One of the things that would strike you when you meet Dr. Ralph Brock is his exuberant energy and his laughter. He is also into big hugs. He is genuinely happy to greet each one of his patients and be able to help them smile. You know for sure, this is a person who is doing what he loves in life.
Dr. Brock was born in Baytown, Texas and did his undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, his dental training at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, and finished in what is now the Texas A&M College of Dentistry for Graduate Orthodontics.
Becoming a dentist was a goal that he set for himself at a very young age. “My father and mother were in oil and gas and my great grandmother was the janitor at two dental offices”, he remembers. Dr. Brock used to spend time at those dental offices with his grandma when he was a kid and, there, Dr. Carter and Dr. Bronson instilled in him the dream of becoming a dentist. “Actually, doctor Bronson helped me with my dental school school applications and so it was really cool and full circle. I grew up watching my great grandmother clean dental offices and the offices created an affinity for me and me for them”. Once his mind was set on achieving this career, he put all his effort into making it happen.
Eventually, he realized that he was going to become not just a dentist, but an orthodontist. For young people who are looking to start a career in dentistry or orthodontics, Dr. Brock’s advice is to be aware that they should be “diligent, detail oriented, and to make sure that every little bit counts for you. To be perseverant, and always try to do better and be better at what you’re doing”
When looking for an orthodontist, Dr. Brock recommends that patients find someone that they trust and is dependable. “Find someone that you can easily converse with and who will give you the information you need to make the best choice for you or your child”.
When seeking to improve your smile, you should always remember that you are dealing with your health. It is, therefore, very important to find someone who has the right training and will give you the personalized attention you deserve. “Other people may do orthodontics part of the time; all I do is orthodontics. So, I am a specialist at orthodontics at all times, not part of the time, not some of the time; that’s what I do.”
Dr. Brock shares his concern about the risks that people are taking when they don’t visit an orthodontist and instead choose to gamble their health with a mail-order kit. “Sometimes I find that, with mail-order kits, it’s a one size fits all, and what you’ll find is that there is not one size for everyone”. You may be overlooking issues that could seriously affect your quality of life. A quick 10-minute visit at a mall once a year with someone who does not get to know you or your health history, or a generic internet consultation, is not enough.
“I am a dentist first, and then an orthodontist, and I would recognize if someone had periodontal disease or any other issue with their mouth. Their health comes first, then I worry about straight teeth. I am concerned with the person, not just their teeth”. Therefore, an orthodontic consultation is so important. It is an opportunity to evaluate, but also to listen to the concerns and questions that the patient may have, “It is a two-way street. You will find that the time that you spend with an orthodontist will give you the opportunity to discuss the things that are going on and get a better treatment”.
Dr. Brock emphasizes that a patient should realize that their orthodontist can offer them many different solutions to their problems and work with them on their schedule and budget.
The first step, he says, is always to have a proper and exhaustive evaluation with a professional orthodontist. He or she will use the right technical and medical tools and then develop a clear plan of action towards what needs to be accomplished before deciding on the technique that will be used.
Nowadays, adults have many treatment options: retainers, clear aligners, braces that can be metal, ceramic, or plastic, that can go in front of the teeth or behind, etc. “I always figure out what I want to move before I figure out what I’m want to move it with”, he explains. “With my family growing up, we were brick contractors, and so for me, when I’m building, I always kind of start with the result in mind. I know exactly what I want the teeth to look like, and it’s just doing all the things in reverse to get there”.
Orthodontics is a passion for Dr. Brock, he sees himself as more than just the person who takes care of his patient’s health and teeth. He treasures being part of their lives. “I work closely with kids who are 10 to 14 so I meet them at a pivotal point in their life. I get to relish in how they love both their smile and how they present themselves to other people”. This is the reason he loves orthodontics.
What would be something that people would be surprised to find out about you?
My patients would be amazed to find out that I actually DJ on the side. I got into DJing from a friend who liked to do it. I was his companion most of the time, helping, then I realized that I was setting up the next song, then the next song, and I understood how one beat goes into another beat and how people are interacting with it. It is almost like orthodontics, you’re seeing in your mind what you want to create for this person and then you bring it to life, it’s pretty cool, very similar.
What is the type of music that you like the most?
The music that I like, compared to the music that others would like, may be slightly different. Usually, when I’m doing DJ sets it’s for Pop or Hip hop or Rock, but my favorite music is Jazz. But a lot of times I’ve found that Jazz may not be for the party crowd! My very favorite artist is Miles Davis, followed shortly thereafter by Sonny Rollins.