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Choosing an Orthodontist MATTERS

August 8th, 2017

(click image above to view a short video from Dr. Kelley)

Alison and I often get asked by friends living outside of Fort Worth, “How should I pick my orthodontist?” With as many dental specialties as there are and with insurance changing regularly, I am not at all surprised by this request. Please understand, I am not posting this blog in order to persuade anyone to choose me to meet their orthodontic needs, but to educate friends in their search.

First, make sure that every professional you consider is actually an orthodontist and not just a dentist that does braces. An orthodontist is a dentist who has not only completed a graduate program in dentistry to receive their DDS or DMD (Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine degree), but has also gone through a competitive residency at an accredited orthodontic program for an additional 2-3 years to be trained specifically in orthodontics. One way you can be sure that he or she is a specialist is to look him or her up on the 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 gone through hundreds of additional hours of preparation to demonstrate their 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. The American Board of Orthodontics website lists orthodontists who have taken this extra step and 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. Some general dentists also form personal relationships with specific orthodontists and may refer you to their “buddy” whether or not he or she does the best work. Oral surgeons and other specialists work with all of the orthodontists in the area. Thus they are able to see and compare their work. 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, you need to take the information you find there with a grain of salt. First, 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 up with the times. 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. 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? Remember that you are going to 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. Finding an orthodontist is not always easy, but it is definitely worth your time, your mental peace, and your smile to do some homework.

Just for the record, I am a board certified orthodontist. Most dentists are not orthodontists. And not every orthodontist is board certified. I feel extremely blessed to be part of this elite group of specialists practicing orthodontics today. I encourage you to always ask your doctor if they are specialists. After all, doesn’t your smile deserve the BEST?

The Joys of Summer

June 12th, 2017

Most of our students are free from school for a few short months. Our entire Kelley Orthodontic office loves summer and the change of pace. I love seeing patients coming to our office with a smile on their face, a tan from being away from the classroom, and stories of their adventures. Our adult patients seem more relaxed and less stressed.

My best memories of summer centered around days with friends and family without an agenda. The fun was focused on the people we were with more than the activity of the day. Oftentimes, we did not know the day of the week. Each summer day felt like a Saturday.

I was blessed to get to spend significant time each summer with my grandparents. I attribute my close relationship with my grandparents to the extended visits over the summer. I encourage all of my patients to take the time to invest in the relationships of family. You will learn so much about yourself and how your story was put together.

Summer is also the time in our lives when we try new experiences. Learning to swim, sports and academic camps, road trips, new sites, great books, overnight camps, and mission trips. Each of these opportunities provides incredible influence on our character development. Two of my favorite activities, water skiing and sailing, were initiated during my summers. I encourage you to try something new...pick up a new hobby, read a different style of genre, try a new recipe, make a new friend, go on an adventure. You are never too old to develope a new skill or passion.

I wish each of you a joyful summer, full of experiences which stretch you a little and provide loads of fun and relaxation. I look forward to hearing your stories at your next appointment.

Everyone has a Story - Read Caylin's

April 4th, 2017


The thing I love most about what I do is “reading and experiencing” so many true life biographies in the people I meet, those I am blessed to live life with while they are in treatment under my care.  Every one of my patients could be a blog post. Truly. If I dig deep enough and ask the right questions; If I listen to their words and read their nonverbal cues, I find everyone has a unique, sometimes difficult, and in the end beautiful story.

Caylin Moore has one of those stories, an inspirational story that makes you want to read it over and over. “Inspiritational”, because in the end, Caylin is an over-comer; he has been rescued and he has rescued others through his story. In the end there is great victory. But meet Caylin face to face and visit with him authentically, and you will learn that his inspirational story came with great price, great perseverance, great faith, and as Caylin proudly claims, divine intervention.

Caylin Moore is a TCU graduate and 2017 Rhode Scholar! He is one of the most humble, compassionate, driven, and inspiring young men I have ever met.  It is a privilege and honor to call Caylin my friend and patient. I look forward to seeing the continual impact he will have on this world and reading the “rest of his story” as he follows his dreams and pursues God’s bigger calling in his life.

Below is an article written by ESPN about Caylin Moore.  It is definently worth the read.

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/18358380/the-remarkable-story-tcu-rhodes-scholar-caylin-moore

Words Do Matter

April 26th, 2016

I have the great privilege of developing friendships with a great majority of our patients.  I have learned a tremendous amount about our world and the hearts of people.  One resounding lesson is the words we choose to express to others matter.  I was profoundly reminded of this lesson a few days ago.  A very special adult patient named Debra sent an e-mail to me about her experience as an orthodontic patient and the reason she chose to pursue orthodontics  with us as an adult.  With her permission, I will reprint her words.

