Business Review: They take care of toothaches & headaches


Photos by Anthony Machcinski Dr. Richard Ekstein and spouse Fran and the rest of the staff at Smile Design Specialists in North Arlington.
Photos by Anthony Machcinski
Dr. Richard Ekstein and spouse Fran and the rest of the staff at Smile Design Specialists in North Arlington.


By Anthony J. Machcinski

Observer Correspondent

Dr. Richard Ekstein, a North Arlington dentist and co-owner at Smile Design Specialists, has begun a new venture so rare, that he says he’ll be the only practitioner in New Jersey doing it.

That venture is treating headache disorders through dental therapy. Dubbed the New Jersey Headache Relief Center, Ekstein claims it’s the first of its kind in New Jersey and says he’s one of 420 doctors across the country that offer it.

“We had been looking at it for a while,” said Fran Ekstein, Richard’s wife who helps him run his business. “It’s a very relaxing and calming type of therapy using micro-stimulation.”

Fran said the idea came from a patient who described her now-old migraine therapy method.

“One of our patients came in and mentioned she had migraines and we never knew it,” Fran said. “She went through 50-plus botox injections in her head and face and showed us this bag full of medicine. You can tell that she was still stressed out and that opened our eyes.”

Richard added, “We’re looking to expand and add to the New Jersey Headache Relief Center and give more customized care and more individual care.”

Both Eksteins said that the process is done in one-hour sessions over 12 weeks, leading to pain-free migraine relief.

Fran said the therapy requires no needles, medicine or surgery.

“We use ultrasound, muscle manipulation, cold laser and micro stimulation,” Fran said.

The pain-free treatment comes as a successful alternative for people seeking migraine relief.

“If you’re willing to resort to (botox injections and medication), this is a viable option,” Fran said. “We can diagnose and treat patients and we have the equipment that shows tangible results.”

“You don’t just say, ‘Yeah, I feel better.’ You can tell that you’re better.” Richard Ekstein, a dentist and board-certified prostodontist for 23 years, opened Smile Design Specialists in January 2012 and has successfully transitioned from being a part of a practice to running his own.

“It’s been a very smooth and successful transition,” Richard said. “It’s allowed me to focus on patient care at a personal and individual level. It’s allowed me to expand on things I wanted to get done.”

Richard said he is driven to be one of the best in his profession.

“I didn’t want to be average,” Richard said. “I wanted to be a master at my craft. I wanted to be the best of my field.”

Aside from his drive, Richard believes he has been successful because of the practice’s goal and vision.

“Our vision is to utilize the most advanced and latest techniques,” Richard said. “We educate patients about their dental needs, and allow them to actively participate in their dental well-being.”

The Eksteins and the team at Smile Design Specialists also look for opportunities to give back to the community, including a “Free Dentistry Day” for unemployed people.

“We put an offer out for any people that were unemployed to come in and receive the dental care they needed, as long as it could be done in a single visit,” Fran said. “We ended up expanding on it because if there was care that needed to be done in more than one day, we completed it.”

Richard said that the team at Smile Design Specialists jumped at the opportunity.

“The staff donated their time,” Richard said. “It was a very rewarding day. We were just happy to do it. We had everything that we needed and it was time to give back to the community.”

As for the future of the business, Richard said he hopes to continue embracing the new technology that’s out there, “so we can continue to give better patient care through individualized attention.”

Smile Design Specialists operates out of 312 Belleville Turnpike, Suite 3-B. Appointments can be made by calling 201-991-1228 or by calling 844-“Doctor-E.”

For additional information, visit the office’s website at

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