Father and son orthodontists R.G. “Wick” and Moody Alexander can say they’ve set several generations of the city’s teeth on a straight path.
Drs. Alexander Orthodontics at 840 W. Mitchell St. has been in operation for 50 years, treating more than 17,500 children and adults. Add to that the thousands of people who have benefited from Wick Alexander’s own Alexander LTS Bracket technique, which has been taught to orthodontists worldwide.
“It’s hard to believe such a young man could have been here so long,” said Wick Alexander, 78. The Texas Tech University graduate was born in Lubbock, grew up in Amarillo and attended dental and orthodontic school in Houston.
Arlington ended up being home.
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“I heard that Arlington needed an orthodontist, so I thought I’d just take a look at it,” he said.
Wick and his wife, Janna, moved into a house in Woodland West in 1964, had three children and began to grow with the city.
“A lot of people came with the same kind of ambition we did — to create their own independent jobs,” he said. “Those were the [Mayor Tom] Vandergriff days. I got to treat his children. I was on the City Council myself for six years.”
Son Chuck is also an orthodontist. He practices in Montrose, Colo., after starting out with his father’s practice. Daughter Shanna Argote lives in Southlake.
“We’ve been here on Mitchell since 1967,” Wick Alexander said. “They were building Mitchell Street just as I was building my practice.”
Alexander Orthodontics originally started on Benge Drive, renting a space with a group of pediatricians.
Wick Alexander is semiretired, and the practice belongs to Moody, now 50 himself.
“I still come to the office every day,” Wick said. “For 40 years, I came in at 7 a.m., but now I come in at 10.”
Alexander still instructs on his technique all over the world, and this year alone has visited China, Japan and Germany. The bracket-bracing system makes straightening teeth “a little easier and there’s less discomfort,” said Alexander. He is also a clinical professor of orthodontics at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry.
Moody Alexander’s straight path into orthodontics took a sabbatical turn as a student at Texas Tech.
“I had been accepted into dental school already, but I decided not to go into dental school,” he said. “I came home for Thanksgiving and said I was going to work in campus ministry instead.”
The decision changed Moody’s life, as well as his relationship with his father.
He worked for Campus Crusade for Christ in North Carolina for three years and traveled abroad. “After that I came back and went to dental school,” Moody Alexander said. “But those were good years for me, maturing and amazing years.”
Moody joined his father’s practice in 1995 as his brother left for Colorado. Moody and his wife, Emily, had four children: sons Hill, now 18, and Wick, 16, and daughters Avery, 15, and Isabel, 13.
A 2008 trip to Ethiopia led to the Alexanders’ adoption of three more children, sons Eyasu, 8, and Abe, 6, and daughter Gigi, 4.
“It stirred something in our lives,” said Moody Alexander of that first trip. “It changed everything, in terms of our family and falling in love with the country.”
Moody Alexander established Ethiopia Smile, a nonprofit offering dental services. He will lead a 50-person group for his fifth dental trip to Ethiopia after Christmas.
The Alexander practice has even left a rare, lasting legacy for the field of orthodontics.
“Dad’s been good with keeping records, so now we have ‘The Room of Truth,’” Moody Alexander said. “Any patient that’s ever been treated here, we have their records and their impressions, which is crazy.”
The collection spans generations of the same families and includes their records, photos, X-rays and plaster mouth impressions.
This has made Drs. Alexander Orthodontics one of the largest databases of orthodontic records in the world, Moody Alexander said.
“Students will come here to do their theses, and researchers come to study” he said. “Old patients will take new impressions for our records.
“We can see what we did that worked over time.”
Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657