Sunday, November 11, 2012

Can you do it in the dark?

     My office survived Hurricane Irene (although I was out of power for 1 week at home) but the Noreaster that followed took away our office power for 24 hours. I spent a lot of time during “Irene” wondering what I would do if the power went out at work, and I had the opportunity to find out when the lights went out last Wednesday. I can change 0-ring colors in the dark (actually by window light), determine which way a patient should wear elastics, evaluate if the key on an expander is turning properly, and even do a “new patient” clinical evaluation. Then it gets a little more complicated. I can cement a band if I clean the tooth first with a tooth brush (instead of a prophy angle), have the patient rinse out with a cup of water and dry the tooth with a cotton roll (instead of using the air-water syringe), and cure the cement with the charge in the blue-light (until the charge runs out.) I can’t adjust the angle on the dental chair, put on brackets, reshape
teeth or remove “glue” with a hand-piece, or view my electronic records.
     Lets face it, Electronic records are very convenient but only while the power is on. In my modern dental office the schedule, charting, x-rays, photos, models, and finances are all recorded electronically. I know many dentists who not only could not work while their power was out after Irene, but they also couldn’t cancel their patients because they didn’t have access to their schedules. Here is where I felt very lucky. Because I have a third party provider providing my patients access to their digital records- their scheduled appointments, their ledger sheets, and their digital images- I had access to my office schedule. My office data was backed up in Seattle, Washington, far away from the storms on the east coast. I simply called Sesame Communications for a list of my scheduled patients. They e-mailed each patient who was scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday to let them know to call and verify we had power before they came to their appointment. I called each patient to inform them that my office was without power. This way I was able to reach almost everyone before they left the house. I also keep duplicate patient records- I still keep a paper chart in addition to my digital chart- so I knew where I was in the treatment of each of the patients who chose to come in for the limited care that I could provide... “in the dark.”

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I like the blue one.

I have fish hanging from my treatment room ceiling- not real fish, fake ones. I have beanie babies and mobiles so that patients have something to look at while they are having their braces adjusted. Today I was taking braces off of a 9 year old patient while her mom and 2 year old sister were watching. Because the family will be doing a lot of over-seas traveling they elected to have 2 sets of retainers made, one in red-purple (a bright pink) and one in blue-ice (a clear blue). This way there would be a spare if the 9-year old lost or broke her retainers while they were in Europe. The mother and patient were having a discussion about the color of the retainers but the younger sister was having a discussion of her own- about the fish on the ceiling. I laughed when the 2- year-old announced to her mother: “you like the blue fish and I like the pink fish, just like (sister’s) ‘tainers (retainers).” What interesting logic!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Last Sunday, October 21, Dr. Judith Okun joined thousands of “walkers” in the “making Strides Against Breast Cancer” event at Manhattanville College.  The “nationwide event unites millions of walkers with a common purpose: to end breast cancer forever.” By walking we help make the world aware of the need for research to find cancer treatment and we raise funds for the American Cancer Society of NY and NJ.  This organization not only invests in breast cancer research to find, prevent, treat, and cure the disease, but it also provides free lodging and rides to treatment for breast cancer patients who need it, improves access to mammograms, and provides support for cancer patients and their families.  To learn more about the many ways you can fight back against breast cancer year-round, visit Donations can also be mailed to American Cancer Society, Westchester Region, 2 Lyon Place, White Plains, NY 10601 (Information in this statement was taken from the “making strides” brochure.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Look! It's a rainbow

Colored o-rings do much more than hold the wire in place.  They also create a fashion statement and give the patient a sense of control over their treatment.  New colors can be chosen almost every month.  Sometimes they follow a theme- orange and black in October; red and green in December; red, white and blue in July.  Sometimes they represent sports team colors or school colors.  And sometimes they are just for fun.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wendy's Eye Candy

That's my patient featured on the Wendy William's show!  Isn't she gorgeous! 
Thanks to Gillian for acknowledging my part in making her smile beautiful.
Thanks to Beverly for finding me the link to this picture.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Wendy Williams Show and Dr. Okun

I received got a phone call this morning from my patient, Andrea, who was very excited. Her sister Gillian, a patient of mine who is long finished with her braces, was on the Wendy Williams Show this morning, and was selected from the audience for her excellent appearance. She was well dressed, her hair was done, and her smile was beautiful. Andrea was bubbling when she said, “I just wanted you to know that when Wendy commented on Gillian’s beautiful smile, Gillian gave you credit. She said, ‘Thank you and thanks to my parents and Dr. Okun.’ ”

It makes me so happy to see the smiles of my patients when they get their braces off. Their whole demeanor changes when they smile in the mirror and like what they see. Hearing, years later, that my patient still appreciates what braces did for her smile has kept me smiling all day.

