the food away- some in the refrigerator, and some on the hot plate. The volunteers from the Young Israel of White Plains come on Saturday night to clean up. (I, Dr. Judith Okun, am a Saturday night volunteer.) There is a cleaning service that washes the linens and towels during the week.

Every second to fourth Saturday my family goes to Valhalla to throw out any spoiled foods and take the trash to the garbage bins in the parking lot. Any food which is going to spoil within the week we take with us back to White Plains. There is a battered women's shelter behind Grace Church that takes contributions 24 hours a day, and accepts food that is not sealed in a package. We bring them cake, juice, milk, chicken soup, salads, and even "kugels" (potato or noodle pudding.) This way the leftover food can benefit even more people and not go to waste.

Sometimes when we arrive at the hospital we find the rooms empty. Sometimes the guests are still there. We have met many grateful recipients of this charity. Last Saturday night the guest was a young woman and her son. Her son was hit by a car on Friday afternoon right before the Sabbath. His leg was treated at the hospital and then he was released. It was already after sunset on Friday night, and now that the emergency was over they could not travel back home. The woman could not thank us enough that they had a clean and comfortable place to stay, and that there was good food to eat, food that was fit for honoring the Sabbath. We tried to explain that all of this was provided by Bikkur Cholim of Rockland County, and she should extend her "thank you" there, but she saw us as representatives of the whole "process" and kept thanking us. It's hard to accept the thanks, when our part in the process is so small, but its wonderful that this service is here for those that need it!

--Dr. Judith Okun, of Okun Orthodontics

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Okun Orthodontics Is Greening Their Practice

At Okun Orthodontics, we care about making the world a better, happier place, and we know that you do too. We want to take this opportunity to share the many approaches we take to ensure that we have a healthy and safe environment both in our practice and outside in the world.

One of the biggest things we do is to take only digital x-rays. Digital x-rays are healthier for you and better for the environment. They are healthier for you because of their low radiation. They are healthier for the environment because they do not require toxic developing and fixing chemicals. In addition, they have several advantages for you. The images are available instantly on our computer- there is no wait time for processing! Also, you and your general dentist can view your images online through the log-in feature on our web site and we can easily print out copies of your x-rays for you to take to your dentist if he/she does not have internet access or does not have an e-mail address.

We also avoid chemicals as much as possible in our sterilization and cleaning procedures. Instead of chemicals, we use heat sterilizers, so we achieve the same effect but without introducing toxins. To clean our floors and counters, we strictly use green all-purpose cleaners.

Another great thing about greening our practice is that it is great for people with allergies. We take every precaution to prevent allergies in our office. We ask that you inform us of any chemical sensitivities and allergies so that we know when we need to avoid Nickel in the brackets and arch-wires of your braces. Also, the elastic ties that we use at Okun Orthodontics are not latex or silicone; they are polyurethane.

Whenever possible, we use fragrance-free products so that we do not pollute our indoor air. (Also, none of our staff wears perfume.) We have a HEPA air filter which we consistently run it to make sure our air remains clean and pure. Instead of latex or nitrile (which are both common allergens), we use vinyl latex-free gloves.

So, next time you visit Okun Orthodontics, you can breathe deep knowing that you are not only getting the best orthodontic treatment around, but you are visiting a truly green and environmentally friendly practice.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Swine Flu Awareness in New York State

I recently attended the NYS mandated Infection Control lecture. The following text was in one of the handouts from the New York State Department of Health:

"It is important to note that ordinary seasonal flu, which has symptoms similar to swine flu, is still active in New York State. Precautionary measures for both seasonal flu and swine flu include:

-Washing your hands often with soap and warm water. Alcohol-based hand cleansers are also effective.

-Avoiding people who are ill.

-Staying home from work or school if you are sick.

-Using a tissue when you cough, sneeze or spit, and dispose of the tissue in a covered trash bin.

-Keeping hands away from your face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

-Cleaning shared space more often such as phone receivers, keyboards, steering wheels and office equipment.

-Refraining from sharing personal items such as forks, spoons, toothbrushes and towels.

--Dr. Okun

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Satisfied Patient from Okun Orthodontics

From our great staff to our state-of-the-art technology, patients love coming to Okun Orthodontics. Read this letter from a very happy patient!

Dear Dr. Okun

I am writing to thank you and commend you for your care over the past two years. As you know, I have suffered with jaw pain for years which after a particularly stressful time in my life led to a very painful “locking” of my jaw. I was unable to open my mouth and getting routine x-rays at my dentist’s office was extremely painful.

