W. Keith Harvey, DMD, and B. Carter Thomas, DMD

Drs. W. Keith Harvey and B. Carter Thomas value their patient relationships, mix of technologies, and amazing team.

Drs. Keith Harvey and B. Carter Thomas

Doing the right thing for the right reasons

Drs. W. Keith Harvey and B. Carter Thomas operate three orthodontic practices in Mobile, Alabama. All locations have six clinic chairs with two treatment consultation rooms and a records area. They have a staff of 23 with approximately 11 administrative and 12 clinical assistants. This practice is more than 50 years old. Dr. Harvey joined Dr. Fred Cushing in 1986 and worked together for 10 years before Dr. Cushing retired. Dr. Harvey worked by himself for 20 years, and then Dr. Thomas joined him in 2015.

What can you tell us about your background?

WKH: I was born in Mobile, Alabama, as an only child in a blue-collar family. My mom was a registered nurse, and my father was a mechanic.

BCT: I was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, as the youngest of three boys. My father is a pediatric dentist, and my mother was one of the sweetest and toughest ladies I’ve known. I had loving parents who taught me the value of family and hard work.

When did you become a specialist, and why?

WKH: I became a specialist in 1986. I loved the problem-solving nature of orthodontics and its life-changing effect on patients.

BCT: I became a specialist in pediatric dentistry in 2013 and orthodontics in 2015. In dental school, I enjoyed treating younger patients and became very interested in growth and development, changing faces, occlusion, beauty, and facial esthetics. Orthodontics is fun and attractive from a problem-solving and mechanical standpoint.

Harvey & Thomas Orthodontics Snow Road office clinic area

Why did you decide to focus on orthodontics?

WKH: I am analytical and a problem solver. I also love the fact that you can establish long-term relationships with patients and families.

BCT: I enjoy the analytical aspect of orthodontics. Every patient is a new puzzle to solve. Orthodontics can have such a positive impact on people’s lives. I love the relationships I get to form with patients and their families.

Do your patients come through referrals?

WKH and BCT: Most of our new patients come through word-of-mouth referrals from their pediatric or general dentist, or from existing or former patients. Some find us through online searches.

Harvey & Thomas Orthodontics Snow Road office exterior

Professionally, what are you most proud of?

WKH: I am most proud of having the opportunity to teach at the orthodontic graduate level at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

BCT: The lifelong relationships with my team and our patients in the community.

How long have you been practicing orthodontics, and what systems do you use?

WKH: I have been practicing for 34-plus years. We use the Damon™ System in clear and metal as well as various clear aligner systems.

BCT: I’ve been practicing for 5½ years. We use the Damon System, Invisalign, and Spark aligners.

What training have you undertaken?

WKH: I am a graduate of the Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Dentistry Orthodontic Specialty Program and have taken years of continuing education courses.

BCT: I am a graduate of the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Orthodontic Specialty Program. When it comes to continuing education, I most frequently attend the Damon Forum and the Southern Association of Orthodontics conference. I have really enjoyed furthering my clear aligner education with a series of different courses put on by Dr. Regina Blevins and Dr. Barry Glaser. I love Dr. Stuart Frost’s stuff and whatever course he is lecturing. My partner, Dr. Harvey, was a Damon mentor for several years, and working with him gave me hands-on training within our practice. I am in a number of online orthodontic groups — I love those!

Drs. Harvey and Thomas with their staff of administrative and clinical assistants

What is the most satisfying aspect of your practice?

WKH: The relationships we form are the most satisfying.

BCT: The relationships I have with my team and with my patients.

Who has inspired you?

WKH: Dr. Jim Bordelon, Dr. Dwight Damon, and Dr. J.M. Chadha

BCT: Professionally — Dr. W. Keith Harvey (partner), plus Drs. Todd Bovenizer, Stuart Frost, Giorgios Kanavakis, Moon Young Lee, Carl Carlamari, and Charlie Ruff.

Personally — my wife, my late mother, my father, and Jesus Christ.

Dr. Harvey with his family

What do you think is unique about your practice?

WKH: The way we value our patients and our amazing staff!

BCT: I think our focus on clinical excellence as well as the atmosphere you feel when walking in our office is refreshing and fun, which is kind of unique in healthcare.

What has been your biggest challenge?

WKH: Treating children with a cleft lip or palate. (Editor’s note: Dr. Harvey is an active member of the Cleft Palate Team in South Alabama, where he and Dr. Thomas serve as their only orthodontists.)

BCT: Building an amazing team. Like most businesses, managing people. While that is one of our greatest challenges, I think it is one of our greatest successes. Our team is incredible!

Dr. Thomas with his family

What would you have been if you did not become a dentist?

WKH: I would have been a fighter pilot or a musician.

BCT: I may have started a business right after high school … maybe HVAC … it’s mechanical, helps folks, and it’s hot down here!

Dr. Thomas and his wife, Amelia, boating

What is the future of orthodontics and dentistry?

WKH: The future of orthodontics is bright. We live in a very self-aware world where there is a lot of emphasis on self-improvement.

BCT: The future for orthodontics and dentistry is bright. We have an obligation to maintain the highest quality of treatment by serving patients in person — being the beacon of excellence as specialists. The technological advances with braces and clear aligners is amazing, and it’s allowing us to provide treatments never before possible in orthodontics. It’s a fun time!

Dr. Harvey and his wife, Ashley, traveling abroad

What are your top tips for maintaining a successful specialty practice?

WKH: Stay up-to-date, provide out-standing customer service, and hire great people.

BCT: Serve your patients with the highest level of care and customer service. Produce beautiful smiles. Take care of your team.

What advice would you give to a budding orthodontist?

WKH: Always do the right thing for the right reason.

BCT: Finding a mentor outside of your local bubble to be able to bounce ideas around is very important. Become part of some orthodontic group, whether it be online, like Facebook, or in person. Sharing and asking questions are what helps us learn constantly. Invest in yourself and have fun at work!

Drs. Harvey and Thomas’ top favorites • Cloud 9 Software • Damon™ System (Damon Q2 and Ultima Braces) • Invisalign® • Spark™ clear aligners • uLab aligners • iTero Element® 3 scanner • EnvisionTEC 3D printer • i-CAT™ FLX 3D • Vatech 2D imaging • Spectralase Soft Tissue Laser • Reliance Orthodontics Bonding and Ortho-FlexTech • Gaidge Impact360What are your hobbies, and what do you do in your spare time?

WKH: I spend my spare time hunting, fishing, and playing guitar. My wife, Ashley, and I love to just hang out with our family.

BCT: I have three kids under 5, so most of my time outside of a busy practice is spent with them and my beautiful wife. I love spending time with my babies, boating, and deer hunting. I love gathering at the beach/bay with family and friends.

From analog to digital — a mix of technologies keeps Dr. Regina Blevins’ patient’s orthodontic progress on track. Read her article here: https://orthopracticeus.com/from-analog-to-digital-keeping-treatment-on-track-during-the-covid-19-crisis/.

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