Our Blog

On the Verge of Technology Break Through

March 14th, 2016

We live in a virtual/digital world so I am not surprised when asked, “Dr. Kelley do you use digital scanning when making impressions?” My answer is usually, “not yet, but for a very good reason.” I then proceed to explain why.  Well my “why” is the very reason I blog today. And I am excited to share some new developments on this topic.

My team would love to be able to utilize a digital scanner instead of alginate impressions.  There actually are several digital scanners on the market today. We have always been committed to bringing the most innovative approaches and technology to our practice.  So why haven’t we introduced digital scanning? Unlike most orthodontic offices, our team specializes in the care of a diverse group of patients, patients ranging from birth to senior adults.  We gladly embrace and consider it a privilege to treat the most complex and challenging of orthodontic cases. Thus, Kelley Orthodontics is waiting to invest in a digital scanner that can meet the needs of all our patients (babies born with cleft lip/palate, traditional orthodontic patients, and patients wearing Incognito or behind the teeth brackets.) Unfortunately, as of today, accurate digital scanning is only available to traditional orthodontic patients. However, we believe we are on the verge of a technology break through and Kelley Orthodontics is at the forefront of this discovery! I could not be more excited about this development.

Currently, we take traditional impressions of our cleft babies at Cook Children’s Hospital in an operating room.  The cost incurred by these families is astronomical, not to mention the discomfort and emotional strain caused to both baby and parents. Thus, the ability to take a digital scan in our office would be a gigantic step in the right direction.  Because there is no scanner on the market able to accomplish this task, we are partnering with Sirona, an amazing company that has a reputable presence in medical and digital imaging, in hopes of making this happen.

A couple of weeks ago, our representatives from Henry Schein dental company brought the Sirona scanner to our office to try on one of our cleft patients.  We attempted to take the scan utilizing the current scanner and software.  We were extremely pleased that we were able to get a significant portion of the scan. However not all of the critical areas were accurately recorded.  Thus, we are requesting the software engineers at Sirona Germany to rewrite a portion of the software to allow us to retrieve the data we need from the scan.  Since we are the first orthodontic office in the country to attempt this, we are breaking new ground.  I believe the wait and effort is worth it.  Cleft lip and palate families around the globe will greatly benefit with this new technology along with the specialties of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Plastics, and Otolaryngology.

The potential ripple effects of this type of development are indescribable. Babies failing to thrive because they are unable to eat could be orally scanned and fit for an orthodontic feeding appliance days, instead of weeks, after they are born. These little ones, with lengthy roads of surgeries and therapies, could begin eating sooner, leave the hospital earlier and begin their long term treatment and healing process; all while deterring major medical costs and emotional and physical discomforts.

So how does this affect you, our general population, our mainstream and most encouraging orthodontic patient-group?  Once a scanner and software are developed that will meet the needs of our entire patient population, we will invest in it. We will be able to scan all patients here in our office!  Thank you for waiting this out with us.  Thank you for having hearts for those born with special differences. Thank you for sacrificing the good today in order to possess the best tomorrow. I have no doubt this will happen in the near future and we as an orthodontic community are all a part of making it happen.  That is exciting! Kelley Orthodontics will indeed throw a party when this day arrives.

I am very thankful for families like yours who are willing to partner with us.  I have included a couple photos from our first attempt of getting a scan of a baby born with a cleft lip/palate.  The success of this appointment will be the springboard to success for our office and offices around the world.  We are making history. You are making history. #inthistogether!

Stay tuned.  The best of orthodontics is in our future.

Choosing an Orthodontist MATTERS

February 5th, 2016

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?

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)


July 14th, 2015

The most frequent question I receive in our office is, “When will I get my braces off?” In second place and right behind is, “Dr. Kelley, is there any way to speed up the process?”.

