Dr. Joseph Thompson has been shaping smiles for over 28 years.
After running a thriving practice in Huntington for over 25 years, Dr. Thompson opened his current office at Teays Valley 3 years ago. “Most orthodontists operate two offices. I live in Milton, so the Teays Valley office is actually closer to my home than Huntington. I chose this location because a colleague of mine, Dr. Craig Miller, developed a health issue that resulted in him having to retire from his successful orthodontic practice. I wanted to continue his commitment to the area. Having started working in Teays Valley in 2014, the office has some overlap with Huntington, but just like the other businesses, it’s easier and more convenient to serve the community from two locations.”
Some of Dr. Thompson’s staff have been with him since he started his first practice in Huntington in 1988. “We have a very professional, knowledgeable, and friendly staff. We are a very efficient office that is dedicated to making treatment fun.”
Dr. Thompson is certain that practicing in the Teays Valley area is a positive decision. “Teays Valley is one of the fastest growing areas of West Virginia. Neighborhoods are flourishing in this great suburb of Huntington and Charleston. Business is good and will just keep getting better.”
Dr. Thompson knew from an early age that he would make dentistry his occupation. “I love my job. I really do,” Thompson said. “I’ve enjoyed my job from day one. In fact, I was doing reports back in middle school and everyone knew I wanted to be a dentist. When I went to my first high school reunion, people asked, ‘Well, did you do it?’ I told them, “Yep, I did.”
Thompson and his wife had looked into the Virginia Beach area to open a practice, but when it came down to it, there was one factor that Thompson couldn’t get out of his head. “This is home, and there is no place I’d rather be. I’m a West Virginian, and I try to give back to the community.”
Thompson acknowledges that he has made a terrific living through orthodontic work and dentistry for nearly 30 years, and he’s made sure to re-invest in the community that has supported his career. “We are involved with the community and support local schools.” In fact, just recently, Dr. Thompson was an assistant high school basketball coach for Teays Valley Christian School.
Every spring, Dr. Thompson talks to thousands of local students about dentistry and proper oral hygiene. “We need to do a better job of teaching our students why oral care is important. That way, they’ll be more likely to take better care of their teeth.”
Dr. Thompson has also taken his practice to an international level using social media. His website, www.askanorthodontist.com, allows anyone to ask questions on dental topics they may be concerned about. “There are people who go through treatment afraid to ask questions of their orthodontist, but they’ll ask me,” Thompson said. “I probably get two or three questions a day from all over the world. I’m not trying to get between people and their orthodontist or treatment. I’m merely trying to help them understand why a treatment is being performed a certain way. It’s a lot of fun.”
For Thompson, shaping a smile is just as much a mental alteration as it is a physical change, especially for a young person. “The biggest thing we do is transform a child’s self-confidence,” he said. “They become more self-assured because their teeth aren’t crooked anymore. Teeth are not only for chewing food, they also influence other people’s perceptions of us. In our society, everybody likes a good smile. It even affects people getting jobs.”
Aside from the obvious physical benefits, a straight, clean smile contributes to enhanced self-esteem that will last for years after the procedure or repairs have been invested in. Thompson states, “It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase put your money where your mouth is.”
Dr. Thompson offers some advice for those who are looking to go into the field. “Be a really good student and make excellent grades. Once you go through dental school, which is four years, then you can apply to a highly competitive orthodontic graduate program.”
Thompson, who attended Marshall University in the early 1980’s as a chemistry major, was accepted to West Virginia University’s School of Dentistry in 1981. He graduated from WVU’s dental school ranking fifth out 52 students and left with his Doctorate in Dental Surgery.
After a year working in the pediatric department at WVU’s dental school, Thompson started orthodontic graduate training at WVU in 1986 before graduating and purchasing his original practice in Huntington.
Despite coming up on 30 years of practice, he has no plans to retire. He simply loves what he does and the community he serves. “I’m not going anywhere. I am a very proud West Virginian, and I love serving the community with quality orthodontic treatment. If my body will let me, I plan on being here another 15 to 20 years.”
That’s a statement that should bring a smile to all Dr. Thompson’s patients for years to come.