Dr. David Kemp

140905 DavidKemp FeatureKemp Orthodontics —creating beautiful smiles

What can you tell us about your background?
I grew up in a small town in Tennessee. After my parents divorced, we moved to an even smaller and more rural town in Tennessee where we lived for a couple of years with my grandparents. I attended a small, church-related college, Martin Methodist College, in Pulaski, Tennessee, where I met my wife, Rhonda.

The summer before I started dental school, I worked for the Job Service Corp of Tennessee. This job was an excellent experience for me. My role was to connect rural farmers who needed labor with local workers to help them harvest their crops. I traveled all over Jackson County, Tennessee, to find willing laborers to work for these farmers. This process gave me a realistic look at many of life’s situations, and I am very thankful for this experience.

I graduated college from the University of Tennessee at Martin, Tennessee, in 1980. I graduated dental school from the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences in Memphis in 1984. I then attended the University of Tennessee Orthodontic residency program and graduated in 1986.

I opened my two orthodontic offices in Franklin and Brentwood, Tennessee, in July 1986. Rhonda and I have one son, Giorgio, who is in training at Vanderbilt to be a master yoga instructor. We live in a 200-year-old farmhouse on a 120-acre farm, growing hay and trees in Williamson County, Tennessee.

When did you become a specialist and why?
I became an orthodontic specialist in 1986 after graduating from the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences at Memphis orthodontic residency program. I became a specialist because of a compassionate act to my family, which I will discuss in a later question. 140905 DavidKemp 01

Is your practice limited solely to orthodontics, or do you practice other types of dentistry?
When I opened my practice in 1986, I limited my practice solely to orthodontics. We are in the job of creating beautiful smiles through esthetic orthodontic treatment.

Why did you decide to focus on orthodontics?
Ironically, I am an orthodontist because of a compassionate action by another orthodontist. When I was in the seventh grade, I was able to get braces only because an orthodontist saw there was a financial need in our family and helped us. I am indebted to this orthodontist to this day for seeing a family in need and putting forth the effort to help our family. This act of kindness impressed me so much that my path was set — go to college, get in to dental school, and become an orthodontist. I am delighted to have the greatest job in the world. My job is much more than braces and creating beautiful smiles.  It is all about relationships and how you develop those relationships through changing people’s lives.

140905 DavidKemp 02Do your patients come through referrals?
Our new patients come primarily from three top sources:
49% are patient referrals. Our goal is to make Raving Fans of our patients through creating “Memorable Moments.” This process has helped our office dramatically increase our patient referrals.

28% are Internet referrals. This source is definitely on the rise. A growing percentage of patients use the Internet to find their practitioners. We, as orthodontists, must strive to understand this medium in the future. These patients literally have interviewed you online before they even come into your office. These patients are ready to start treatment with you because they know who you are and what your reputation is.

23% are dental referrals. We are so thankful for the excellent dental clinicians with whom we work to provide excellent care for their patients. I love our dental sources who understand and support what we are trying to do at Kemp Orthodontics.

How long have you been practicing orthodontics, and what systems do you use?
I opened my Franklin and Brentwood orthodontic practices in July 1986 and have been practicing as an orthodontist for 28 years. While in dental school, I had orthognathic surgery performed by the orthodontic and oral surgery residents. The orthodontic residency program placed bands on every tooth for this phase of treatment. This was now the second time I had orthodontics with full bands. My mind was set that I would strive to find an esthetic appliance system for my patients. This mindset would spill over into my next 28 years of practicing orthodontics. I have always chosen esthetic appliances for my patients.

After the Great Recession of 2007, I continued to push toward the esthetic side of orthodontics for a number of reasons.  In 2010, while many orthodontists were seeing their practices decline, I found my second youth. I made a decision to use 100% ceramic upper and lower Ultra Esthetic System appliances. After much research to find the ultimate esthetic bracket system, my quest led me to 3M’s Clarity™ ADVANCED brackets as the best esthetic bracket available. I have incorporated esthetic wires and auxiliaries that make our system of treating our patients exceptional. We are giving the market what it wants by embracing the esthetic mega trend. In 2012, $11 billion was spent on cosmetic procedures in the United States. 140905 DavidKemp 03

As orthodontists, we must recognize the competitive market we are in. I want to continue to be the Esthetic Orthodontist in my region through what I call “esthetic differentiation.” As orthodontists, we are missing the esthetic mega trend considering 95% of brackets sold in the United States were metal in 2013. I especially am fond of using the esthetically efficient Forsus™ Class II Corrector – it’s an appliance that is easy to use, predictable, and is comfortable for the patient.

What training have you undertaken?
I have always felt that continuing education is vital to learning better ways of doing your job. I strive to attend 100% more continuing education than required by the regulating board. It is vital to the success of your organization to empower your team through these educational courses as well. I have always enjoyed teaching and am very excited about being a 3M Unitek advocate. My lecture schedule involves traveling throughout the world and doing my in-office courses on:

  • The New Game – Connecting the Dots
  • Keys to A Healthy Practice
  • Building Your Practice  On
  • Marketing – Consultations – Efficiency

I always enjoy learning new things and am always amazed at how much I learn when I am able to get to know these incredible orthodontists through teaching. I am very fortunate to have this opportunity.140905 DavidKemp 04

Who has inspired you?
Rhonda Kemp. My wife has inspired me and has helped give me the opportunity to become who I am — she  is my greatest fan. Rhonda’s production management company works overtime to give me full access to my patients, colleagues, and community. She makes me look good.

Winston Churchill.  Winston Churchill was so much more than just a brilliant statesman who led England and the Allies to victory in World War II. Churchill was a man of words and a man of his word.

