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Choosing YOUR Orthodontist

June 13th, 2019

I am often asked by friends living outside Fort Worth, “How should I choose my orthodontist?” With as many dental specialties as there are and with insurance constantly changing, I am not surprised by this frequent request. The search can be overwhelming.

First, make sure the person that you are considering is actually an orthodontist and not simply a primary care dentist that does braces. Orthodontics is not just about beautiful smiles. It is a complex science that involves moving bone, bite alignment and longevity of function. Orthodontists are dentists who have completed a 4-year graduate program in dentistry to receive their DDS or DMD. They choose to continue their education for an additional 2-3 years by enrolling in a competitive residency at an accredited program specializing in orthodontics. To determine if the professional that you are considering for treatment is a specialist, look him or her up on the American Association of Orthodontists website. This site lists only specialists who have graduated from an accredited orthodontic program and belong to the AAO.

A board-certified orthodontist is an orthodontist who has voluntarily taken their specialty a step further. They have endured hundreds of additional hours of preparation to demonstrate the judgment, skills, and knowledge required for providing the highest level of patient care. They have achieved board certification through the American Board of Orthodontics, the only orthodontic specialty board recognized by the American Dental Association and in affiliation with the American Association of Orthodontists. Achieving board certification is the last step in a long and intensive educational experience to ultimately provide excellent patient care. To determine if the orthodontist that you are considering for treatment is board certified, look him or her up on the American Board of Orthodontics website. This site lists only orthodontists who have taken this extra step to become board certified.

The next place I would seek a referral would be from other SPECIALISTS in the area, especially oral surgeons. Although there are a lot of primary care dentists who might be helpful in your search, many of them are attempting orthodontics themselves. Oral surgeons and other specialists work with ALL orthodontists in their area. Thus, they are able to see and compare results and form an objective opinion. A primary care dentist may only work with a couple of orthodontists, but an oral surgeon typically works with dozens.

Another good source of information today is the internet. However, take the information you find there with a grain of salt. Practice websites and social media sites do not always accurately portray the quality of work the orthodontist provides. A bad orthodontist might have found an excellent website designer. On the other hand, an excellent orthodontist just might not be as technically savvy in today’s internet world. You should search for reviews on the orthodontists you are considering, but again realize that not all reviews are accurate. Happy patients usually don’t go out of their way to write reviews, but unhappy ones can’t wait to get their fingers to a computer. Some doctors invest in systems to aid in acquiring positive reviews, while others let reviews happen organically. No doctor can make every patient happy all the time. (I would actually warn you to stay away from those who contort themselves trying.) One or two poor reviews should not scare you off, assuming they are accompanied by several positive ones.

Last but not least, pay a personal visit to the office you are considering. What is your initial impression as you park, approach the building, and are greeted at the front desk? Is the office up to date and clean? Is the staff helpful and in a good mood? Keep in mind that you will be visiting this office about once a month until your treatment is complete. Upon visiting, ask yourself if the office feels like home and if the staff feels like an extension of your family.

I am a board-certified orthodontist. I feel extremely blessed to be part of this elite group of specialists practicing orthodontics today. And though I am confident that I am an excellent orthodontist, I am also confident that I am not necessarily the best choice for everyone based on individual personality and needs. There are MANY great orthodontists in your area. There certainly are in Fort Worth!

Find the orthodontist that is best for YOU. Talk to your friends, search the internet, visit offices, interview oral surgeons, and always ask your potential doctor if they are a specialist. Finding YOUR orthodontist is not always easy, but it is definitely worth your time, your mental peace, and your SMILE to do your homework. Afterall, doesn’t your smile deserve the BEST?

FINISH STRONG

May 8th, 2019

May brings back a host of memories of completing the school semester and taking finals. As I drive through the TCU campus, I almost shudder recalling the years of taking finals and the stress accompanying them. As I watch my own daughter, a graduating high school senior, prepare for her final exams, the stress she is under permeates our home. (not at all fun for our family of six)

My encouragement to all of our patients who are pursuing education is to Finish Strong. You will survive finals and make it to the summer. The question remaining is, "Will you provide your best effort?” There are a host of reasons to Finish Strong: achieving the grade you desire, genuine interest in the subject matter, the hope of making your teacher proud, and fulfilling the expectations your parents have requested. Most of the meaningful accomplishments in my life came through hard work and determination. I was a good student, but not a great one. I was one of those guys who had to work HARD. (How I envied some of my buddies who seemed to never crack books and still fly by with A’s and B’s.) Though honestly, I do not know anyone who made it through their school years without a few bumps along the way. I can almost guarantee you will experience disappointment. I know I did. Thus, please do not let a professor, teacher, instructor, or grade define you.

