By Lori Sichtermann

Image of Glenn with patients.

Gayle Glenn, DDS, MSD, has an enlightening perspective regarding her profession. “No one is in pain when they come to me,” she notes. “No one is afraid to come to my office.” Putting patients at ease is second nature for Glenn, and it’s a characteristic that has made her Dallas pediatric-focused practice a big success.

Glenn’s compassionate demeanor stems from her own childhood introduction to orthodontics. As a young girl, her family relocated in the middle of her orthodontic treatment. As a result, she had the opportunity to know two orthodontists with different approaches, but with the same sense of kindness.

Practice Profile

Kogut, Villaseñor, and Glenn Dentistry for Children

Location: Dallas

Office square footage: 5,200 (Office shared with two pediatric dentists)

Number of chairs: 6 in the orthodontic bay

Education: BA in Chemistry from Texas Tech University; DDS from the University of Texas Dental School in San Antonio; MSD from Baylor College of Dentistry

Years in practice: 29

Average patients per day: 40

Days worked per week: 3

Starts per year: 135

Top six products: Ortho Technology’s NOLA Dry Field System; Reliance Orthodontic Products’ Assure Bonding Resin and Ultra Bank Lok—Blue Light Cure and Band Cement; 3M Unitek Multi-Cure Glass Ionomer and Transbond LR Capsule Kit; and Specialty Appliances’ Specialty Crown Cantilever Herbst Appliance


“Both of my orthodontists were very supportive and told me I had plenty to look forward to with regard to a great smile,” Glenn recalls. “As a child, I really needed to have braces, and I loved the way those two doctors helped me be confident about my smile.”

The experience stayed with her as she embarked on a career path in orthodontics—first earning her DDS at the University of Texas Dental School at San Antonio and then an MSD at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas. Graduating in 1984, Glenn was an enthusiastic orthodontist ready to embark on a challenging career.

Today, Glenn cites a number of elements she loves about the orthodontic profession—the camaraderie with her peers, challenging techniques, and the ability to continue learning. However, since she started practicing, Glenn has seen orthodontics change in myriad ways, especially with regard to technology and patient interactions. Yet, Glenn cites the increased number of women entering orthodontics as one of the most significant changes in the industry.

In her own way, Glenn has helped to transform the orthodontic landscape, especially from the perspective of women. After nearly 30 years of dedicated service to her profession, she has been elected president of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) for 2013-’14. She officially takes office in May and will be the first woman president of the oldest and largest dental specialty organization in the world.

A Working Relationship

Image of Glenn with patient.One can easily say that Glenn has found her niche in the orthodontic profession: children and young adults. “I like working with the younger set,” she notes. “I get to help children, teens, and young adults gain a sense of pride from their smiles.” Glenn shares the office with two pediatric dentists: Mark H. Kogut, DDS, MSD, PA, and Alejandra Villaseñor, DDS, MS, PA.

Summoning her experiences as a patient years ago, Glenn understands the unique anxieties her young patients may have regarding their smiles and what the orthodontic treatment will entail. To put patients at ease, Glenn relies on the simple act of communication.

“In my profession and in my practice, I’ve learned that communication is absolutely vital,” she explains. “And, I also believe that communication goes both ways. Not only do you have to be open and transparent with your patient about what the procedure will entail and what is expected from them, you also have to make sure that the patient is fully understanding what you are saying and that they are invested in the process as well.”

Catering to the younger set is an area where Glenn excels. But, it has also proven to be beneficial in a number of professional ways. As Glenn explains, having a younger patient base has helped her practice to stay up-to-date on technology in the office.

“Technology has taken off in orthodontics in a baffling way,” Glenn notes. “Patients have come to expect certain amenities in a practice, such as digital images, e-mail/text appointment confirmations, and free WiFi so they can stay connected while they’re in our office.”

According to Glenn, technology has changed the way orthodontists practice, and it has also helped to change patients. “[Patients today] are savvier than they’ve ever been,” she adds. “As orthodontists, we really have to stay abreast of what is happening in the industry with regard to techniques while at the same time paying attention to what is happening with patient information and technical amenities. Our patients expect a certain level of awareness and technical ease from their orthodontists.”

Staying focused in what would seem to be two different areas of a profession is admittedly simple for Glenn. “I tend to fixate on the details when doing my work,” she explains. “Whether it’s a treatment plan for a patient or a specific amenity in my office that can improve the patient experience, I make sure it’s the very best.”

Glenn notes that by nature, orthodontists have to be very detail-oriented. However, throughout her career, she’s learned the importance of staying focused. “It’s important to learn and understand that although we should dive into the details of a procedure, there is a patient connected to that procedure,” she explains. “We shouldn’t be so focused on the details as to forget there is a person with real emotions and feelings and fears connected to our work.”

Among Peers

Image of Glenn with patient.Glenn’s empathy extends beyond working with patients. She also has dedicated countless hours to a number of professional organizations in an effort to enhance orthodontics for colleagues in Dallas, throughout Texas, and across the country.

After she received her orthodontic degree from Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, Glenn joined both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the AAO. At that time, she also became a part of the Southwestern Society of Orthodontists (SWSO) and the Texas Association of Orthodontists (TAO).

“My initial opportunity to become involved in organized dentistry was in my local dental society, the Dallas County Dental Society,” she explains. “As a result of my local and state activities in organized dentistry, I was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of the TAO, which is a state component of the AAO. I welcomed the opportunity to become involved in an organization which represents my specialty of orthodontics.”

And, in several cases, Glenn’s specialty of orthodontics entailed working with other women in the industry. She’s a member of the American Association of Women Dentists and is also active in the American Association of University Women and the American Business Women’s Association.

Over the course of nearly 30 years serving on various boards and committees that cater to dentistry and orthodontics, Glenn has helped to promote membership in organized dentistry to both dental and orthodontic students. According to Glenn, just as the ADA serves as the voice of dentistry, the AAO strives to be the trusted source for all orthodontic information. “This can only be achieved by maintaining a strong market share of membership,” she adds.

Glenn also has worked to foster good relationships between the AAO and other dental organizations, such as the ADA and the various specialty organizations. “Collaboration among dental groups on common issues is important for the profession and the patients we serve,” Glenn notes.

For many, the idea of balancing a growing practice, an increasing patient base, and a dedication to industry organizations seems like a heavy load to carry. However, as Glenn explains, her hands-on, detail-oriented approach to her profession makes the balancing act possible. For her, the extra effort she commits as an involved member of local and national dental and orthodontic organizations garners a sense of pride and accomplishment.

“I enjoy working with like-minded orthodontists who are concerned with the future of our specialty,” Glenn adds. “I enjoy working with individuals who, with me, strive to represent the needs and interests of an increasingly diverse AAO membership.”

But, as Glenn further notes, when she started out as a bright-eyed member of the orthodontic community, the profession had a different feel to it. “As I looked at those who were in leadership in those organizations, I saw a group of older male dentists and orthodontists,” she recalls. “There were few, if any, females in leadership roles and no young member representation. At that point, my impression was that those leaders did not represent me or my needs as a young female member.”

The Feminine Approach

The last 3 decades have proven to be a sort of education renaissance for women. According to The New York Times, women now make up more than 58% of students enrolled in 2- and 4-year colleges. What’s more, women now make up the majority in graduate schools and professional programs.

According to Glenn, orthodontics is one profession that has felt the tidal change as more women have entered the field. “The landscape of orthodontics has changed dramatically in the last 3 decades,” she explains. “Back when I started in 1984, only 3% of orthodontists were women. Today, it’s over 20%. That may not seem like a lot, but it’s only been
30 years. It’s a huge leap. What’s more is that currently nearly half of the new graduates from orthodontic school are women.”

Much of the credit for the increased numbers of female college students can be attributed to more obtainable education for women. “There aren’t the same barriers to entry for women today when it comes to getting an education,” Glenn notes. “And the orthodontic profession is more approachable as more women become a part of it.”

Creating an approachable environment for fellow female orthodontists is something that Glenn and the AAO have been keen on for quite some time. In fact, she notes that information collected by the AAO indicates that while female orthodontists face similar professional challenges compared to their male counterparts, women are more interested in the opportunity to share their experiences and network with other female orthodontists. Thus, the AAO provides a platform for the sharing of like minds.

According to Glenn, in 2003, the AAO leadership introduced the Women in Orthodontics Luncheon at the organization’s Annual Session. “These events feature a presentation of issues of interest to female practitioners, such as balancing family and practice, as well as staffing and health issues, all of which impact women in the profession,” she adds.

“The AAO leadership strives to have diversity in its representatives on task forces and committees, whenever possible,” Glenn adds. “At this point in time, I do not see the barriers to diversity in leadership that I perceived early in my career.”

Glenn is a stellar example of how far women have come in orthodontics. This spring she takes the reins as the first female president of the AAO. And, although much of the next year’s agenda is spoken for— negotiating federal legislation on behalf of orthodontists nationwide and increasing consumer awareness—Glenn does have a cause that’s close to her.

“The issue of membership is something that I’ve been interested in for some time now,” she explains. “Getting involved with an organization like the AAO is a tremendous benefit to orthodontists—both with networking and resources. In the next year, I’d like to really put a focus on driving membership.”

Glenn is quick to clarify that her agenda to promote the AAO and increase membership is focused on both men and women. “The AAO and my presidency are not about gender. They’re about the opportunity to serve my peers the best I can. However, although I may be the first woman president, I most certainly will not be the last.” OP

Lori Sichtermann is a contributing writer for Orthodontic Products. For more information, contact [email protected]


Image of Gayle Glenn.A Dedicated Path

In May, Gayle Glenn, DDS, MSD, will become president of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Noteworthy is the fact that she will be the first woman president of the organization, which serves more than 17,000 members throughout North America and abroad. Her path to the AAO presidency reads like a how-to list for success.

In addition to operating a busy orthodontic practice, Glenn has a number of personal interests. A self-proclaimed movie buff, she admits to seeing as many films as possible. She also appreciates fine art, and attends traveling exhibitions at museums throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. But, tending to her love of camaraderie with peers is what Glenn considers her most cherished hobby.

“There is an overwhelming benefit to meeting other orthodontists, and it’s tremendously helpful for running a business,” she explains. “I truly value the time spent with my colleagues and everything that I learn from them. That’s what has driven me to become involved in organizations such as the AAO and the Southwestern Society of Orthodontists (SWSO) as soon as I graduated from orthodontic school.”

In 2004, Glenn was elected by the SWSO as its representative on the AAO Board of Trustees. During the AAO’s 2012-’13 fiscal year, Glenn served on several AAO committees, including the executive committee, the budget advisory committee, and the disaster relief committee.

Glenn’s appointment as president of the AAO is partially the result of years’ worth of experience in leadership roles within dentistry and orthodontics. She is the past president of the SWSO and the Texas Association of Orthodontists (TAO). She’s served as a member of the AAO House of Delegates. In addition to her AAO and SWSO memberships, Glenn is a member of the American Dental Association, the Greater Dallas Association of Orthodontists, the Texas Orthodontic Study Club, and the Dallas County Dental Society.

Glenn has had the opportunity to meet orthodontists from across the country, which have evolved into lasting friendships. However, she recalls being pleasantly surprised to have met a number of orthodontists outside of the United States and Canada.

“I’ve met some great orthodontists from Europe, Asia, and even Australia,” Glenn explains. “It’s been interesting to learn from these individuals. I’ve come to realize that in some countries orthodontics is fully developed, and we have things to learn from them. Yet, in other countries, the profession is still developing and they are eager to learn from us. It’s been a great experience to meet individuals practicing in other countries and cultures.”

As Glenn prepares to take on the role of president of the world’s largest orthodontic organization, she is enthusiastic about the responsibilities of the position. “The AAO is a major advocate in Washington for orthodontics,” she explains. “One issue we are working on now is to repeal the medical device tax, which ultimately could affect the cost of care. The increased cost of equipment would eventually trickle down to the consumer and make orthodontics a less affordable option for many families. That would have a negative impact on a lot of practices.”

The AAO agenda is a tall order, but Glenn is ready for the challenge. “I’ve learned that the more you give to any effort, the more you get in return,” she notes. “That is the true gift of service.” OP