Making orthodontics unordinary

New Ballston Spa doctor heading to the schools, getting involved in community

Dr. Burlingame visits many area schools and presents information about dental health.

Dr. Burlingame visits many area schools and presents information about dental health.

A close-up ofbraces reveals just how intricate they are.

Imagine having braces put on your teeth just for the experience,not because you needed to have them. Well, Dr. Michelle Burlingame did just that while she was studying to become an orthodontist.

“I had a friend put them on for me. It was just the fair thing to do,” said Burlingame of the experience. She recalls that it wasn’t altogether terrible and that she had accomplished what she set out to do, which was to have first-hand knowledge of wearing braces so that she could understand what her patients would be experiencing.

Just over a year ago, Dr. Burlingame opened an orthodontic practice in Ballston Spa, choosing to return to family in nearby Galway instead of heading to a large city. This concept, along with her attention to patientc omfort is echoed in her practice’s goal: “An escape from the ordinary.”

She said her smaller practice (it’s just her and a receptionist) is able to offer something other than an expected dental experience, which can be overwhelming for some patients. Many orthodontists’ offices may have a larger staff and while Burlingame feels that her office will likely grow in the future, she doesn’t plan for it to get too big. Being able to provide constantone-on-one care is important to her.

When it comes to relating to children and adults who need braces, Burlingame’s own experience and focus on patient connection comes in handy. With challenges of maintaining good oral hygiene and having appliances put in place, the empathy she has helps to take some of that anxiety that can sometimes surround dental visits, away.

Burlingame also she advocates dental health throughout the community in many schools, is a member of the local Rotary Club, and is aprovider for “Smiles Change Lives” (SCL). She also goes into local schools, visiting mostly second grade students and occasionally kindergarten classes to bring some ‘hands on’ opportunities for the kids to participate in.

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