Dr. Kellyn Hodges, the founder of Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics, finds joy in her ability to help patients perfect “their most important accessory,” a beautiful smile.
by Phil Gianficaro

What do people notice first when they meet someone? Lustrous hair? No. Twinkling eyes? Nada. Eye-catching jewelry? Not even a diamond-encrusted necklace with a price tag equal to the cost of a semester of college.

Above all else, people notice someone’s smile, as Kellyn Hodges, D.M.D., M.S., is quick to point out.

A survey for USA Today by Philips Sonicare, the electric toothbrush company, found that 47 percent of respondents chose a great smile as the feature that most attracted them. Put another way, a brilliant, healthy smile is nature’s version of a welcome sign, and sets the stage for the most positive interactions to come.
“One of the foundations of my treatment for my patients is my philosophy: Your smile is your best accessory,” says Dr. Hodges, owner of Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics, which has three state-of-the-art dental practices in suburban Philadelphia. “A beautiful and healthy smile is priceless. It not only impacts your overall health, but also your mental and psychosocial health as well.”
She is very passionate about a beautiful, healthy smile, for many reasons.
“During my entire career, I’ve had an emphasis on using orthodontics to enhance facial beauty,” she adds. “The psychosocial implications of a smile are enormous. In residency, we would discuss the facts that in our very visual society, there are certain smiles that are subliminally associated with certain socioeconomic levels, and other smiles that are associated with certain levels of intellect, credibility, age, and other things.
“As we interact with people,” she continues, “we make assumptions and form judgments about them simply because of the way their smiles look. When your smile is not ideal, holistically, there may be health implications that you are unaware of, and psychosocially, you may be operating at a deficit that you are unaware of as well.”
She cites studies that have shown a correlation between a person’s smile and their earning potential. Clearly, an inviting smile has the potential to open doors.
“At our practice, we have really come to embrace the power of a beautiful smile, and we believe that a beautiful and healthy smile is a doorway to a better life,” she says. “Our treatments are designed to help our patients feel more confident and self-assured.”
Dr. Hodges, a Philadelphia native, has been committed to perfecting patients’ smiles for 30 years. She and her team of highly trained orthodontists and support staff can implement a wide range of practical solutions to help meet patients’ specific needs. During a private consultation, each patient is evaluated to determine which course of treatment will deliver the best results in accordance with their dental needs, lifestyle, and personal goals.
For one patient, the best solution may be traditional wire-and-bracket braces. For another, it’s fast-acting adult braces. And for an increasing number of patients of all ages, the path to a dazzling smile may be Invisalign, a discreet and comfortable alternative to traditional orthodontia. Some treatment plans involve broadening arches, moving teeth up or down, and even removing strategic teeth.
“Our goal is to create a smile that is uniquely designed to fit a person’s face,” Dr. Hodges says. “Every face is different, and every life is different, so every one of our treatment approaches is customized to yield the most beautiful smile for that individual.”
Regardless of the treatment plan, Dr. Hodges and her staff often work closely with patients, their general dentist, and other dental specialists to build the perfect smile. In addition to orthodontic procedures, Dr. Hodges’ patients are often in need of services such as dental bridges, dental crowns, dental implants, dentures, overbite correction, root canal, teeth whitening, and the removal of wisdom teeth. As a doctor with a holistic approach to orthodontics, Dr. Hodges often finds herself encouraging her patients to see their regular dentist at least every six months and their dental specialists as needed, as she cannot achieve the beauty without the health.
She’s quick to note, however, that a good smile is about much more than aesthetics.
“There is a mental aspect of a beautiful smile,” she explains. “When people are not confident about their smile, they develop a subliminal self-consciousness, and compensate in ways they don’t even realize. They tend to give less eye contact; smile less freely and frequently, thus appearing aloof and unfriendly; and develop habits of covering their mouths or turning to one side, and even not taking pictures.
“I have a friend who had a 13-year-old daughter who had crowded and crooked teeth,” she continues. “My friend told me it caused her daughter to be so shy in school, that she wouldn’t even raise her hand in class or volunteer for opportunities. We found that it was not that she was shy, but that she was self-conscious. The minute she began her journey, as soon as she got her braces, her confidence increased, and she gained pep in her step.”
‘The First Thing People Notice’
Dr. Hodges received her undergraduate degree in chemistry and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and valedictorian of the Chemistry Department in 1988 from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She earned her doctorate in dental medicine and a master’s in orthodontics at Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry, graduating Summa Cum Laude.

She forged her passion for dentistry at the knee of her father, Edward D. Williams, D.M.D., a general dentist in Philadelphia who, at 78, continues to practice.
“I started working in my father’s dental office in the summer when I was seven years old, cleaning rooms, pouring models, and doing all kinds of work, but also watching him help people,” Dr. Hodges says. “When I was older, 10 or 12 years old, my friends would all be at the Jersey Shore or amusement parks with their families, but I was working full-time in dentistry with my father. I would often assist him and fell in love with it. I could have focused on any other discipline, but I loved the idea of beautifying teeth. To this day, I love dentistry and am excited about beautiful teeth.”
One might say the desire to perfect patients’ smiles runs in the family. In addition to her father maintaining his practice, her brother is a dentist, and her husband is an endodontist. Also, two of Dr. Hodges’ adult children attend dental school.  
For Dr. Hodges, patient care involves far more than correcting misaligned teeth and surrounding structures. She stresses the importance of good dental health with each patient interaction, doing her best to help each patient have a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. Given everything patients have to gain by having healthy teeth and gums, she says most patients appreciate the education.
“The value and power of a beautiful smile is priceless,” Dr. Hodges says. “And let me say this: Nothing you wear by Gucci, Louis Vuitton, or Chanel, nor any silk or cashmere, can make up for bad teeth. Beautiful, healthy teeth are more beautiful than diamonds, and more precious than rubies. Your smile is the first thing people notice, and it’s your best and most important accessory.”
Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics
411 Doylestown Road, Suite D
Montgomeryville, PA 18936
(215) 412-9810
1 Belmont Ave., Suite 414
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 617-0700
2212 Street Road, Second floor
Bensalem, PA 19020
(215) 245-5100
Photo courtesy of Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, July 2022.