My professional goal for every patient is to create an esthetically pleasing smile with the teeth fitting properly together. Unfortunately, there is no substitute for time to allow both of these things to happen simultaneously. This goal is most often accomplished with traditional or lingual braces in combination with rubber bands. The braces are utilized to place the teeth in the proper alignment. Rubber bands are responsible for fitting the teeth together in the correct position.

Predicting the finish of orthodontic treatment is dependent on the cooperation we have with each one of our patients. Patients who finish treatment early or at the beginning of the estimated treatment time have one main characteristic in common. They are MOTIVATED. Patients who are motivated to get their braces off will come to their appointments on time, maintain excellent oral hygiene, and comply with our instructions for rubber bands. Finishing time for braces is dependent on how well we partner as a team. I love, like really love, taking braces off earlier than expected when patients have trusted us and worked hard to achieve their goal.

The second question, “Is there anyway to speed up the process?” has two answers with a lengthy explanation. From an anatomy/physiology standpoint, orthodontists are currently unable to significantly speed up the process of moving teeth. The bone and gum tissue of the mouth can remodel only so fast.

From a treatment viewpoint, the orthodontic process can be sped up ONLY by performing less treatment. That’s right, less treatment. Less treatment means straightening fewer teeth while often neglecting the most important part of orthodontics, the fit of the teeth. Research and experience show the long term health and stability of a patient’s mouth is greatly affected by how the teeth fit together.

Here lies every American orthodontist’s modern day dilemma. We live in an immediate gratification world. We wait for little. There are companies that will market to this way of thinking. There are several “short-term orthodontic” companies that offer general dentists (not orthodontic specialists) weekend long courses in straightening teeth. I am asked about these products and their results regularly. They entice a large potential patient-base by promising shorter treatment time for less money.

There is nothing special or magical about the products used in short-term orthodontics. Dentists practicing this faster orthodontic plan use exactly the same brackets and wires as those used by orthodontists. BUT the biological rules of the mouth don't change. *The rate at which teeth move is limited by natural processes in the bone and ligaments around the teeth, and in the end, all doctors play by these same rules. So if the rate of tooth movement doesn’t change, how can they get the same orthodontic result in significantly less time?

The bottom line is, they CAN’T. The end result is different. As a board certified orthodontic specialist, *I am trained not only to align the front teeth known as the “social six", but also to correct crowding, protrusion, open bites, deep bites, cross bites, over bites, under bites, impacted teeth, extra teeth, missing teeth, etc. Straightening the six front teeth is generally achievable in the first six months of treatment no matter who provides the braces. It is the attention given to the previously listed bite issues that requires the extra time. The braces are on the teeth a shorter time with short-term orthodontics because the provider merely aligns the front teeth and then takes the braces off without addressing the positioning of the bite. In other words, the process isn’t faster. It is just shorter because it is intentionally terminated before thorough treatment is complete.

I always tell my patients that every smile and orthodontic case is different. There are some patients that can be treated in six months or less and the results are just fine. However, if you have any of the previously mentioned bite issues, simply aligning the front teeth in six months may leave you in a worsen condition than prior to treatment. One key to a great orthodontic experience is choosing a professional with the training and experience to recognize if a case really is “simple” and short-term orthodontics is the best option.

Orthodontists are dental specialists. They receive two to three years of additional training beyond dental school. There are many highly capable and talented orthodontists. We care about our patients, their smiles and their health. Most orthodontists won’t compromise a case to simply achieve a pretty smile. Braces aren’t forever. Isn’t an additional few months of treatment worth it to get your smile and bite right the first time?

In today’s world, there are so few things in which we have to wait. I am thankful that I am part of a profession that teaches patience and the importance of waiting. There are so many rewards to be gained in the process of being still, patiently enduring, and simply waiting.

Grateful to wait with you,
Dr. John Kelley

Visit the following link to find a board certified orthodontists in your area: https://www.americanboardortho.com/portal/public/

WHAT'S NEW @ Kelley Ortho in JULY

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."

See More Reviews

American Board of Orthodontics American Assoication of Orthodontists Invisalign Incognito