After being referred to you by my dentist, I was immediately impressed by your professionalism and thoroughness. Your explanations every step of the way put my mind at ease. I was fitted for a biteplate to wear daily to ease the pressure on my jaw. I went from wearing the device all day to wearing it only at night.

While there is no “cure” for my ailment, the biteplate has helped with the management of the jaw pain. Another thing that helped was the energy medicine that you recommended. The goal of the medicine is to “decrease the pain and spasm of the muscles in the face and jaw”. While I must admit I was skeptical at first by this “alternative medicine”, after sitting at the machine I would feel my jaw relax and sometimes a headache I was suffering from would even ease. I did not realize how well the medicine made me feel until I came back for a follow up appointment months later and did not think I needed the energy medicine. I did try it again however, and I was amazed at the difference it made, my face even looked more relaxed when I left.

I would just like to thank you again for your patience, care and for helping me to manage my jaw pain.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Patient Appreciation Letter to Dr. Judith Okun

Read this letter from a happy patient to Dr. Judith Okun!

Dear Dr. Okun,

I am writing to thank you for suggesting that I bring my children to you for “electric medicine” treatments following their wisdom tooth extractions. It clearly worked like a charm to alleviate a great deal of the swelling, pain and discomfort that they had to endure. Although my oldest two children had all four teeth extracted at the same time, they came directly to your office for treatment and experienced minimal swelling and discomfort for a few days.

I was still a little skeptical that the treatments actually worked until my youngest daughter had her teeth pulled recently. The first tooth was pulled in August and I was unable to bring her to your office from the surgeon’s. The swelling and pain from this one tooth was extreme and lasted more than a week. After the other three teeth were pulled this past December we took no chances and came directly to your office. She used the “electric medicine” for the prescribed time and had no swelling on one side and minimal swelling on the other. Within a few days she was completely comfortable with no signs of the surgery.

We are all now firm believers in this method that noticeably speeds the healing process. My children used it whenever you adjusted their braces over the years and I can confirm that this “medicine” really worked. They never complained about pressure from their braces and the treatments definitely healed cuts in their mouths right before our eyes.

I am no longer skeptical in the least because this last success was not one that could be explained away by the power of suggestion. We saw and felt the results. I cannot thank you enough for all your wonderful work and sage advice.



Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Layperson's View of a Beautiful Smile as Relayed to Dr. Okun

I’ve known Barbara* for years. She never really had an awful smile. She was a cute girl. She had her orthodontics in high school and got her retainers. I didn’t see her much after high school until yesterday. I was wearing my retainers and was smiling big. I love my smile both with and without my retainers. Barbara was covering her mouth. I thought she was covering her mouth because of my retainer.

As I was walking, I didn’t cover my mouth because I wasn’t shy about wearing my retainers. I saw her teeth when I hugged her and was really shocked. They were awful. The teeth were crooked and her mouth was dirty. You could tell that she just let them go. Right now, in this day and age, your smile is everything. It’s going to get you your job and get you noticed. You want to have a beautiful smile. A beautiful smile goes a long way.

I spoke to one of Barbara’s friends. She told me that Barbara didn’t comply with her orthodontics, and didn’t wear her retainers. I couldn’t believe it. Why would anyone spend money on a beautiful smile and not do what she needed to do to keep it. No matter what you have to do, you have to do it. Your smile is everything.

If you’re just standing at a party looking at two people, would you go to the person with the smile, or the person who was not smiling, who had their mouth closed? Of course you’d go to the person who was smiling. That’s what’s going to stand out.

My sister-in-law had this really huge gap in the front of her mouth. Now she’s wearing braces. She wears her elastics and everything. I can see her teeth moving every day. She’s going to get the surgery (frenectomy) to help the space stay closed. She’s going to be a model, and will do everything she needs to do to get that pretty smile. She has a pretty smile and she knows its worth it. And honestly, what is two years to have something for the rest of your life. It’s not a lot of time to correct something.

*name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual

If you care about your smile and want to receive the highest quality service in a state-of-the-art practice, give Dr. Okun a call. She'd love to have a consultation and let you know what you can do to keep smiling.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What Do We Need Spit For Anyway? -- Dr. Judith Okun Explains

This past week, Dr. Okun attended a lecture entitled “Clinical Pearls for Treating Older Patients” by Dr. Randy Huffines. One of the biggest issues with sickly and elderly patients is that they have decreased salivary flow (i.e. spit). Saliva is necessary to start the digestion of our food, but is also necessary to buffer acids in the mouth and keep minerals in our teeth. With poor quality saliva, or too little saliva, we not only have that uncomfortable dry-mouth feeling, but we also get MANY MORE cavities.

