A Tradition of Smiles
Orthodontist Dr. Terry Levitt blends passion, skill and technology to enhance patients’ smiles and change their lives
by Pina Rahill


Led by board-certified specialist Terry A. Levitt, D.M.D., M.S.D., Levitt Orthodontics is an intimate practice whose staff has a gift for knowing, comforting and caring for its patients.


“It’s very rewarding being able to take a child who was embarrassed to smile and seeing the transformation into someone who loves to smile,” says Dr. Levitt, who is known to many of her patients simply as Dr. T. “With adults, it may take a bit of time to accept that they truly need braces, but when their treatment is completed, they exude such happiness and say, ‘This is the best thing I have ever done for myself.’ It’s so gratifying for my team and me”


Dr. T followed her now-retired father into the practice, which has been treating residents of Bucks and Montgomery counties for more than 40 years. For two decades she has been using her passion and education to continue her father’s mission, which from the beginning was to provide the highest quality of care to patients in need. Her skill for creating beautiful smiles is evident in every example of her finished work.


Colleen Lapkiewicz’s daughter, a very difficult case with adult teeth growing over baby teeth and many other problems, is one such example.


“Some of that was getting adjusted [at another office], but we weren’t getting done what was supposed to get done,” says Lapkiewicz, who realized she found the right orthodontist for the job when she met with Dr. T. “She said, ‘I’ll do whatever it takes for her to have a great smile.’ And she did just that.”


Lapkiewicz calls the practice’s Southampton office “top notch,” and Dr. T herself admits part of what she loves about her job is walking into the office in Southampton because “it’s a beautiful place” that can be described as spacious, bright and inviting. (The practice also maintains an office in Bensalem, which is soon to be remodeled to resemble the state-of-the-art, spa-like environment of Southampton.) The Southampton office opened four years ago, having relocated from its original location in Huntingdon Valley. It is complete with various amenities—Playstation, LEGOs and a reading station for younger patients, and a TV and coffee/tea bar for parents and adult patients—and a décor designed to make patients as comfortable, relaxed and anxiety free as possible.


Behind the soothing décor are the technique, training and technology that enable Dr. T to work her magic. The practice offers traditional metal, clear or ceramic braces, as well as Invisalign invisible orthodontic appliances, to provide multiple options for patients. In addition, she is the first practitioner in Bucks County to utilize SureSmile, a technology-driven process that creates a 3-D model of a patient’s bite and enables Dr. T to see how the teeth fit together from any angle.


Dr. T uses the model to create every step of a customized treatment plan, assisted by an off-site “robot” that bends arch wires—the wires used with traditional braces—to a level of precision not possible with a human hand. The wires are shipped directly to Dr. T’s office, where she then inserts them in the patient’s mouth to create a beautiful smile in less time than with conventional braces.


With SureSmile, less frequent adjustments are possible, meaning the potential for less frequent appointments—once every eight to 10 weeks—and patients having to wear braces for an overall shorter duration. For patients identified by Dr. T as candidates for SureSmile, treatment time can be up to 30 percent faster.


SureSmile wasn’t available when Lapkiewicz’s two older daughters got braces, but it was an option for her 14-year-old.


“What drove us to go with it [SureSmile] was the shorter time period and also that we didn’t have to be there for appointments every month,” she says. “It worked well for us because my daughter is in sports and has a busy schedule.”


Although the practice’s main goal is to change patients’ smiles for the better, it also aims to do so in an intimate way, according to Dr. T.


“We try our best to get to know each person and make them feel special,” she says. “We’re a staff of six here, and that is by design; we don’t want a big staff or a lot of assistants treating patients—that’s a big difference compared to what you see at some places. We’re not conveyer-belt treatment. It’s very personalized and very personal.


“I’ve always known I wanted to be self-employed, and this is a great profession for a wife and mother,” she continues. “I’ve always enjoyed the medical aspects of orthodontics and dentistry, and now we know so much more about the interaction between oral/dental health and overall medical health. In orthodontics, the patient’s life can truly be improved without having to compromise. You’re changing someone’s teeth, but you’re also changing their personality by doing so. At times, people will leave here much more outgoing because they are so proud of the transition we’ve helped them accomplish.”


Peggy Ciarciello of Southampton, mother of 15-year-old twin girls with severely overcrowded mouths and crooked teeth, refers to the work Dr. T did on her daughters as “quite a feat.” “If you see them now, [the difference] is night and day,” she says. “They are gorgeous, just amazing. I think she worked magic.”


Although Dr. T has created an environment designed to soothe and welcome patients, she has gone to great efforts to make it equally comfortable for her staff. For example, every Monday during a break in patient appointments, she and her small team will roll out their yoga mats for an hour-long yoga session.


“It brings the team closer together, and we’re enjoying each other’s company on a different level,” she says. “I would say that, mentally and physically, we all feel better because of it, and that has an effect on how we interact with patients.”


Life Changing Smiles

Dr. T decided to become an orthodontist when she was 9 years old. She also knew early on that she wanted to help people in need of treatment even if they couldn’t afford it. Becoming involved in Smiles Change Lives, which is a national program that serves families for whom braces pose a financial hardship, was a natural fit.


“Having a nice smile can have a positive effect on self-esteem and other people’s perception of you,” she says. “Statistics have proven that a nice smile helps people improve their self-confidence, and that in turn can provide better opportunities for jobs and other life experiences. It truly can make a difference in a person’s life.”


For high school student John Smith and his mother, Mary, (names changed to protect anonymity), Dr. T’s involvement in Smiles Change Lives has made all the difference. John’s teeth were so crooked it was affecting his speech. Since receiving treatment from Dr. T, John’s speech has dramatically improved, and Mary suggests that her son smiles a lot more these days.


Recently, John had his senior portraits taken. The photographer said he could airbrush the braces out. “Oh no,” Mary recalls telling the photographer. “We are so grateful that Dr. T is a participant in the program and that she is willing to do this,” says Mary. “Every time he smiles and I see those braces, it’s a reminder that we are blessed.”


John Smith is proof that a healthy smile does have the potential to change someone’s life. He is just one example of the many people who are grateful to Dr. T for the passion and skill needed to make an improved smile—and a better life—a reality.


Levitt Orthodontics



Two Offices:

345 Knowles Ave., Suite 7

Southampton, PA 18966


Neshaminy Professional Center
3101 Bristol Road
Bensalem, PA 19020


Pina Rahill is a freelance writer from Bucks County.

Kim Billingsley is a freelance photographer from Doylestown.