Robert Draper. My grandfather was a man of his word as well. When my parents divorced, my grandparents took us into their tiny home, and my grandfather took on the role of raising me. He only had a sixth-grade education; however, he was a man of integrity, ethics, morals, and uncommon wisdom. I am forever grateful to him for instilling these values into my life.

My team. I am inspired by my team through their dedication to do their job right consistently on the first time. They continue to challenge me to be better at what I do.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your practice?
The most satisfying aspect of my practice by far happens on Thursday mornings when we throw a party with our patients to celebrate and unveil 15 to 20 beautiful smiles as we remove their braces. I most appreciate the time I spend with parents and patients going back in time to see where they started and what value we have created in their lives through orthodontics — many times there are happy tears. We always take photos together and post them on our website and Facebook page. This time is always special and at that moment, without exception, I rediscover how blessed I am to be doing what I do.140905 DavidKemp 06

Professionally, what are you most proud of?
There are endless milestones I am proud of throughout my career, but there is one story, however, I am most proud of. Tiffany was a sophomore in college, and because of the appearance of her teeth, she made a decision to go to a local dentist with money in hand to have all her teeth removed for denture placement. I am thankful her dentist recognized the situation Tiffany was in financially and reached out to our Philanthropic Seattle Study Club for help. I was able to treat Tiffany in 16 months in preparation for upper veneer restorative treatment. I was very honored to be able to help change a young lady’s life.

Editors note: To read all of Tiffany’s story, please see the “Banding Together” column in the November/December 2014 issue of Orthodontic Practice US.140905 DavidKemp 07

What do you think is unique about your practice?
Our practice has always strived to be unique in a positive way. First of all, in order to appeal to the market, you have to understand the market. Our office has conducted patient surveys over the past 10 years. Our results provided us tremendous insight from our patients on how we can be unique in their minds. Our office survey found four top areas that our patients highly desire. The four areas are:

  1. They highly desire esthetics. We incorporated into our brand in 2010 our goal to become the Esthetic Orthodontic Practice in our region. We have developed a very unique ultra esthetic bracket system. 3M Unitek Clarity Advanced bracket is at the core of our esthetic system. We also are stepping outside the box to help celebrities and others who have difficult scheduling requirements and often do not have the time to commit to traditional orthodontic treatment. We are doing what I call Hybrid Orthodontic Treatment in those cases and are able to give the market what it wants.
  2. They want fast treatment. We are using many efficient techniques to make this happen from what has been a “normal” treatment time. You must get the braces on accurately if you want to have any chance to have speedy treatment. Indirect bonding gives us this accuracy. We use progressive tandem wire sequencing to be able to deliver low forces continuously. This produces quicker unraveling and leveling so we can get to rectangular wires faster. We also use 3M Unitek Forsus Class II correctors so we can be predictable and promote faster Class II correction. We also are using Variable Prescription Orthodontics (VPO). This treatment technique is giving us an opportunity from the beginning of treatment to move teeth the right way faster.
  3. They want great results. All the marketing in the world will not take the place of poor results. Orthodontics is an art and a science. We have to use our artistic abilities to create beautiful smiles.  
  4. They want to be wowed. We wow our patients through memorable moments we provide. Our office has become very unique by understanding what the market wants and in turn giving the market what it wants.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Time management. I sometimes overestimate what I can get done in a 24-hour period of time. That’s why I recognize I am blessed to have a fantastic team that keeps me on schedule.

What would you have become if you had not become a dentist?
There was never, nor will there ever be, another option for me other than being an orthodontist.140905 DavidKemp 08

What is the future of orthodontics and dentistry?
The future of orthodontics and dentistry has been changing rapidly since the Great Recession of 2007. The business and the science have changed our game, and we all have to learn how to play this new game. I think the future of orthodontics and dentistry is extremely bright as long as we follow the advice of Jack Nicklaus: “Achievement is largely the product of steadily raising one’s levels of aspiration and expectations.”

What are your top tips for maintaining a successful specialty practice?
My top tip is to keep a hunger for knowledge, knowledge of clinical advances, technological improvements, time management skills, and leadership skills. For me, it was recognizing that to be leader, manager, and clinician of my practice is not at 33% each, but at 100% each and completely in balance.

Then I have to lead my team through training and empower them to raise their standards with me. I continually strive to improve my systems to better my team and community. I have to provide a nurturing, positive environment to my team. My goal is to build an exceptional reputation in my community. My final tip is to enjoy quality of life. My goal is to achieve success, happiness, and balance.

What advice would you give to budding orthodontists?
My advice would be first to determine and specify the goals you desire for yourself personally and professionally. Look at systems you have in place in both of these areas, and determine areas you need to make changes that are not achieving your goals.

To be able to produce a healthy practice, the three areas you have to look at perfecting on a professional level are marketing, consultations, and efficiency. One of the most important decisions you may ever make is to understand the market and then give the market what it wants.  I would highly suggest you consider becoming the Esthetic Orthodontist in your community through esthetic differentiation. Be sure to read and apply the message in The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann: “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”
I would love for you to come see my practice at a future in-office course. Please email me at david@kemportho.com, or call my office at 615-790-7027. Be sure to check out our patient testimonial videos on our website: www.kemportho.com

140905 DavidKemp 09What are your hobbies, and what do you do in your spare time?
I am an avid golfer, and I love to play at new courses with incredible views — especially the golf courses in Mexico. My wife and I enjoy traveling to Whistler, Canada, to ski and snowboard. Rhonda and I love to travel and admire the nature in new destinations. One of our most favorite things to do is to stop and smell the roses while watching beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

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