Making a Better World, One Smile at a Time
I will never forget how my chairman at the Baylor orthodontic program, Dr. Moody Alexander, encouraged us residents to especially, “love the unlovables.” I vividly recall being a painfully shy and definitely unattractive seventh-grader myself, who just wanted to be invisible.
Growing up, I wore braces from sixth to eighth grade, and I was admittedly a C-minus patient! But by my sophomore year in high school, something internal, perhaps my guardian angel, made me completely sure that orthodontics was the right path for me. I have never regretted that decision!
As an orthodontist, I understand what treatment means to my patients, and I find great happiness in seeing young people transform from a caterpillar to butterfly right before my eyes! The gift of a lovely smile, and the priceless corresponding gift of improved self-esteem is pure magic and truly Heaven-sent. It is enormously joyful to be part of those transformations on a daily basis!
I am blessed to be part of this profession and I love using my mind and my hands to gently change and improve people’s smiles – and often, their lives! I love to follow my patients' lives and their achievements in education, sports, theater, music, and the arts. It is a special honor to see family members in my practice: I recently began caring for a third-generation patient!
I love my team and I love watching their interactions and friendships with our patients. It is fun to feel the positive energy that is shared between patients, their families, my team, and I. Hearing laughter in my office on an almost constant basis brings a smile to my face.
The day we take a patient’s braces off is such a celebration! My team and I love to watch people’s eyes light up when they see their new smile for the first time: it makes us all smile!
Education and Continuing Education
- Bachelor of Science, Iowa State University
- Doctorate of Dental Surgery, University of Iowa
- Master of Science in Dentistry, Baylor University
There are new orthodontic products, techniques, and technologies constantly being developed. Often, these are marketed directly to patients as “the best” treatment option. As an orthodontist, it is essential I am up-to-date on these new options and able to thoroughly assess and evaluate each. Staying current on what is new, as well as what is tried and proven, allows me to ethically advise patients on the best care approach for their specific situation.
I regularly attend continuing education meetings locally, regionally, nationally, and occasionally internationally. Additionally, I participate in Dr. John Casko’s Practical Review in Orthodontics.
I am honored to serve as an adjunct associate professor in the Orthodontic Department at the University of Iowa. This provides me further access to the latest research findings and discussions of treatment and technology while interacting with the brilliant young residents and terrific faculty there!
- College of Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics
- American Board of Orthodontics
- American Association of Orthodontists
- Midwestern Society of Orthodontists, past president
- Iowa Society of Orthodontists, past president
- World Federation of Orthodontists
- American Dental Association
- Iowa Dental Association
- Baylor Orthodontic Alumni Association, past president
- Smiles Change Lives
Beyond the Practice
I was blessed to grow up in Fort Dodge, IA, the fourth of six children of Maurie and Mary Stark. My dad was my hero and idol: an Army infantry combat veteran who was also the sweetest, kindest, most wise person I’ve ever known. My mother was a piano and voice double major in college and a devoted and loving wife, a fabulous mother, and a tireless professional volunteer.
Our parents taught my siblings and me, by their example, to love God, to love each other, and to be generous with our time, talents, and treasure. I have always tried to live in a way that made my parents proud.
My wife of 35 years, Cindy Talley, and I met during our sophomore year at Iowa State University. She was, and remains, the light of my life!
Cindy and I are the blessed parents of four wonderful children: Emily, a CPA who lives in Milwaukee with her husband, general dentist Dr. Jake Sladky and their two really cute sons, Jimmy and Robby; John, who earned his PhD in mechanical engineering and is a senior research engineer with 3M, and married a lovely biomedical engineer named Kirsten Ryan in September 2017; Steve, a senior year law student at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis; and Michael, who is a freshman dental student at the University of Iowa.
Outside of work, I love spending time with Cindy, who is truly my soulmate; and our family. I have a lot of interests, enjoying flying fishing, golf, upland bird hunting, and water sports, but I like to say I am a 'permanent beginner' and am not particularly good at any of them!