Collaborative Orthodontics and Oral Health

Dr. Sue Liebman, an orthodontist, discusses her collaborative approach to orthodontics and overall oral health. Her love of changing people’s smiles was nurtured early. Dr. Liebman literally grew up in the field of orthodontics, coming in to work in her father’s office since she was a child. What sets her apart is her true enjoyment of getting to know her patients and providing them with the highest level of care, coupled with her commitment to carefully listen and understand their orthodontic needs and how they impact their lives. For more information, visit  

Dr. Liebman earned her undergraduate bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and her DMD degree from Fairleigh Dickinson School of Dentistry, followed by her postgraduate orthodontic training at Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery. Dr. Liebman took an extra step of successfully completing a voluntary, rigorous examination process to become Board certified and a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, which is the only orthodontic specialty board recognized by the ADA.


Neal Howard: Welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you for joining us once again. We’re going to have a conversation with Dr. Sue Liebman, she’s an orthodontist and basically she’s been around orthodontics her entire life and she’s joining us on the program today to talk about her collaborative approach to orthodontics and overall oral health. Welcome to the program Dr. Liebman.

Dr Sue Liebman: Thank you so much for having me. Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Neal: Well I said that I believe you’ve been around orthodontics your entire life. Give us a bit of your background and talk about how you got so involved in orthodontics.

Dr. Liebman: Well that actually is true, I have been around it all my life. My dad started this practice about fifty years ago so I literally have grown up in the field of orthodontics and coming into the office as a child and his love of the field was contagious so this has been my path in my dream and I’ve been practicing, we were practicing together while he was still in practice for 25 years and I’ve carried it through so I’m now doing this 32 years from the professional side as opposed to the other side. So I literally have grown up in the field, but it’s really been quite exciting to see all the changes that have taken place in the field of orthodontics now.

Neal: Well here in the United States and around the world, folks are I guess for lack of a better term, obsessed with achieving that perfect smile, that television, movie smile. How do you feel about the perfect smile? Is there one?

Dr Liebman: Well no there’s no one perfect smile, there’s no one-size-fits-all and I think that

is why the approach that I’ve taken and what’s always what I see my role being here is to number one: tell every patient that walks through the door, go over with them what it is that is going on with their mouths, how to make their how their mouth as healthier, what it is that they’re concerned about, what it is that brings them through the door.  That’s so important to hear from the patient and to know from the patient and that’s what I enjoy doing after all these years of doing this that what makes each case, each patient unique. And there’s no one right fit for the type of braces, it’s not your parents’ braces anymore. There have been so many developments and so many changes and there are so many options out there for our patients. So it’s really my role to hear what they have to say and to then couple my experience and what’s out there with what fit their lifestyle best. Obviously I want to do what’s best for them and and there should always be primarily the desire to get the healthiest mouth that you possibly can. But within that realm, it’s important to take into account what their concerns are and what their restrictions are, what their ideas are, what’s their lifestyle. You can’t factor life out of the mix here, you have to take life into account in the decision making process and that’s what it should be. It should be really, truly a collaboration between patient and professional and it’s my job to tell them all the options, to discuss all of the possible ways to treat. And now with so many different treatment modalities that are available to us that weren’t available in years past, now with Invisalign, with clear aligners, inside braces, removable braces, different stages of treatment, different phases of treatment, there’s so many possibilities out there that really what I love to do is just sit down with my patients get to know what their thoughts are and present to them all of the options they can mix, they can match. We can pick and choose and sit down together and figure out what it is that make the most sense for them and what they can manage with and they have to feel comfortable with it. They have to know that what they’re embarking on is something that they can feel good about. Sometimes you can even do a simulation as to how your teeth are destined to look at the end of treatment which is always very helpful. There are just so many tools out there that we didn’t have years ago.

Neal: Well maybe the the tools have not been available but some of these things that you’re discussing – lifestyle, the nutrition, all of these things – haven’t they always been important when it came to overall oral health? Or are these things that we’re just finding out as opposed to thinking “Well teeth are teeth. You keep them or you pull them?”

Dr Liebman:  No, absolutely. I mean the goals have always been there and the reasons for doing orthodontics and correcting how the teeth come together have always been there and I’ve always underlined the treatment and the reasons for intervention to get the teeth in a more coordinated fashion. It’s not only for aesthetic reasons, you want to get the teeth into a  coordinated relationship where they function optimally, where you’re maximizing their long-term health which is housing the teeth in a framework and having them come together in a relationship that’s not traumatic then best for digestion. It’s best for the overall long-term health of your gums and the supporting tissues and the supporting structures that house the teeth. So that there’s so many beyond purely aesthetic ones that warrant intervention and nowadays we know the prevailing wisdom is to actually intervene possible at an even earlier age than we first thought. I think that’s been the misconception most widespread and all the organizations actually advised that the consultation is really between ages 7 to 9 when there’s this beautiful mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth and that’s the best time to jump in and really take control of how the teeth are due do to come in. But there’s no age limit also and I think a lot of our adult population realizes that, say for whatever reason didn’t intervene when they were younger and now they have the means or they have the awareness. I mean there’s a much greater awareness  because of the desire to get the perfect smile. There’s a much greater awareness of the teeth in general and how it affects so much more than just your appearance but how it affects your ability to function and chew your food and ensure that you have better long-term health of your mouth because your mouth is part of your overall health and it is the window to the rest of your body.

Neal: And I’ve noticed lots of people well into their 50s who are looking to get braces. Is that part of this awareness?

Dr Liebman: Absolutely and it grows exponentially. Others adults will see other adults with braces or with Invisalign and they’ll realize that that it’s not too late, something can still be done if they thought that their time has passed and they can’t correct anymore, that’s not the case. Really we have patients through their 70s that are for one reason or another embarking on orthodontic treatment so there is not an age limit to it. So although it used to be seen as kind of a rite of passage of adolescence, it’s now done earlier but there’s also this greater awareness in the adult population that now they might have the means to correct or just the know-how that there are possibilities out there. And with the newer treatment modalities, they realize they don’t have to necessarily be walking around with the traditional metal braces of old. There are a lot of different treatment options and that’s where lifestyle fits in. That’s where they can truly choose what they feel they can manage with if they’re talking to the public, if they’re engaged  in those kinds of jobs where there’s a lot of contact and they don’t feel like they can be comfortable wearing the traditional braces, they can most often go with the route of the Invisalign or the clear aligners and that’s where the other newer treatment modalities have really made in roads in that part of the population. Understanding that there are possibilities out there, you definitely can still correct.

Neal: Where can we do online and wrapping up and get some more information about your practice and some of these new modalities as well?

Dr Liebman: Well definitely you can go to any of the organizations. Mine, I’m Brooklyn Heights Orthodontics, happy to be a resource for anyone who wants information as to the various treatment modalities that are out there – what’s possible, what can be accomplished, the reasons why things should be done. So my website is is Brooklyn Heights Orthodontics or and all of the American Association of Orthodontists definitely have directories and there are even YouTube videos that can actually give you a little bit although you do have to be careful which ones you access there. But I would stick to the organizations or professional office websites that usually have a lot of informational material but certainly I’d definitely be happy to just share my experience and my information. I mean this is why I’ve been doing this for as long as I have that there’s a true love of what I do and I’m here as a resource.

Neal: Well I thank you for coming in and speaking with us today Dr. Liebman, it has been a pleasure.

Dr Liebman: Thank you so much for having me, I appreciate the time.

Neal: You’ve been listening the Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard in conversation with Dr. Sue Liebman. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, listen in and download at SoundCloud and be sure and visit our Affiliate Page at and

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