I’ve been in practice as an orthodontic specialist since 1985, but my history with orthodontics goes back a bit farther…
After serving in Princess Louise’s Eighth Hussars as a Lieutenant in the tank corps of the Canadian Army in World War II (where he saw action in some of the worst battles in Italy), my father, Harry B. Fleming, earned his dental degree at McGill University in Montreal, QC, Canada. Dad practiced as a general dentist in Moncton, NB, Canada (where I was born) for approximately nine years. He eventually looked for other challenges, and decided to become an orthodontic specialist himself, graduating from the University of Michigan’s orthodontics program—arguably the best program in the world at the time—and perhaps still today.
After graduating, Dad served as the Medical College of Virginia’s first Department of Orthodontics chairman at the MCV School of Dentistry in Richmond, Virginia. Later, our family moved to Falls Church, where Dad began his own solo orthodontics practice in 1961.
By this point, I was age six. As you might guess, I then grew up with dentistry and orthodontics as a “way of life” for our family. Whether by meeting many of the members of the Northern Virginia Dental Society over the year at our home during my childhood, or working at my father’s office during my summers off school as a laboratory technician and “go-fer”, orthodontics was already part of who I was!
And as far I know, what has now become known as “Advance! Top Orthodontics” is the longest running “family-owned” orthodontics practice in the metropolitan area! My father had a sterling reputation, and I am trying my hardest to make him proud, as well as my patients!
But like most young people, I had many ideas initially about what I would choose as a career. At first I was absolutely certain that I wanted to fly. I even had an appointment to the Air Force Academy, but later turned it down. But how about being a biologist, or French translator, or a writer… the options were endless! Well, eventually my “genetics” finally kicked in, and I realized that being an orthodontist just offered so much more of what I was really looking for. The rest, as they say, is history!