Top Dentists 2010

Our annual roundup of the Valley’s top dentists — as rated by their peers

(page 2 of 5)

dr. jodi gorelick

Dr. Jodi Gorelick

530 Rte. 6, Mahopac. 845-628-1018

Practicing dentistry: 8 years-plus
Dental school: Columbia University, then orthodontic residency at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Chairside manner: “Sometimes young kids will just sit there and refuse to open their mouths; it happens. So you coax them, try cajoling them, bribing them, using your charisma. But they usually come around. When you patiently explain that this (procedure) is good for them, they usually ‘get it.’ Also, the fact that I’m a woman, reminding them maybe of being around their mom or grandmom — the so-called feminine touch — helps put some of them at ease. Also, I don’t wear a white lab coat when I treat young patients; that helps them feel less nervous, too.”
Out-of-the-office life: You might find her working up a sweat at a kick-boxing session, or busy with “mommy stuff,” like driving her two kids to tennis, guitar, or soccer lessons.
On work: “Many people don’t really like the jobs they do. I’m so grateful I have a career that I love; I’m happy to get up in the morning and come to the office.”

Jodi Gorelick, D.D.S. on Orthodontics

In one sense, says Dr. Jodi Gorelick, not much has changed over the years in orthodontics — the specialty that involves preventing or correcting tooth irregularities, usually with braces.

“The basics are still the same; the mechanics of how you move a misaligned tooth haven’t drastically changed,” says Gorelick. “But the techniques have certainly been tweaked and honed. And many of the negative aspects — like the discomfort — are gone.” Perhaps that helps explain why one in five orthodontic patients, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, is now an adult.

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Many baby boomers, however, still have squirmy flashbacks about their own adolescent ordeal of wearing clunky, unsightly braces decades ago, Gorelick says. But now that many of their own kids (or grandkids) are getting dental hardware, “the parents are seeing how science and technology have moved orthodontics up to a whole new level. They come into the office and say, ‘Goodness, our kids are so much luckier than we were!’ ”

One welcome orthodontic advance is a dip in the total time that braces are usually needed. Ten or 20 years ago, according to Gorelick, the average patient coped with them for two-and-a-half to three years. “And it wasn’t unusual to go as long as four years. Now, the average time is down to about 18 months.”

Teeth can also now be gently nudged into place with more ease — and much less discomfort. The wires, for instance — they’re attached to the braces to help realign those pearly whites — are now made of substances such as nickel titanium and beta titanium. “These newer ‘smart wire’ alloys are lightweight, yet they continuously help move the teeth with greater force,” Gorelick maintains. They’re a big improvement over those clunky stainless steel braces of the past. “We still use stainless steel — it has its place — but now we use it later in treatment.”

“Parents are seeing how science and technology have moved orthodontics up to a whole new level. They come into the office and say, ‘Goodness, our kids are so much luckier than we were!’ ”

Another big breakthrough are so-called “invisible braces.” Some are worn on the back of teeth; others are unobtrusive, clear plastic aligners. “And now, we can use tooth-colored ceramic braces, too,” says Gorelick. “I have some adolescent patients who are into theater or dance — they’re in the public eye — and adults who do modeling. It makes a huge difference for them — or anyone — to feel confident with their smile even while they’re undergoing treatment,” she says.

Another new approach to orthodontia deals with the patients themselves — especially young ones. Instead of feeling embarrassed wearing braces, many now proudly revel in having a “designer mouth.” Some kids regard the little rubber bands that hook onto braces as a fashion statement. “Every month they pick a different color,” says Gorelick. “It’s like a new accessory, especially for young adolescent girls.” Orange and black are big requests at Halloween. “Or, say, sports fans can wear their team’s colors.”

Yet another orthodontia artifact — the retainer (the little gadget often worn at night to help keep teeth aligned) — has also come of age, style-wise. “The lab I use can create custom retainers, with anything from the Jonas Brothers’ symbol printed on it, to Yankee pinstripes, to a soccer ball — the sky’s the limit,” explains Gorelick.

“We’re glad to offer whatever makes patients feel relaxed and confident,” she adds. “With orthodontics, it’s no longer just coping with several years of ‘metal mouth’ to reach the goal of having beautiful teeth.”


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