When people think of orthodontic treatment, they often think of teenagers. We are blessed in our office to take care of patients from birth all the way through the grandparent stage of life. Our youngest patients in our office are usually about four weeks of age. These patients are born with a cleft lip/palate and often other craniofacial challenges. We have the unique opportunity to make an appliance for these patients to assist them with feeding. Babies with cleft lip/palate often have unique feeding challenges and thus difficulty gaining weight. Our goal is for each of these babies to get to their appropriate weight as quickly as possible. This allows them to have their lip surgically repaired at around three months of age followed by the palate surgery approximately six months later. Their journey in orthodontics usually continues with a bone graft surgery around age nine or ten followed by extensive orthodontic treatment during the teenage years.
I am often asked why I choose to take care of patients that most orthodontic offices do not, and why I choose to invest my time and emotions. I believe one word describes my heart’s desire for all of my patients. Relationship. There is nothing more important to me than my relationships. Unfortunately, especially in our early years, our physical appearances affect how we make relationships. How we perceive ourselves, especially our smiles, affects how we keep relationships. I deeply desire for my patients to have long-lasting, authentic relationships their entire lives. People just matter. Our cleft and craniofacial families allow us the unique opportunity to be a part of their child’s life and their family from birth through adulthood. This is a sweet gift that is rare to most orthodontists. They are heroes in my book! The opportunity to witness the transformation of each patient’s smile and life is priceless.
Won't You Join Our Residency Program? We are thrilled to announce that we have started a "cleft lip and palate residency team" at several FWISD schools. Our office and local schools have collected stuffed animals for our Kelley Orthodontic and Cook Children cleft lip & palate patients. We have had the honor and privilege of speaking to students about these facial differences and the extensive process these young patients undergo in hopes of receiving the smile they have always wanted. The students meticulously sew bilateral or unilateral incisions on their stuffed animal. (No doubt we have some future surgeons!) The Kelley Orthodontic Team has been blown away by the compassion that so many students have for those who are special, yet different. There truly is not enough time nor space to express how grateful I am to do what I do for a living. (Let me know if you want to join our team!) Dr. Kelley