Meet Your 2018 Dentist of the Year: Dr. John T. Fales, Jr.
Dr. John T. Fales, Jr. was honored with the 2018 Dentist of the Year Award on Saturday, April 7 during the KDA Annual Meeting.
John was born in Baltimore, MD. He came to Kansas after his father took a job at the UMKC Medical School. He attended the University of Kansas - becoming a Jayhawk was a choice, and spending time at Allen Fieldhouse watching Kansas basketball is still a favorite pastime.
While attending KU, John worked at Midwest Research Institute and developed a love for research; however, in the spring of 1977, he discovered dentistry through a friend and decided to pursue a career as a dentist.
That same year, John met his future wife, Jennifer, who just happened to be on her way to becoming a Kansas State Wildcat. They were married in the summer of 1981 and became another “House Divided.” Today, John is a Kansas City Royals fan and a diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan, attending nearly every game each year with his brother George for well over thirty years.
John attended UMKC School of Dentistry, graduated in 1982, and began practicing in Prairie Village, KS with Dr. Jim Harding. Jim encouraged John to become involved in organized dentistry, and John quickly became active in the Fifth District Dental Society with positions on committees, eventually progressing through the officer ranks, and finally serving as President in 1990-1991.
Jim also introduced John to other dentists passionate about organized dentistry. Dr. Dean Dyer, Dr. Sid McKnight, Dr. Bob Smith, Dr. Nevin Waters, and others were very influential in forming John’s interest in giving back to the profession of dentistry. John has been recognized by the Fifth District as the Dentist of the Year and twice as the Chairperson of the Year.
In 1989, John began a pediatric dentistry residency at Children’s Mercy Hospital. He was forever hooked by the amazing world of pediatric dentistry! John began practicing pediatric dentistry in Olathe in 1991, where he still maintains a fun, exciting, pediatric dental practice.
John has served on several KDA councils, has been the Chair of the Dental Education and Manpower Council, and currently serves as the Chair of Council on Children’s Dental Health. John has proudly served the KDA in Topeka for the past nine years as the organization battled the dental therapist issue. He has been a Delegate to the ADA and is currently serving as an Alternate Delegate to the ADA. John has served in all the officer positions, highlighted by his year as President of the KDA in 2016-2017.
In addition, John served as President of the Kansas Association of Pediatric Dentists for several years. In May, he will become the Trustee from the Southwest District to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. John is also a member of the AAPD Leadership Institute, Cohort V where he attends the Kellogg School of Business Management at Northwestern University. He is also a Fellow in the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.
John believes that all people should give back a portion of what has been so freely given to us. He tries to live up to a concept he learned as a Boy Scout when he was younger: Always leave the trail in better shape than what you found it. In other words, give back more than you receive.
The Kansas Mission of Mercy (KMOM) has been close to John’s heart since he attended the second KMOM project held in Kansas City, KS in 2003. Since then, he has not missed a single KMOM, and is currently the Vice-President of the Kansas Dental Charitable Foundation. He then became involved in the America’s Dentists Care Foundation, serving on the Board of Directors, and then serving as President in 2016. ADCF honored John and his amazing office team with the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2014. Through ADCF, John and his team have traveled to 14 states and participated in 35 MOM projects.
John was recognized as the Susan Brockman-Bell Humanitarian of the Year in 2009 related to his work with the Olathe Community Dentists Care Program and the REACH Foundation’s Project Ready Smile. John is also active in the advocacy organization Oral Health Kansas (OHK), where he has served on the Board of Directors and was selected to their Dental Champions Leadership program in 2010. He was honored by OHK as the Dentist of the Year in 2010.
For fun, John loves to spend time with his greatest blessings and inspiration: his family and his dog Bentley (who goes to work with John every day as a therapy animal, to help comfort and relax apprehensive patients). John is an avid model railroader, loves to spend time working around his home building something, and enjoying the company of friends and family.