I had one of my favorite professors in college tell me, "The only reason you are pursuing dentistry is because you want to be a doctor." I was devastated. I thought he knew me better and the goals I had in my life. At that point, I had a choice. Would his opinion "define me," or would I allow this to simply be a "defining moment". I chose the latter. This became a moment in which I determined to prove his words a lie. I searched my heart and validated my reasons behind my career choice, and I worked harder to become who I knew God had called me to be. This bump became a defining moment for me in a very positive way.

Thank goodness I chose to pursue my heart’s calling and not let one person or his opinion of me take me out. As your orthodontist, I desire to provide you with the best smile imaginable and encourage you to pursue your dreams. I know you can Finish Strong with hard work and a little sacrifice. For me, the sacrifices I made are worth it everyday. I have the privilege of being your orthodontist, getting to know your heart, and seeing you achieve your goals. Choose for those bumps in life (those crummy grades, those not so understanding teachers, those circumstantial friends, and those personal mistakes along the way) to simply become teachable moments. Remember, they do not define you. You are bigger and your dreams are reachable. Finish Strong, friends! Finish strong, seniors. The best truly is yet to come!

(PS. - Graduating seniors, make sure you send us an announcement or stop by our office this month. We have a special gift for YOU!)

Missing Permanent Teeth?

June 20th, 2018

 

One of the questions I often answer during new patient appointments is, “Do you see many patients with missing permanent teeth?” The answer is, “Yes, I do.”

Approximately sixteen percent of the population is congenitally missing a permanent tooth, meaning the tooth never forms. This figure does not take into consideration third molars or patients who have lost a tooth during their life.

Another common question I receive is, “Why do you see so many patients with missing teeth when it is a relatively small group in our population?” Because, orthodontics provides the best treatment plans to help patients solve this problem. Solving this problem orthodontically tends to be less invasive and less financially costly to the patient.

The three main orthodontic treatment plans I recommend for correcting the tooth missing issue: are: 1. preserve the primary (baby) tooth; 2. replace the missing tooth; or 3. orthodontically close the space where the permanent tooth is missing. The condition of the teeth, the fit of the teeth (occlusion), and the amount of crowding/spacing in the mouth are all factors that influence which treatment plan is ideal for a patient.

Preserving the baby tooth is my preferred plan of treatment as long as the fit of the teeth is good and there is not significant crowding. If the primary tooth fuses with the bone (ankylosis) at any stage, the primary tooth will need to be removed and a restorative treatment plan put into action. Replacing the missing tooth is usually accomplished with an implant and a crown.

An implant is a permanent structure placed into the bone, usually by an oral surgeon or periodontist. The implant will remain in the bone for the rest of the patient’s life. The crown on top of the implant is placed by the primary care dentist and usually needs to be replaced every ten to fifteen years.

If the patient has crowding, the primary tooth can be removed and the teeth can be orthodontically moved to close the space and fit the teeth together properly.

If you or your child is missing permanent teeth, please visit an orthodontist to learn more about your treatment options. An orthodontist will work with your primary care dentist to develop the best treatment plan for you, while orthodontically moving your teeth to give you the smile you have always wanted and a bite that is properly aligned. Every smile deserves the best treatment options and, when needed,  a board certified orthodontist.

