Dr. Madeline Serrano's
Answers to Our Survey
I. DID YOU HAVE BRACES WHEN YOU WERE A
YES. I HAD BRACES
a. How long did you have braces? 12
b. Did you like having braces?
c. Did anybody tease you?
|NO, NOT AT FIRST, BUT THEN I STARTED
TO APPRECIATE HOW MUCH BETTER MY TEETH LOOKED. I LOVED THE END RESULT!
d. Did a lot of kids in your neighborhood, school
or family have braces?
e. Did you grow up in a city, the suburbs, or in
a rural area? NYC.
|NO ONE IN MY FAMILY, A FEW FRIENDS
HAD THEM BUT THEY WEREN'T AS COMMON BACK THEN.
f. How did your parents help you with your braces?
PAYING THE BILL (I WALKED TO MY
APPOINTMENTS AND LISTENED
TO MY DOCTOR'S DIRECTIONS AT EACH
g. What age were you when your braces were taken off?
h. Did you like your orthodontist? YEP!
HE WAS A GREAT GUY.
i. Did you read any books when you were a kid
with characters that had braces? NO.
j. Did you see any celebrities with braces when
you were a kid?
k. Did you wear a retainer after your braces were
|NO. THE ONLY RECENT CELEBRITY I'VE
SEEN WITH BRACES WERE MOLLY RINGWALD AND ONE OF THE SINGERS FROM THE BAND
TANI, TONE, TONY.
NO. I WORE SOMETHING SIMILAR CALLED
l. Did you think it was hard taking care of
NO. I HAD NO TROUBLE TAKING CARE
OF MY TEETH AND MY BRACES.
m. Why did you need braces?
n. Do you think braces hurt less now than when you had
braces put on?
|I HAD AN IMPACTED PERMANENT CANINE
TOOTH THAT NEEDED TO BE GUIDED INTO POSITION. (I'VE SINCE FOUND OUT THAT
THIS IS AN EXTREMELY COMMON PROBLEM IN OUR POPULATION.
ABSOLUTELY, DUE TO IMPROVED WIRE
ALLOYS AND IMPROVED BRACKETS AND BAND ATTACHMENTS WHICH ARE MUCH SMALLER
AND KINDER TO THE MOUTH TISSUES.
o. Do you talk to your patients differently
than your orthodontist talked to you?
|YES. WE EXPLAIN MUCH MORE ABOUT
EVERY STEP OF TREATMENT AND MY STAFF AND I NEVER TRY TO TALK ABOVE A PATIENT'S
LEVEL BUT INSTEAD WE SIMPLIFY SO THEY CAN UNDERSTAND AND ENJOY THE PROCESS.
II. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO TO DENTAL SCHOOL?
a. Did you like going to the dentist?
YES. I FORTUNATELY ALWAYS HAD GOOD
b. Did anyone encourage you to go to dental
If so, who and what did they tell you?
|NO (PROBABLY BECAUSE I'M A FEMALE
AND THERE WEREN'T MANY FEMALE DENTISTS OR ORTHODONTISTS AROUND WHEN I GRADUATED
HIGH SCHOOL: 1983).
c. What school subjects helped you with dental
ALL SCIENCE COURSES IN HIGH SCHOOL
AND COLLEGE HELPED GREATLY.
d. Did you think about doing any other jobs?
YES, FOR A WHILE I THOUGHT SERIOUSLY
ABOUT BECOMING A ZOOLOGIST.
e. Did you know that you wanted to be an orthodontist
when you started dental school?
YES, WHEN I HAD BRACES ON AS A
TEEN MY INTEREST WAS PIQUED.
f. Did you go to college before you went to
YES. I DID COLLEGE STUDIES AT NEW
YORK UNIVERSITY (BIOLOGY MAJOR).
III WHAT WAS DENTAL SCHOOL LIKE?
a. How did you choose the dental school that
you went to?
b. Which dental school did you go to?
|BEST PUBLIC DENTAL SCHOOL IN NEW
YORK STATE - BEST REPUTATION AND RESEARCH FACILITIES
STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT
BUFFALO SCHOOL OF DENTAL MEDICINE
c. How many years did you go to dental school?
d. What kind of subjects did you study?
e. Did you work on models?
|HUMAN GROSS ANATOMY, BIOCHEMISTRY,
HISTOLOGY, MICROBIOLOGY, DENTAL ANATOMY, PHARMACOLOGY, HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY,
EMBRYOLOGY, GENETICS, ENDODONTICS, PROSTHODONTICS, ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL
SURGERY, OPERATIVE DENTISTRY, ORAL MEDICINE, PERIODONTICS, ORTHODONTICS,
MODELS MADE OF PLASTIC TEETH WERE
OUR PRACTICE PATIENTS
DURING FRESHMAN AND SOPHOMORE YEARS.
f. Did you work on people or animals at your
g. Did you learn about how faces change when people
|I NEVER WORKED ON ANIMALS, I JUST
WAS CAREFULLY SUPERVISED IN WORK WITH REAL PATIENTS STARTING IN THE SECOND
HALF OF OUR SOPHOMORE YEAR.