Thanks to Andrea for sharing!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mary Ann’s Unfinished Business

Our office coordinator Mary Ann Perry  received her Master’s of Science in Organizational Management and Human Resource Development from Manhattanville College last Thursday. She completed this degree in only one and one half years! The thing she enjoyed most in this program was doing her final project on the lack of diversity in the National Football League. Her instructors told her that her project was the best researched paper they have yet encountered at Manhattanville. She actually had 32 pages of annotated bibliography! She is now working on finding a publisher for this project.

After Mary Ann gets this paper published she plans to continue her ongoing education. Her next interest is getting a phD in Black History. Mary Ann enjoys gaining knowledge to be an expert story teller.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Another Happy Patient

It's a pleasure to present "Another Happy Patient": I recently finished braces for a young woman who had had braces as a child, but she was never happy with the result, and the teeth had gotten more crowded as she got older. Her biggest problem was that she could only close her teeth on one tooth in the back, so it was difficult to eat. Her upper jaw was way too narrow for her lower jaw, and the lower teeth were very crowded. We had discussed surgery to make the upper jaw wider, but she was not interested. We decided on a compromise- treatment that included extracting two lower teeth, and wearing braces for up to two years. Since she was so anxious to be done with braces, we ended treatment after only 1 year and 3 months. The patient was so happy! She reported that “just from a ‘I can eat salad’ standpoint, it’s so much better. We knew it was going to be a compromise but I wasn’t going to do surgery. My teeth are so straight now, and it’s so much easier to close my lips. Thank you so much Dr. Okun.”

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sterilizing your Oral Appliances

Dr. Okun has a warning to all patients wearing removable oral appliances. Orthodontic Retainers, Occlusal Guards (for TMJ- facial pain), Athletic Mouth Guards, Invisalign and Clear Correct Aligners, and Dental Sleep- Appliances are all made of plastics which melt in high temperatures. They will distort if placed in boiling water or left on the car’s dashboard on a sunny day. If you wish to sterilize your retainer which fell in the dirt, or to Kasher your oral appliance for Passover, DO NOT BOIL IT! Instead soak it in warm water with a tablet of retainer cleaner like Retainer-Brite, or in a denture cleaner made for Partial Dentures. It will be sterilized in 10 minutes, but can be left soaking as long as 12 hours without damaging the appliance. Remember to wash off your retainers in running water before placing them back in your mouth!

Children’s Dental Health Month Raises Awareness of Oral Health

Once again, Dr. Judy Okun participated in the judging of the dental health posters submitted by students from Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange and Putnam counties of New York State as part of National Children’s Dental Health Month. The theme this year was “Sugar, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!” The goal was to have students learn the negative impact of sugar and the positive impact of nutritious foods, and to have them submit it in a visually convincing poster. The posters were judged in age categories and the first and second place (and tied second place) winners received monetary rewards for their efforts. Congratulations to this year’s winners: Kayla P. and Briigid B. (Kindergarten), Marisa L., Ella M., and Kevin D. (first and second grade winners), Uriel Matias K., Tamaiah D., and Veronica W. (third and fourth grade winners), Dejvy N., and Kaylamarie B. (fifth and sixth grade winners), Lauren W. (seventh and eight grade winner), Gabrielle G., and Hawhon G. (ninth and tenth grade winners), and Christopher M. (eleventh and twelfth grade winner). This years winners came from St. Augustine School of Ossining, Geo Grant Mason School of Tuxedo, Paideia School 15 of Yonkers, Solomon Schechter School of White Plains, Casimir Pulaski School of Scarsdale, St Anthony School of Nanuet, Solomon Schechter High School of Hartsdale, Hendrick Hudson High School of Montrose, and Walter Panas High School of Cortlandt Manor.

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Dental Drill has Cruise Control and Daytime Running Lights

Did you ever notice how much easier it is to maintain your speed on the empty highway when you have cruise control? How about how much easier it is to see (and be seen) in dreary weather and dark tunnels when you have daytime running lights? These modern additions to driving are what electric contra-angle hand pieces have done to the dental drill. My Bien-Air electric hand piece is a “step up” from my compressed-air driven drills. With preset speeds and torque maintenance I can easily cut through the wires of my palatal expanders, but can also polish off the residual glue after removing orthodontic brackets. I don’t have to worry about “backing off” to maintain torque, nor do I have to worry about spinning too fast and destroying my polishing burs. My electric hand piece also has a light that shines exactly where I am working; now I can see in the back of a tiny mouth even when the patient is not facing the overhead light. I am certainly enjoying my new technology!