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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Dr. Daniel Kuncio, Orthodontist Extraordinaire

Dr. Daniel Kuncio was born and raised in New York City and Long Island. After graduating as the Valedictorian of Manhasset High School’s class of 1994, he went on to study mechanical engineering at Cornell University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1998. Uninspired by engineering and seeking a more people oriented profession, Dr. Kuncio decided to follow in his mother’s footsteps and attended the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Buffalo, where he earned his doctorate with honors in 2003. His mother, Zenovia, was among the first women to graduate the University of Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine in 1972. At Buffalo, Dr. Kuncio’s distinctions included numerous research awards, and selection to the dental school’s Judicial Council/Ethics Committee.

Although he enjoyed many areas of dentistry, Dr. Kuncio still had the mind of an engineer and found his niche in the specialty of orthodontics. After 8 years in upstate New York, he was ready to return to New York City and accepted a position at the highly selective orthodontic residency program at Montefiore Hospital. At Montefiore, Dr. Kuncio headed the craniofacial conference, a multi-disciplinary medical team for patients with severe craniofacial deformities. He earned his orthodontic certificate in June of 2006, and has since published his research thesis on Invisalign® in the Angle Orthodontist, an international dental journal. In February of 2007, Dr. Kuncio was elected as a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics after passing the board’s phase III exam in St. Louis, making him one of the youngest fully board certified orthodontists in the United States.

Outside of orthodontics, Dr. Kuncio is an avid fan of live music and sports, and he takes full advantage of all New York has to offer. If he’s not at a local concert hall enjoying one of his favorite musical acts, chances are he’s at Citi Field cheering on his beloved Mets. Dr. Kuncio also makes time to stay involved with the local Ukrainian community of New York, which was a large part of his childhood. 

Dr. Kuncio practices orthodontics in two locations in New York City; his main office on the upper west side of Manhattan, and at his mother’s general dentistry practice in Bayside, Queens. He has also recently been appointed to the orthodontic faculty at Montefiore Hospital, where he is an attending clinical instructor and professor of Biomechanics. As a member of the American Association of Orthodontists and the New York County Dental Society, Dr. Kuncio is looking forward to serving families in the New York area for many years to come!  We are so pleased to present him as our latest Mover and Shaker!

Peachy Deegan interviewed Dr. Daniel Kuncio for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan:  We tell our readers it's not who you know, it's Whom You Know and you know our first Mover and Shaker, Garo! Please regale our readers with some tales of you both growing up together...Were teeth a topic of discussion for your conversations with Garo back then? 
Dr. Daniel Kuncio: Garo and I have known each other for 20 years, growing up in Manhasset, Long Island. I don't recall any conversations about teeth, but certainly about sports, music, and girls - typical teenage stuff. We kept in touch over the years even though we went to separate colleges and dental schools, and now refer patients to each other. Last year, I had the honor of being the best man at Garo's wedding!

You've said your mom is a dentist. How has she influenced you? 
Obviously my mother has had a large influence on my career. She was one of the first women to graduate the University of Buffalo's dental school, then opened a home office in Bayside, Queens, where she was able to balance running a successful dental practice while raising me and my sister. She introduced me to this wonderful profession and now with 35 years of experience, teaches me something new every week!

Is your dad a dentist too? 
No, my father was a marketing director for engineering firms. So, if you look at the big picture, I combined the professions of both my parents and now engineer teeth for a living!

What are the most common misconceptions by the public in the field of orthodontics today? 
One big misconception is that orthodontics is purely cosmetic, and can be postponed or overlooked if the front teeth look straight. Malpositioned teeth can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, restorative work, and jaw joint problems. Every child should see an orthodontist by age 10, no matter what the front teeth look like!
What should most Manhattanites know about orthodontics that most do not? 
Most Manhattanites probably automatically think of metal "braces" when they think of orthodontics, but with today's technology there are more cosmetic techniques available to create healthy smiles including Invisalign, which are clear removable trays, and Incognito, which are undetectable braces on the tongue side of teeth.
How do ethics affect orthodontics? 
Ethics play a part in any profession, probably more so in the medical fields because patients are trusting the doctor with their health. At our practice, we make each decision with the patient's best interests in mind. If you do that, there really aren't any ethical concerns to worry about.
What live music do you enjoy the most in Manhattan? 
I have a pretty broad spectrum of musical interests, but nothing beats a Phish show at Madison Square Garden, especially on New Years Eve!
What is your favorite sports team in Manhattan and what for you would be the ideal game to go to and where would you sit for it? 
This question is tricky, since I grew up on long island as a Mets fan, and the football Giants play in New Jersey. So, I guess I would like to sit on the center ice boards at a Ranger Stanley Cup finals game, and experience the magic of 1994!
What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence? 
I would say both of my parents, and the excellent doctors I've trained with along the way, both in Buffalo and Montefiore.
What are you proudest of and why? 
I'm very honored to be an attending instructor at Montefiore Hospital, teaching orthodontics to the resident doctors. I love teaching and its been a very rewarding experience.
What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do? 
I'd like to write more and lecture about my experiences.
What honors and awards have you received in your profession? 
In 2007, I was one of the first 8 orthodontists nationwide to be elected to the American Board of Orthodontics by presenting cases done entirely in residency, which made me one of the youngest fully board-certified orthodontists in the country.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? 
Ukrainian East Village
What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? 
Trader Joes
What is your favorite drink? 
Grey Goose and tonic
What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? 
Hill Country BBQ
What is your favorite Manhattan book? 
ABC NYC - Seeing New York
If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why? 
Nokia Theater - great little venue for bands.

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience? 
Biking around Central Park
What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? 
Have a great night out, and not have to drive anywhere!
What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? 
Kinofest - ukrainian film festival (2011 season starts March 16th)

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world? 
Our offices do several pro-bono cases a year for the needy and oral health presentations at schools.
What do you think is most underrated and overrated here? 
Underrated - New York really has the best of everything and is so efficiently run that sometimes we take that for granted - travel around and you'll see. Overrated - Ridiculously expensive lounges.

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it? 
I like the Art of Shopping columns because they do the shopping research for me!
What else should Whom You Know readers know about you? All consultations at our offices are complementary to all Whom You Know readers, so please call and schedule an appointment!

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? Email me at

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