On The Verge Of A Technology Breakthrough Part 2

October 20th, 2017

Last April, I blogged about our desire to provide digital impressions in our office for ALL of our patients. Digital imaging has been around for years in the orthodonic world. Our delay in providing these impressions in our office was our hopeful anticipation of a scanner and program that would also allow us to retrieve pictures of the soft palate of infants. We worked with one of the major digital companies, Sirona, to try and achieve this goal. We were waiting for a software update to their current scanner. Often, we wait and good things come to fruition. However, In this situation, the waiting did not produce the results we needed.
Thus, I moved on to find another company who could assist us. 3M is a major manufacturing company in the United States and around the world, famous for their sticky notes and thousands of other products we use on a daily basis. They happen to own a dental and orthodontic company. They have developed a Dental True Definition Scanner. Erin from 3M and Christian from New England Orthodontic Lab enabled us to achieve something BRAND NEW.  And I am proud to say, "Kelley Orthodontics is the first orthodontic practice in the United States to deliver a dental obturator for a patient born with a cleft lip and palate using 3M’s Digital Scanner!"  This is a dream come true and something I have prayed for and waited nearly 2 decades to see invented.
We took a digital scan of the roof of the mouth of a 3 week old baby boy and fabricated his appliance utilizing digital technology and a 3-D printed model. For the past eighteen years, I have taken the impression of all of our cleft babies at Cook Children’s Hospital due to potential risks involved using alginate materials with infants. The process has been challenging and heart wrenching  on the patients and their parents. Because of this breakthrough, we will now be able to skip this step and take a digital scan of the babies’ palate during their new patient appointment right here in OUR OFFICE. This will spare our youngest patients much discomfort and tears. The obturator (or appliance) will be delivered in a more timely manner, allowing our babies to begin feeding more effectively and thus thriving. This process will save the parents an additional set of costly hospital charges. AND the best part about the obturator made from the digital impression is that it actually fits BETTER than the appliance created by the alginate impressionl. (I am so excited, I can't stand it!)
The picture above is of Matthew on the appliance delivery day. I am holding the 3-D model we used to make the obturator in my left hand. I can't begin to express how long I have waited for this day.  We have taken many failed digital scans so the object in my possession is like an invaluable trophy in the hands of the underdog. I am so humbled and grateful for this monumental success.
So...how does this affect the rest of our orthodontic family? (Thank you for asking.) We will be soon be purchasing the digital scanner and begin taking digital impressions for fabricating retainers and orthodontic models. We will be sharing this incredible news with craniofacial teams around our nation and thus impacting the lives of those born with cleft lips and palates in the most positive way. I am confident you will be thankful to say good-bye to alginate impressions for several of our regular procedures. We are extremely excited to bring new technology into our office and help make your orthodontic experience even better. Thank you for your patience and for supporting the babes of our Kelley Orthodontic family through this journey. We could not have done it without YOU! #inthistogether

(Learn more about our heart for these special ones and what Kelley Orthodontics is doing through its mission: Created -4- Compassion.)

Dr. John Kelley

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Few of Our Smiles


What our Patients are Saying


"John Kelley has partnered with us in transforming the H.O.P.E. Farm Boys into men. Kelley Orthodontics has the ability to help our boys develop confidence in their appearances and more importantly their characters. The Kelley Orthodontics team has been an irreplaceable instrument in the success of our program. John Kelley and the Crew… you are the best! "

"Professionalism and efficiency usually don't mix well with warm hospitality, but somehow at Dr. Kelley's office you find it blended comfortably together at every visit. Dr. Kelley not only takes his work seriously but also his relationship with you, the patient. You will not find a more friendly, helpful staff anywhere. "

"When I first found out I was getting braces, I got kind of worried, but Dr. Kelley explained everything to me step by step and made sure I knew how to treat minor pokes or pains in my teeth. They also provided me with toothbrushes and floss just for braces and taught me how to use them. The staff is really friendly and they're really good at accommodating me to where I don't miss anything big at school. Kelley Orthodontist has done a great job helping me with my braces! "

"I personally like it when I go to the orthodontist. When all the other kids at school say, 'I have to go to the orthodontist today,' the usual responses are, 'Hope you come back alive!' or 'That stinks!' But my response is, 'Who do you have?' The reason all the kids hate orthodontics is because they don't have Dr.Kelley! The staff is amazing, they don't put pointy things into your mouth, and they make the appointments quick and fast. Thank you Dr. Kelley for making a place that makes my mouth good as new!"

"We have been so grateful for Dr. Kelley's orthodontic care of our children. His kindness in dealing with our family, thorough medical expertise, and friendly office staff have made this office feel like a second family. Three of our children have been through orthodontics with Dr. Kelley, and not only are their smiles fabulous, but they even enjoy going to the office for visits. We have full confidence in Dr. Kelley's treatment of our children's individual orthodontic needs, and for one of our children in particular have seen significant progress that will likely keep him from surgery down the road. Because orthodontics requires frequent visits and check ups, we are all the more thankful for such a fantastic orthodontist and office staff to spend time with."

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