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updated: 4/15/2013 8:24 AM

Former chemistry teacher, coach celebrates 25 years in orthodontics

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  • Dr. Patrick Foley, owner of Foley Orthodontics in Lake Zurich.

      Dr. Patrick Foley, owner of Foley Orthodontics in Lake Zurich.
    Courtesy of Foley Orthodontics

  • Dr. Patrick Foley, owner of Foley Orthodontics in Lake Zurich.

      Dr. Patrick Foley, owner of Foley Orthodontics in Lake Zurich.
    Courtesy of Foley Orthodontics

 
 

An interview with Dr. Patrick Foley, owner of Foley Orthodontics in Lake Zurich.

Q: Describe your business. What do you do?

A: We provide orthodontic treatment (braces) for children and adults in an inviting, friendly environment. My staff members have been with me for many years. We never get tired of seeing how thrilled our patients are when they see their new smiles for the first time. As a practice that just celebrated its 25th anniversary, we know that we've made a difference in thousands of lives. Looking to the future, we are excited about a new program we've launched called The Kid's Club because it engages the younger siblings of our patients into our practice family.

Q: You were just inducted in as president of the Illinois Society of Orthodontics. Tell us about that.

A: The Illinois Society of Orthodontists is a component society of the American Association of Orthodontists. Its mission is to promote and advance the art and science of orthodontics. There are approximately 450 members enrolled in the ISO across the state, and the organization provides them with continuing education opportunities. I have served on the board for the past 8 years, learning the administrative ropes. My goals for my tenure are to continue to affirm that braces and healthy smiles are an excellent investment and that the three years of extensive extra training our ISO members received make them the best choice when selecting a practitioner.

Q: You enjoy coaching. What have you done?

A: I had been a high school math teacher and basketball coach prior to enrolling in dental school, so it was a natural fit for me to help at St. Francis de Sales School in Lake Zurich when the opportunity first arose. Like many former athletes, I had knowledge and experience to share. Besides my 22 years of coaching boys and girls basketball there, I have also helped them with their new softball program and coached baseball and softball in the Lake Zurich Youth Baseball and Softball Association. The bonus, of course, has been the chance to spend time with each of my four children as they enjoyed their various sports. I'm one of those people with a lot of excess energy, so I intend to coach and practice orthodontics for many years to come.

Q: You are very active in the community. What else do you do?

A: I am a member of the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce, the Alpine Runners and a lector at St. Francis. I am also active in fundraising endeavors at Carmel Catholic High School, including performing in their annual Street Scenes event with my wife, Rita. Over the years, my practice has teamed up with different District 95 schools on Earth Day projects such as building a well in Ethiopia, planting a tree at May Whitney or learning about our daily choices regarding recycling. As a business owner, I decided long ago to roll my advertising dollars back into activities which support children and/or local charities.

I am also an Associate Clinical Professor at Saint Louis University in the graduate program of orthodontics, teaching there 2 days each month. Finally, for the past 6 years, I have had the honor of serving as a National Examiner for the American Board of Orthodontics, the organization that offers board certification to university-trained orthodontists.

Q: What do you enjoy most about operating the practice?

A: The interaction that I have with people from throughout the community is especially gratifying. We have patients from all the surrounding towns, so I enjoy collecting and decorating the office with their school banners. I keep track of my patients and their diverse accomplishments by posting highlighted newspaper clippings on our community bulletin board.

Over 20 percent of my patients are adults, so I make sure that the office environment appeals to them, too. I've enjoyed the challenge of their more difficult cosmetic cases, especially since those often involve working on a team with other professionals. As we continue to grow our practice, I'm hoping to attract more adults who are ready to get the smile they've always wanted.

What is your motto?

A: Our Foley Orthodontics motto is "Beautiful Smiles, Beautiful Lives." Research has shown that people with attractive, healthy smiles get better jobs and are more confident, leading to healthy relationships. I know my patients may someday forget my name but it makes me happy to know that their smiles will provide them with a benefit for years to come.

Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young?

A: Yes and No. I always knew I had the patience and clarity of thought to teach, which is why I started out as a chemistry teacher. Coaching all these years has been a natural extension of that skill. Then my younger brother started down the career path to orthodontics and I became intrigued.

I guess what surprised me was discovering that orthodontists teach every day. As an outgoing person, it has been fun to visit and have some laughs as I explain things to my patients and their parents. So working with the new residents each year down in St. Louis is just icing on the cake.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

A: Only the Chicago Cubs!

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