Saturday, August 29, 2009

get it straight: with teen orthodontist Olga Bukholts

When I was 11, my mom took me to the orthodontist for a consultation and, after an intensive evaluation, he said, "I'm sorry to inform you that you don't need braces yet." He thought I would be disappointed since he said many of the pre-teens he met wanted braces so they could be cool. A year later, my time had come and, believe me, I didn't feel too cool wearing them. After four years with a mouth full of metal, wires, wax and retainers, I was finally free! The trend of aligning teeth is still popular today and kids still cringe at the concept. Thankfully, Olga Bukholts, DDS, Director of Perfect Smiles Orthodontics and Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, helps them get through it. "Correcting the misalignment of their teeth will promote teens' self-image, boost their self-confidence and enhance the overall health of their teeth," she says. Bukholts offers her patients several options, including self-ligating braces with lighter wires and lower friction brackets that eliminate the need for rubber bands, shorten treatment time and make it easier to brush and take better care of their teeth. Another alternative is the Invisalign Teen System, a series of comfortable, practically invisible acrylic aligners featuring a monitor that tells the orthodontist whether or not the patient has been wearing the aligner the required 22 hours per day. To take the stress off a visit to the orthodontist's office, Dr. Bukholts spends quality time with each patient to get to know his or her individual needs. She has even set up her office to entice children and teens--her favorite patient demographic. It features a Playstation 3 terminal with video games, satellite radio music, WiFi and a computer station with web access. Patients can also bring DVDs from home which they can begin watching in the waiting room and continue through video headsets while sitting in a treatment chair. (Hopefully, their appointments won't run as long as the latest installment in the Bring It On series, due out this month!) For more info on Perfect Smiles Orthodontic (263 West End Avenue at 72nd Street in Manhattan), go to