I LEARNED MORE ABOUT THIS DURING
h. Did you use computers to learn about how
NO, NOT EXTENSIVELY - COMPUTER
USE IN ACADEMICS WAS NOT AS COMMONPLACE AS IT IS NOW (MY ORTHO TRAINING
YEARS WERE 1990-1994 - THAT'S LIGHT YEARS AWAY WHEN YOU CONSIDER HOW MUCH
COMPUTER USE HAS EXPLODED SINCE THEN).
i. What did you like most about dental school?
WORKING WITH MY PATIENTS.
j. Did you learn about how to explain what you
are doing to your patients?
NOT REALLY, ALTHOUGH BY KNOWING
WHAT WE WERE DOING IT WAS NOT DIFFICULT AS LONG AS WE DID NOT USE TECHNICAL
TERMS TO EXPLAIN THINGS TO THEM.
k. Did you study other parts of the body or
just the mouth?
l. Did you learn about working on people of all
|WE LEARNED ABOUT THE WHOLE BODY
IN OUR FIRST TWO YEARS OF DENTAL SCHOOL IN ORDER TO BE WELL EQUIPPED TO
IDENTIFY AND DEAL WITH VARIOUS ILLNESSES OUR PATIENTS CAN SOMETIMES PRESENT
WITH. THEN IN THE SECOND TWO YEARS WE CONCENTRATED HEAVILY ON THE HEAD
AND NECK AND MOST ESPECIALLY THE MOUTH.
m. Did you enjoy dental school?
|DENTAL SCHOOL WAS INCREDIBLY HARD
AND DEMANDING 4 YEARS OF MY LIFE. I DID VERY WELL BUT IT WAS A LOT OF HARD
WORK WHICH IN THE END SERVES ME WELL EVERYDAY.
IV. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN ORTHODONTICS?
a. Was there an orthodontic part of dental school?
b. Did you think about working mostly with kids
|A VERY SMALL CLASS DEALT WITH ORTHODONTICS.
IN GENERAL YOU LEARN VERY LITTLE ABOUT ORTHODONTICS WHEN YOU'RE IN DENTAL
YES, AND THAT IS ONE OF THE MAIN
REASONS I WANTED TO
BECOME AN ORTHODONTIST!
c. Did you want to work on helping people look
d. Did you like to look at people's teeth and think
about how braces would change their face?
|MOST DEFINITELY!!! IT IS A GREAT
GIFT TO DO WHAT I DO EVERYDAY! I KNOW FROM MY PATIENTS APPRECIATIVE SMILES,
WORDS AND HUGS THAT I AM HELPING THEM ENJOY THEIR LIVES MORE FULLY.
ONLY IN SECRET. I WOULD NEVER SUGGEST
TO A STRANGER IN THE
STREET THAT THEY NEED BRACES (THAT
WOULD BE RUDE).
e. Did anyone tease you when you decided to
be an orthodontist?
NO, NOT AT ALL. THEY THOUGHT IT
WOULD BE VERY COOL!
V. WHAT WAS ORTHODONTIC SCHOOL LIKE?
a. Where did you go to orthodontic school?
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT
b. What did you like about orthodontic school?
FINALLY STUDYING IN MY CHOSEN FIELD
AND WORKING ON PATIENTS
c. How many years did you go to orthodontic
school? THREE YEARS
d. What percent of your fellow students had
braces as a kid?
e. Did you work on models or people?
f. Did you work on the same people for a long time?
|FROM THE START WE WORKED ON PATIENTS
UNDER CAREFUL INSTRUCTION AND ONE ON ONE SESSIONS WITH OUR TEACHERS AND
OVER THE THREE YEARS I TREATED
MANY PATIENTS FROM START
TO COMPLETION OF THEIR TREATMENT
g. Did the school teach about how people are
supposed to look?
YES, AND THEY TAUGHT US SOME OF
CHALLENGES OF WORKING WITH PATIENTS
OF VARIOUS AGE GROUPS
h. Did you use computers to study orthodontics?
YES, AS NOTED ABOVE (e)
VI. WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE AN ORTHODONTIST?
a. How long have you been an orthodontist?
b. Do you have to be strong to be an orthodontist?
NO, IT'S ALL TECHNIQUE, NOT BRUTE
FORCE (I'M NOT A VERY BIG
LADY, SO BRUTE FORCE WOULDN'T HELP
c. Do you get tired of working on people's mouths?
NO. WHEN I DO IT'S TIME TO RETIRE
d. What percentage of your patients are kids,
teenagers and adults?
KIDS UNDER 13 = 25%
TEENS = 45% ADULTS = 30%
What percentage are female and what percentage are
FEMALE = 65%
MALE = 35%
e. Have you ever seen someone have an allergic
reaction to their braces?
If so, did they know it was because of their braces?
