Meet Patrick O. Kunkel, DDS, MSD
“My passion for orthodontics stems from my interests in health, biology, and engineering. Ever since I was young, I have enjoyed working with my hands to build, improve, and repair anything I can! My interest in health and biology came from father, who was an orthopedic surgeon. I can remember being young and going to see my dad perform surgeries. I fell in love with the complexities of the human body and the ways in which it can be improved and repaired. More than anything, I was moved by the ability to improve the lives of others. All these interests melded perfectly with orthodontics, where I can engineer the movements of teeth, facial bones and jaws to create beautiful results that are transformative and life changing.
Orthodontics is important for several reasons. First, developing a proper and healthy bite helps to stabilize the jaw joints and produces well-functioning and efficient mastication – two things that are essential to our health and quality of life. Second, by putting the teeth in the correct position, we are stabilizing the teeth in healthy bone and gums to ultimately protect all these components of the jaws. Last, but certainly not least, orthodontics provides us the ability to create BEAUTIFUL smiles and enhance facial features. In fact, I believe that the biggest health improvement and increase in quality of life that comes from orthodontics is the increase in self-esteem and confidence that we can give our patients. We see it, time and time again, that this confidence spills over into all facets of our patients’ lives to bring them happiness, catalyze other positive changes, and ultimately become more successful. After all, orthodontics isn’t just about creating straight smiles – it’s about changing lives for the better!”
Dr. Kunkel grew up in Carmel and attended Brebeuf Jesuit for high school, where he met his now wife, Mary. He then attended Indiana University in Bloomington where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology. Graduating with Distinction, he was also inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honors Society. From there, he spent a year in Vail, Colorado working as Clinical Research Intern at the Steadman Philippon Research Institute before returning to Indianapolis to attend the Indiana University School Dental School. During his studies there, he served as Director of Operations for the IUSD Outreach Clinic and went to Port Margot, Haiti on an International Service Learning trip to treat the local Haitians. Dr. Kunkel graduated from the Dental School with High Distinction and was inducted into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Honors Society. He then went on to further his dental training at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, where he received his Certificate of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics and earned his Master of Science in Dentistry. Dr. Kunkel soon after passed his boards to become a Board Certified Orthodontist.* Upon finishing his dental training, he and his wife moved to Salt Lake City, Utah to work and enjoy the outdoor recreation that the area offered. While there, they were blessed with two kids, Theodore (now 4) and Rosemary (now 2). They spent their free time exploring the wilderness, hiking, camping, mountain biking, snowboarding, and everything between! Ultimately, they decided to move back to central Indiana to be closer to family and to serve the communities near which they were raised. Dr. Kunkel and his wife, Mary, just had baby #3, Jameson Patrick, on April 2nd!
Throughout Dr. Kunkel’s training, he has treated a wide variety of cases in patients of all ages. Dr. Kunkel has undergone extra training in treating patients with clear aligners, treating gummy smiles non-surgically with TAD’s, and utilizing lasers to contour soft tissues for enhanced esthetics. Dr. Kunkel is a proud member of the American Association of Orthodontics, American Board of Orthodontics, American Dental Association, and the Indiana Dental Association.
* *ABO Board Certification is a voluntary credential that represents an orthodontist's personal and public commitment to the standards of specialty practice and lifelong learning. The ABO Certification process requires the completion of peer-developed, externally validated written and clinical examinations. A Board Certified Orthodontist has reached this level of achievement by pursuing additional voluntary education and ongoing self- assessment. Board Certification is confirmation of an orthodontist's personal commitment to providing lifelong quality patient care. The American Board of Orthodontics is the only orthodontic specialty board recognized by the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists.