by Greg Thompson

Michael B. Rogers, DDS, takes the lead as AAO president

Michael B. Rogers, DDS, takes the lead as AAO president
Photos by Robin Nelson

Rolling out of bed at 3:25 am every day and running 10 miles is not your average way to boost energy. Call it physics, tenacity, or sheer habit, but the incoming president of the AAO is a testament to the fact that a body in motion tends to remain in motion.

After 38 years in practice, Michael B. Rogers, DDS, has found that running a successful practice and completing a marathon take a lot of the same attributes. If you adhere to a training regimen with dedication and patience, as with the imperceptible movement of teeth, results will come.

Successfully treating hundreds of patients per year at Rogers & Andrews Orthodontics in Augusta, Ga, and finishing 39 marathons over the last 9 years—eight in the last 12 months—is no easy trick, but the 65-year-old Rogers sees no end in sight. “Running has gotten into my blood, and I don’t feel right if I don’t do it,” Rogers says. “I actually hurt more, and my muscles ache, when I don’t run. I get more energy from exercise.”

Focused Advocacy

Treating patients takes plenty of time and effort, but Rogers knows that clinical know-how must also go hand in hand with business acumen. Since a whopping 95% of the nation’s orthodontists choose to be members of the AAO, Rogers, a past president of the Georgia Dental Association, believes that focused advocacy can mold government policy and improve the business climate. “Recent health care legislation may raise costs for small business owners such as orthodontists,” Rogers says. “Lowering flexible spending account [FSA] levels has impacted a patient’s ability to pay for care. We want to continue to position the AAO to help members and patients by providing consumer choice and access.”


Practice Name:Rogers & Andrews Orthodontics
Orthodontists: Michael B. Rogers, DDS, and
Lee J. Andrews II, DMD
Age: 65
Location: Augusta, Ga
Office square footage: 7,000
Specialty: Orthodontics
Years treating patients: 38
Education: Emory University and Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry
Web site:

While welcoming reasonable regulation, Rogers believes less government involvement in the industry is ultimately better for business and patients. And in some cases, the AAO leads the way. In response to a proposed version of the Affordable Care Act that would have eliminated FSAs, AAO leaders built a coalition to contact senators, managing to get the FSAs restored to a level of $2,500. As AAO president, Rogers will work to get that amount raised higher still to $5,000. “We surveyed members and found that 62% of our orthodontists have patients that use FSAs to pay for treatment,” Rogers explains. “Every year I have a number of patients who want to put money aside into an FSA, because it allows them to self-direct their insurance. This is one example of how excessive regulation stifles business, innovation, and patient choice.”

Repealing the 1099 filing requirement is another example of how Rogers believes the AAO can affect public policy to benefit its members. This provision of the Affordable Care Act said that, “If someone spent more than $600 at your office, orthodontists would to have to file a 1099 to the federal government,” Rogers says. “Orthodontists might have to file 600 of those per year, almost requiring part of another employee to do that.” The 1099 repeal legislation was recently signed into law by President Obama.

Rogers runs his practice with his son-in-law and business partner, Lee J. Andrews II, DMD.

Prepping for Presidency

With extra AAO duties sure to build in the coming months, Rogers will continue to rely on the capable hands of his son-in-law and business partner, Lee J. Andrews II, DMD, with whom he has practiced for the past 4 1/2 years. Andrews owns half their 7,000-square-foot office with 12 treatment chairs, and shares a practice philosophy that emphasizes specialized treatment plans for every patient, while paying particular attention to the occlusion and position of the second molars.

This focus goes well beyond the so-called “social six,” the highly visible teeth that Rogers believes can sometimes be overemphasized to the detriment of comprehensive dental health. Rogers has nothing against speed, but quick fixes that don’t develop an excellent occlusion are not part of the 38-year veteran’s modus operandi.

Rogers was a pioneer of the banded Herbst appliance, and still keeps pace with new technology.

Rogers stands by the long-held AAO guideline that every child should see an orthodontist by age 7 to determine appropriate treatment, if any. “Many patients do not need early (Phase I) treatment, but age 7 is the ideal time to evaluate the case,” Rogers says. “For example, all orthodontists know that using the facial mask for Class III treatment is more effective at an early age. We also use expanders on selected cases to treat nonextraction, and this must be done before the permanent cuspids erupt.”

From the very young to an increasingly older demographic, the latest marketing message of the AAO aims to go beyond the typical adolescent population. “We are considering redirecting our public awareness campaign more to the adult population,” Rogers says. “There are a lot of adults that could benefit from orthodontic treatment, and demographic studies have shown that the adolescent population has declined slightly. It makes sense to market to adults so they can benefit from orthodontic treatment.”

Rogers runs his practice with his son-in-law and business partner, Lee J. Andrews II, DMD.

Despite increasingly busy lives, more adults are willing to spend time in the chair to improve their smiles. Orthodontists have responded by streamlining their practices and reducing wait times, a movement that Rogers believes will continue to attract older patients. “We must continue to promote orthodontics through AAO’s public awareness and advertising program,” Rogers says. “This is by far the most important issue facing the AAO today. Working to increase the market for orthodontic treatment will help the many residents coming out of programs to find employment.”

With four adult children, nine grandchildren, a full-time practice, and a rigorous running routine, Rogers can identify with the busy adult patients who make up 20% of his practice. With all these responsibilities, why take on the extra duties of the AAO presidency? For Rogers, it comes down to an old-fashioned desire to give back to the profession he loves. Far from a burden, Rogers views the post as an honor to be cherished.

A Life in Orthodontics

As the Watergate scandal heated up in 1973, Rogers opened his first practice during an era with no direct-bonded brackets. Orthodontic Products readers who have some grey around the temples no doubt remember the procedures, which often required braces to be put on in stages.

The lack of bonded brackets and modern archwires meant longer treatment times, and usually added up to more pain for patients. “We also had a philosophy at that time of taking out more teeth, so that has definitely decreased as the years have rolled along,” says Rogers, who also served as a general dentist in the Army from 1969 to 1971. “We have evolved more to pay attention to the overall facial complex, in addition to just aligning the teeth.”

Rolling with the technological punches has not been difficult for Rogers, who has attended countless classes and learned a host of new techniques. Each advance has its champions and naysayers, and Rogers has never shied from these vigorous debates. “My favorite procedure would have to be the Herbst appliance, since I pioneered the Banded Herbst in the 1980s with Scott Huge and Arlen Hurt of Specialty Appliances,” Rogers says. “It is remarkable to observe the profile change, which in turn improves self-esteem. Of course, I also like the debands, because it’s always fun to share in the excitement.”

Permanent retainers were nowhere in sight when Rogers began to practice, but now, he says, “With almost every patient, I bond a lower retainer in, and with many of the patients I also bond an upper retainer. Years ago, the bonded retainers could not be utilized because we did not have the bonding agents that would allow us to bond directly to the enamel.”

Taking the useful technology (bonded retainers, improved bracket design, and “space-age” archwires) and discarding less useful inventions is all part of the profession, and Rogers believes the perspective of almost 4 decades will serve him well during his AAO presidency.

When it comes to advances such as lingual braces, clear aligners, and other relatively new appliances, Rogers freely admits that they work well for many patients. However, with the increasing amount of direct-to-consumer advertising, as well as the information available via the Internet, he believes that orthodontists are the proper specialists to match the appropriate appliances and techniques to patient needs.

Ultimately, orthodontics has enough room for different philosophies, a fact that Rogers believes only strengthens the profession. “I was one of the first orthodontists in Georgia and South Carolina to do lingual braces,” Rogers says. “I did many cases and I found, at that time, that at the end of treatment I had to take off the lingual and put on the labial to finish the case. It is my understanding now that the technique is much better and they can finish them to a high standard. I have not chosen to go back into that area, but I think it is certainly viable.”

Rogers’ practice does a few clear aligner cases every month, but he reserves it for simpler cases and situations where he is reasonably sure that patients are going to cooperate. “I look forward to additional research and case reports on the more difficult cases in the area of clear aligners,” Rogers says. “As president, I will support all bracket designs and philosophies. We must not allow differences of opinion concerning bracket design or treatment philosophies to splinter our united profession.”

In the vital area of marketing, the Internet has transformed the way prospective patients gather information and make decisions. Rogers’ own Web site,, is a sleek destination that combines still photos with video footage of orthodontists and patients.

Creative ways to use Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are already filtering into the profession, and Rogers believes that the AAO can foster this progress with educational sessions. “It’s a new world,” he says. “Practice management in a world of social media requires new training and a new mind-set. The Internet, with both good and bad information, can be used to communicate with patients, provide valid information, and increase the market for orthodontic treatment. We need to continue to help our members make the leap. The AAO has hired a designated person to work with social media and keep the AAO Web site and Facebook up to date.”

As Rogers keeps pace with the latest developments in his profession, he benefits from traveling a long road to get where he is. Decades of clinical experience, a distinguished speaking career that includes seven lectures at AAO Annual Sessions, service in the ADA and AAO House of Delegates, and roles as speaker and president of the Georgia Dental Association have all led to the presidency of the AAO. But like all good presidents, he wisely shares credit with his first lady. “Making time for both professional and volunteer activities would not have been possible,” he says, “without the support and encouragement of Beth Rogers, my wife of 42 years.”

Greg Thompson is a contributing writer for Orthodontic Products. For more information, contact

Duffer to Runner

With the world-famous Augusta National Golf Course not far away, Rogers gravitated toward golf in his younger days, honing his handicap to 3 or less and playing on his high school and Army golf teams. Golf, however, is a notorious time-eater that did not fit well with a busy schedule. Instead of playing golf three times a week as he once did, he now plays three times a year, opting instead to hone his average mile time to less than 8 minutes over the 26.2-mile marathon course.

Rogers has never really stopped running since his orthodontic residency in the early 1970s, but he stepped it into high gear about 10 years ago, at the age of 55. Since then, he has posted a personal best marathon time of 3 hours, 28 minutes, and 17 seconds during the California International Marathon in Sacramento in December 2010. “One can always find a place to run, and I jog 8 to 20 miles almost every day, or about 75-plus miles per week,” he says. “It is my quiet time to pray, think, and outrun the dogs. My marathon events will probably have to slow down due to presidential duties, but I’m sure I will work a few in. I will always run the Boston Marathon. The excitement of an estimated 1 million cheering spectators is overwhelming.”