“Dr. Kelley, for 40 plus years I was ashamed of my teeth.  In front of the entire class, I was told by my 8th grade music teacher that I should not smile.  It was many years ago, but I never forgot how it made me feel.  I can now at 60 years of age scratch braces off my bucket list. After my braces were removed, I was finally able to share with my husband why it was so important for me to see an orthodontist. Thanks to you and your staff I couldn’t be more proud of my brand new smile.”

I am thankful Debra was able to attain the smile she has longed for since 8th grade.   I am touched by her willingness to let our office know her story.  Her story is a great reminder to me to choose my words wisely each day with my wife, children, and patients.  Each of us can build others up or tear them down simply by the words we express to others.

I tell my kids all the time that our words have meaning. Most of the things we say will be forgotten. (Thank God!) But other things we say will forever be engrained in the minds and hearts to whom we speak. These words can either bring life or they can bring pain and suffering.  I want my words to always bring life, to bring transformation, to bring positive change and hope. One thing is for sure, our words have meaning.  They are either building up or tearing down. I encourage you to choose today who you will be... and then proclaim it through your words!

Live Thankfully

October 31st, 2015


People often ask me what is Live Thankfully? How did you come up with this nonprofit and what are your plans for it? Honestly, all I can say is, "I really don't know how we got here.  Alison and I had a dream, we prayed about it, and it exploded in a way that we could never have imagined."  I wanted to see the smiles of Kelley Orthodontics reach deep into the hearts of our Fort Worth community.  I wanted to give my patients something of substance to smile about.  We never set out to start a nonprofit. Trust me there are many times I feel overwhelmed by all it entails. Nonprofits take a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of emotional sweat and tears. But in the end, our hearts beat hard for the mission of Live Thankfully, the Lord re-energizes us, and we just keep going.

We love kids, we love our community, we love people (all people), and we love seeing a diversity of folks come together for a greater cause.

Live Thankfully: Extending our Smiles to the Hearts and Stomachs of our Community! LT is not another turkey handout nor another can food drive. We are about empowering the next generation to be life long givers of their communities.  It is our goal to tear down walls and build bridges of trust between families in need and those in our community who can help them. Live Thankfully is a life style, it is a way of living that brings dignity and pride to our families in need and establishes a lifestyle of service in our future leaders.

What started four years ago as 60 turkeys to give to families in need, has turned into a three week long service project.  This year, we will give approximately 600 turkey dinners and groceries away to families in need. These families are adopted and selected by school administrators of the 22 schools that are partnering with us. We also come alongside Welcome Back Tarrant County and Christ Chapel Bible Church and supply groceries to the families they purchase turkey dinners for.

In order for a school to have families adopted through Live Thankfully, they must participate in the entire LT process. We go into these schools and encourage, educate and commission these students to be life long givers of their community. We explain that through Live Thankfully, families receiving meals actually have the opportunity to work alongside and give back to their community. We give the schools all the tools they need to have a successful food drive and allow them the creativity to run it themselves. I am blown away by how well these students plan, trouble shoot, encourage their student body, and orchestrate the drives in their schools. The teachers and staff fully support it as well. One teacher commented just last week that the families who receive meals, tend to really give and get behind the can food drive.

Our LT schools also invite and encourage their students to attend LT's Party with a Purpose.  Some schools even bus their students in to serve.  After can goods are collected for three weeks, we throw a HUGE party where volunteers sort and bag all these groceries. Last year we filled over 2000 bags in less than 30 minutes! There is nothing more beautiful than seeing families chosen to receive a meal, working so hard alongside volunteers. Service and love are universal languages that need no translation. Dignity and pride are maintained when those in need have the opportunity to buy into what they are being given.

Our LT schools also commit to have school representation pass out the turkey dinners and groceries to their adopted families. Every one of our LT partnering schools will have teachers, counselors, or principals present to pass out meals. This strengthens the bond of trust between those who are in need and their school leaders. Our schools use the rest of the academic year to point these families in the direction they need to receive permanent help.

One thing I tell students when speaking to them is, "change happens when we invest in people." Live Thankfully is about relationships. Turkeys are simply the conduit into the schools. Educating, encouraging, commissioning, investing and following up with people takes a lot of time, money and emotional energy. But it is so worth it! Alison and I have fallen completely in love with our Fort Worth schools, public and private. We have been humbled by the outpour of support from our business and dental community.  These businesses have not only given of their finances but have volunteered their time and expertise to make LT happen.

Live Thankfully is not just a Kelley Orthodontic thing. It is much bigger than anything we could ever make happen. We utilize hundreds of volunteers and ask for financial donations and sponsorships. We NEED volunteers and financial gifts. We invite you to join us.

Live Thankfully is changing our community one student, one family, one school at a time! Won't you consider LIVING THANKFULLY with us?

(to volunteer, make a financial donation, buy a t-shirt & to learn more visit livethankfully.org)

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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