Why does an orthodontist need to know about treating older patients? Many more adults are wearing braces than ever before. Many of them want to achieve that smile they never had when they were young. Many of them were told by their dentists that they need to align their teeth in order make it possible to restore their broken- down teeth or replace their missing teeth. Some have even come to us because their improper bites are causing them pain. Okun Orthodontics attracts many adults seeking braces because we have individual treatment rooms for all of our procedures. This enables all of our patients, no matter how young or how old, to have the privacy they deserve at each visit.

What can we do for patients at increased risk for cavities? (This includes both the elderly as well as the young who have difficulty keeping their teeth clean.) We can show you how to clean around the braces with special aids like inter-proximal tooth brushes (mini-bottle brushes for cleaning teeth) and floss- threaders. (We often recommend that you have someone help you clean your teeth if you are not able to clean them well by yourself.) We also can provide you with MI Paste- a dentist supplied topical crème with calcium phosphate and fluoride that can strengthen your teeth and decrease your cavity-risk. Of course, we also recommend that you get more frequent dental cleanings so that both the gum disease and cavities are minimized.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Give a Smile, Get a Smile From Okun Orthodontics

There are few things in life that you can give away, and end up having many more. A smile is one of them. If you smile at someone they are very likely to return that smile!

Many of our patients at Okun Orthodontics have noticed that “everyone is smiling at them.” Some of them have noticed why. They are feeling so good about their “straight smile” that they are walking around smiling, and everyone is smiling back. It makes us all feel good when our day is full of smiling faces!

There are many reasons to smile. We found 10 on and added one of our own.

Top 10 Reasons to Smile
By Mark Stibich, Ph.D.

1. Smiling Makes Us Attractive
We are drawn to people who smile. There is an attraction factor. We want to know a smiling person and figure out what is so good. Frowns, scowls and grimaces all push people away -- but a smile draws them in.

2. Smiling Changes Our Mood
Next time you are feeling down, try putting on a smile. There's a good chance your mood will change for the better. Smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood.

3. Smiling Is Contagious
When someone is smiling they lighten up the room, change the moods of others, and make things happier. A smiling person brings happiness with them. Smile lots and you will draw people to you.

4. Smiling Relieves Stress
Stress can really show up in our faces. Smiling helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down, and overwhelmed. When you are stressed, take time to put on a smile. The stress should be reduced and you'll be better able to take action.

5. Smiling Boosts Your Immune System

Smiling helps the immune system to work better. When you smile, immune function improves possibly because you are more relaxed. Prevent the flu and colds by smiling.

6. Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure
When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. Give it a try if you have a blood pressure monitor at home. Sit for a few minutes, take a reading. Then smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling. Do you notice a difference?

7. Smiling Releases Endorphins, Natural Pain Killers and Serotonin

Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin. Together these three make us feel good. Smiling is a natural drug.

8. Smiling Lifts the Face and Makes You Look Younger
The muscles we use to smile lift the face, making a person appear younger. Don't go for a face lift, just try smiling your way through the day -- you'll look younger and feel better.

9. Smiling Makes You Seem Successful
Smiling people appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted, and more likely to be approached. Put on a smile at meetings and appointments and people will react to you differently.

10. Smiling Helps You Stay Positive

Try this test: Smile. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It's hard. When we smile our body is sending the rest of us a message that "Life is Good!" Stay away from depression, stress and worry by smiling.

Here’s another reason to smile.
11. Okunorthodontics is making smiling more affordable
Some people have told us that they are afraid to start braces (in this economic climate) because they might lose their job tomorrow and not be able to make the payments for their medical treatment.
Dr. Judith Okun has always offered interest-free payment plans that extend over the expected length of time of treatment. Now she is offering the option to halve each monthly payment for up to one year after the loss of a job. (This lengthens the payment plan by up to one year.) We don’t want finances to stand in the way of you or your child having that contagious smile. Schedule your consultation today. Call us at 914-908-5480.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dr. Okun Judges Posters for Children's Dental Health Month

Dr. Judith Okun is one of the judges for the Ninth District Dental Society’s Annual Poster Contest for children from grades K through 12. The winners from our district are sent on to compete in the New York State Dental Health Poster Contest.

