Meet Athens newest orthodontist, Dr. Matt Gibson! Dr. Gibson grew up in Harvest/Madison and is proud to be from the area. He attended college at Auburn University(War Eagle!) and dental school at University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he graduated first in his class. His experience in general and cosmetic dentistry gives him a unique perspective on overall dental health and smile esthetics with an emphasis on the interconnected aspects of orthodontics and general dentistry. Outside of the office, Dr. Gibson enjoys hunting, playing basketball, spending time with his family and attending Madison Church of Christ.
When did you first know you wanted to be an orthodontist?
During my entire second year of dental school and the first half of the third year, I had intentions of applying to ortho residency immediately after graduation. I was interested in orthodontics from early on in my dental education. However, when it came time to apply to specialty programs, I just couldn’t make a commitment on which specialty I had the most interest in. I ended up pursuing further post-graduate training in general dentistry and practicing as a general dentist for several years before a desire to pursue a specialty started to come back to me. When it did, orthodontics was really the only specialty that I could see myself doing.
What do you love most about your job?
I love helping uncover the best natural smile we can for our patients and seeing the transformation and the new confidence that it brings to people. I love that orthodontics is a puzzle of sorts that is individual to each person. I also love that people are generally happy to come see me as an orthodontist. With orthodontics, people are usually happy to be there and happy with what we are helping them accomplish, and that is energizing.
Did you have braces? How old were you? What do you remember about going to the orthodontist?
I was in late high school before I started braces and even wore them some of my first year of college. I don’t have bad memories of my orthodontic treatment, but I did have a unique experience. Knowing what I know now, I would have wanted my personal orthodontic care handled much differently than it was. I was fortunate to have no significant smile concerns, but it was recommended to me and my parents by an orthodontist that I have jaw surgery in conjunction with orthodontic treatment after I was done growing because of an anterior open bite. However, my general dentist convinced me and my parents that there was a “better way”, and I ended up having my orthodontics completed by a general dentist who believed in some fringe treatment philosophies. There were no detrimental effects from this, but there was also no real improvement in my bite and treatment was largely ineffective. This has definitely given me a respect for the importance of a well informed diagnosis and a very thorough informed consent about pros and cons of treatment as well as the value of treatment by a specialist for certain types of care.
How long have you lived in the area or what made you choose Athens?
I am a Harvest/Madison native and aside from college (Auburn University), dental school (University of Alabama at Birmingham), and general dental residency (VA Hospital in San Antonio, TX), I have lived in Harvest or Madison my entire life. I didn’t go to Athens schools, but the entire Athens/Harvest/Madison area is home to me.
What is your family’s favorite community event to attend?
Definitely being involved with our church. Between regular weekly services and classes and random fun extra events, there is always something going on and it is a great way to spend time with a group of positive, loving people.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in Athens?
Village Pizza downtown!!
What is something you are proud of?
I am proud of my amazing family. I have a wonderful wife and the 3 most incredible kids I could ask for.
What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
Anything that allows me to spend time with my family and friends! Hunting, fishing, playing basketball, watching Auburn athletics, and eating good southern food are all things at the top of my list.
If you had a day to spend in Alabama with no financial limits – what would your day look like?
I don’t know that I would do anything different than I would if the question was the opposite! I would want to be spending quality time with family and friends in the outdoors enjoying God’s creation. Money wouldn’t make a lick of difference.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I have heard of free time, but I’m not sure that I have experienced much of it… Three kids and a busy orthodontic practice keep me busy and fulfilled!!