What does an allergic reaction look like?
|YES, I HAD ONE PATIENT HAVE AN
ALLERGIC REACTION. ABOUT 6 PATIENTS KNEW THEY MIGHT HAVE A SENSITIVITY
TO NICKEL AND SO WE AVOIDED PROBLEMS BY USING ALL TITANIUM APPLIANCES RATHER
f. Is it difficult to explain to kids what's wrong
with their bite and what needs to be done?
|AN ALLERGIC REACTION TO BRACES
CAN PRESENT AS SEVERE SWELLING IN THE MOUTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF SEVERE SORES
WHERE THE BRACES ARE TOUCHING THE INSIDE OF THE CHEEKS AND LIPS. (IT LOOKS
LIKE THE SKIN IS ALL TRYING TO PEEL OFF) IT IS QUICKLY REVERSED WITH THE
REMOVAL OF THE BRACES - CLEARS UP WITHIN A FEW DAYS.
NO. YOU JUST HAVE TO USE EASY TO
g. Are kids easier to work with than teenagers?
YES, MOST OFTEN BECAUSE THEY ARE
MORE EAGER COOPERATORS
h. If there is a problem with braces, can kids
explain the problem to you?
ALMOST ALWAYS (IT'S THEIR PARENTS
THAT SOMETIMES GET
MORE FLUSTERED AND CAN'T EXPLAIN)
i. Do you put the braces on all at once or do
you put them on a little at a time?
m. How often do you take x-rays?
|USUALLY ALL AT ONCE SO THE PATIENT
ONLY GOES THROUGH THE INITIAL FEW DAYS OF DISCOMFORT ONCE. SOMETIMES WE
CANNOT PUT THEM ALL IN AT ONCE IN THE PATIENT'S BITE WON'T ALLOW FOR IT.
n. What happens when kids loose a tooth when their
braces are on?
|ALWAYS BEFORE RENDERING TREATMENT
AND THEN EVERY TWELVE MONTHS DURING TREATMENT IN THE USUAL CASE. SOME PATIENTS
MAY NEED X-RAYS MORE OFTEN LIKE ONCE EVERY 6 MONTHS.
o. Do people call you for emergencies a lot?
|IF IT'S A BABY TOOTH NO PROBLEM.
IF A TOOTH IS LOST OR INJURED DUE TO AN ACCIDENT, THE BRACES CAN HELP SPLINT
THE TOOTH BACK INTO PLACE WHILE THE DEEPER TISSUES (LIKE BONE) HEAL AROUND
NOT A LOT. MAYBE TWO TIMES PER
p. What are some of the emergencies people have
with their braces?
q. Do you get to know the patients pretty well?
|THEY USUALLY EAT SOMETHING TOO
HARD FOR THEIR BRACES TO HANDLE AND THEY POP OFF A BRACKET OR LOOSEN A
WIRE. A REALLY BIG PROBLEM IS KIDS CHEWING ON PENS OR PENCILS THAT ALWAYS
BENDS OR BREAKS SOMETHING.
VERY WELL! IT'S LIKE THEY GROW
UP WITH US.
Do they e-mail you?
NO, THEY DON'T E-MAIL ME BECAUSE
MY E-MAIL ACCOUNT IS
MOSTLY USED BY MY FAMILY
r. Which specialists do you work with?
ORAL SURGEONS, PERIODONTISTS, PEDIATRIC
s. What can kids do if their lips get hurt by
t. Do you recommend any special machines for cleaning
teeth and braces?
|COVER THE AREA OF THE BRACES WITH
WAX, PUT ORABASE MEDICINE ON THE CUT AND RINSE WITH WARM SALT WATER 3 TIMES
PER DAY TO KEEP IT CLEAN.
u. We heard that soda is bad for braces. Is
|THE W ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSHES THAT
ARE QUITE HELPFUL ARE SONICARE AND THE ORAL-B BRAUN. A WATERPIK CAN ALSO
BE A GREAT AID.
v. What are some of the things kids tell you they
are afraid of with their braces?
|YES. THE COMBINATION OF SUGAR AND
ACID IS A DISASTER ESPECIALLY IF THE PATIENT IS A POOR BRUSHER.
w. I heard that there are guards to put on if you
play a wind instrument or play sports. Are these guards a good idea?
Are they hard to use? Are they expensive?
|NOT A LOT! A CUTE ONE I HEAR EVERY
SO OFTEN IS THE FEAR OF GETTING STUCK WHILE KISSING SOMEONE IF THEY ALSO
x. Do you look at celebrities and think about whether
they had braces? YES
|YES. THEY ARE CALLED MORGAN LIP
BUMPERS. ANOTHER BRAND IS KISSABLE KOVERS. YOUR ORTHODONTIST SHOULD HAVE
SOME IN THE OFFICE TO GIVE YOU IF YOU NEED THEM. THEY ARE VERY HELPFUL
FOR MUSICIANS (WE GIVE THEM OUT TO OUR PATIENTS AT NO EXTRA FEE).
Have you ever worked on someone who was or became
a celebrity? NO
z. Which part of getting braces do kids like
THE SEPARATORS OR SPACERS AT THE