This year’s assignment was to design a place-mat style poster depicting ways to maintain our dental health. Entries included animated toothbrushes, floss, tooth-paste and mouth germs. There were also creative game-boards and computer generated characters. Many of the place-mats encouraged including healthy foods like fruits and vegetables in our diets, and eating fewer sugary treats. Brushing your teeth, visiting the dentist frequently, wearing braces for a beautiful smile, and wearing a protective sports guard for contact sports rounded out the themes.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Self-Litigating Braces -- A Great Alternative to Traditional Braces -- Okun Orthodontics

Feel confident about your smile- both during and after orthodontic treatment!

As always, braces with colors are available to those who want to make a statement with their smile. Now there is another option for those who don’t like to stand out because of their braces.

These new low friction brackets hold the wire in place without the colored ties, have less plaque build up (are easier to clean), and require fewer appointments. For many people the treatment is actually faster and more comfortable. This is a great option for adult patients with busy work schedules; Adults are less likely to break their appliances so they can afford to be seen less frequently. These high-tech self-ligating braces are available in metal and clear, and unlike the “braces with colors”, the “low friction brackets” do not discolor (turn yellow) over time.

If you know someone who is interested in this free-sliding technology- for braces that take less time and requires fewer appointments- have them ask us at Okun Orthodontics about In-Ovation system braces.

For more information about these new braces, call us and make an appointment.

Friday, February 27, 2009

How Headgear Can Improve Your Smile! --Dr. Judith Okun

Hollywood has given headgear a bad rap, but in certain cases, it’s the best tool for a tough job. The result is a stunning smile that can’t be attained any other way. Braces are capable appliances, and regularly achieve excellent results when it comes to straightening teeth. But our area of expertise includes your face and jaws as well as your teeth. At Okun Orthodontics, our specialty is not only the straightening of teeth, but also guiding the growth of the jaws and face.

When there is a discrepancy in the growth of the jaws – such as when the upper or lower jaw lags behind the other in development – we may prescribe headgear to help the jaws grow together properly. In order to guide the growth of a jaw, its teeth must be anchored to a fixed point outside the mouth. Headgear anchors the teeth to either the head or the back of the neck.

In some cases headgear is used to hold certain teeth in place, usually to keep them from crowding into a space from which a tooth has been extracted. Again, an extra-oral anchor point is needed, and headgear fits the bill.

If we have prescribed headgear as part of your treatment, you may feel some soreness during the first few days of wearing it. The trick is to persevere and keep wearing it until your teeth acclimate. If you take it off, you’ll have temporary relief, but the soreness will reappear when you wear it again. If you wear it consistently, your teeth will get used to it and any discomfort will recede.

While you’re acclimating, we recommend taking Tylenol (Acetaminophen) to ease any soreness, and sticking to soft foods for a few days. You can also try decreasing the force on the headgear by wearing it on a looser hole for the first week or two, and then return to the setting that was prescribed for you. If your teeth stay sore for more than a few days, or are too sore to wait a few days, let us know. We can schedule time for you to use the electric medicine (Electro-Accuscope) in our office to eliminate the soreness.

Keep in mind the following when you’re wearing headgear:
• Be careful when removing headgear to avoid injury to your face, mouth, or eyes.
• Remove your headgear when engaging in activities that could jolt it loose, such as sports.
• Avoid any situation in which your headgear could be grabbed or jostled.
• Bring your headgear each time you visit our office.
Every patient is different, and everyone with headgear will have a different prescription for how often and how long it must be worn. The key is to follow our instructions precisely. If you wear your headgear as directed, your treatment will go more smoothly, take less time, and have better results. Give us a call at Okun Orthodontics and we can evaluate if orthodontic treatment is right for you.

Friday, January 23, 2009 Has a New Look!

We're excited to announce the recent launch of our beautiful new web site! Visit us at to learn more all about our orthodontic practice in Rye Brook, New York, or to find out more about Board-certified orthodontists Dr. Judith Okun.

Need to access your account information between appointments? You can look up the time of your next appointment, or whether that check you mailed was received. You can also print out how much you spent in the calendar year for your flex plan, or view your photos or x-rays that were taken at your last visit. Simply sign on using the Patient Login button at the top of our page. While you're there, you can also take a tour of our office and even enjoy a few arcade classics in our online Game Room!