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Beyond Braces

Straight Talk with Dr. Nithya Chalikonda of Ridgefield Orthodontics

Article by Samantha Schoengold Beranbom

Photography by Abby Cole Photography

Originally published in Ridgefield Lifestyle

Combining expertise, state-of-the-art technology, personalized care, and a thoughtful approach, Ridgefield Orthodontics is a welcome addition to town. Get to know, Dr. Nithya Chalikonda.

Q: Tell me a little about yourself and your connection to the community.

A: Like so many of us, I fall into many roles! I’m a daughter, sister, friend, wife, and mom (to two wonderful little ladies). I’m also an orthodontist and, most recently, a practice owner. I love all these roles; each one helps me become better in its own way. I have lived in Fairfield County for the past five years and have raised my girls here. Ridgefield is ultimately where I decided to open my Practice because I could sense the strong bond and shared values within the town and that has always been my vision for the community I serve.

Q: What is your professional background and the catalyst for your Practice?

A: I have always been in the Northeast. I went to undergrad at New York University, dental school at Temple University in Philadelphia, and back to New York to complete my orthodontic specialty residency. I love orthodontics because I have the opportunity to establish wonderful relationships with my patients and their families. I see kids blossom and adults find new comfort and confidence. I decided to open my Practice because I was able to curate the culture and the experience for our patients. That was most important to me. All orthodontists can do great work, but I wanted to create a place people could trust, be comfortable and enjoy coming to.

Q: What is your specialty and overall philosophy?

A: I focus on each patient’s individual smile journey; everyone is so unique in their needs and goals. The most important aspect for me is the initial visit, where we discuss what each patient requires to achieve the most functional and aesthetic smile. We discuss the different options to educate and inform the patient and their family on different modalities so we can figure out which will work best and most efficiently for them. Starting with a good foundation in treatment is critical!

Q: Who is your typical patient and what can they expect during a typical first visit? 

A: I don’t think we have a “typical patient.” We see patients of all ages and in all stages of life. Starting at the age of 6-7 all the way to patients in their 80s! Their first visit is usually very similar, though- we start with their medical history and concerns and take a full set of records, including x-rays and photographs, along with an exam. Once I have all this information, I talk them through their treatment plan and the different ways we can work to achieve their goals.

Q: You offer treatment for kids, teens and adults. Can you discuss the differences in care during these phases?

A: Yes! We start to see kids around age 7, and they are typically referred by their dentist to check on their growth and development. Many young kids don’t need treatment early on, but it is always helpful to get a good baseline. If they do need treatment, it is usually for issues such as crowding, asymmetric bite and even airway concerns. This is the ideal time to treat these issues since kids are still growing and the bones are more pliable- we usually treat with appliances such as expanders and braces. I love treating this age because we see such profound results quickly.

When kids reach their teen years, treatment is sought to correct their bite and alignment. They typically have lost all their baby teeth at this time and are ready for full treatment, either with braces or clear aligners. I often feel like orthodontic treatment is a rite of passage for middle or early high school kids! We are able to get their ideal result for them to maintain and enjoy through adulthood.

Adults usually come in due to their concerns about esthetics and their bite. As we age, teeth tend to shift due to muscle and facial changes. A familiar story is those adults who may have had treatment at a younger age but stopped wearing their retainer and now seek treatment to regain their “perfect” smile. We have many options for adults, including traditional braces, the more esthetic clear aligners, and hidden (behind the teeth) braces. 

Q: What are some of your favorite things to do in Ridgefield during the summer?

A: My kids keep us so active! We always do things outside, and there is no shortage of activities. We are at a park, at a weekend fair, or trying a new restaurant. This year, we will check out the concerts at Ballard Park. 

Q: What do you find the most rewarding? 

A: The most rewarding part is turning a dream into a reality. My dream was to open a Practice that would be a cornerstone in the community, serving the members with personalized care and supporting others around us. We’re only one year in, and I’m excited to see what is on the horizon.

Ridgefield Orthodontics

38B Grove Street

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