Interview with Dr. Katie Klein

Tell me about your background.

I am originally from Rhode Island, and graduated from the 7-year accelerated dental program at Villanova University and the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. During dental school, I received an Air Force Health Professions Scholarship and served as a general dentist in the Air Force for three years.  During this time, I completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency Program and discovered that my true passion is treating orthodontic patients.  I matched at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and had the privilege of learning from some of the most incredible orthodontic faculty and residents who have become lifelong mentors and friends. 

I absolutely love being an orthodontist, and feel incredibly fortunate to be part of such a fulfilling profession where I can positively impact a patient’s overall health, well-being and confidence.      

What inspired you to work as the orthodontist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)? It’s fascinating because this is not a traditional career path for most orthodontists.

After graduating from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, my husband and I wanted to move back to New England to be close to family.  I considered buying a private practice or working as an associate, but when I discovered my current job through the AAO Practice Opportunities website, it sounded like an exciting professional opportunity.  I had a strong background in surgical orthodontics from my residency training, and knew about the fantastic reputation of the surgeons at MGH led by Dr. Leonard Kaban and Dr. Maria Troulis.  My position has grown and developed into an exciting combination of clinical practice, teaching, and research — it has been an incredible learning experience. 

What is a day in the life like as an orthodontist in an orthognathic surgical team setting?

My job is demanding, but also uniquely rewarding.  It is a privilege to work with other colleagues who are experts in their specialties to help our patients achieve the best possible surgical outcome.  We often approach cases differently, but I am always impressed by the collaborative nature of our group as we work towards an individualized surgical plan for each patient. 

Approximately 35-40% of my patients are complex surgical cases. Many of these patients have struggled with a challenging malocclusion for a long time, and it is often an emotional experience to help them achieve the functional bite they have long desired.  That incredible moment when an orthognathic patient sees themselves in the mirror for the first time without braces or clear aligners after surgery…is the absolute BEST!  I can’t help but tear up every time!  So many of these patients struggle in a variety of ways due to their malocclusions, and I feel incredibly blessed to be in a position to help and be part of their life story. 

You are also very active in NESO and the AAO. How did you get started in organized dentistry?

When I moved to Boston, I realized that I had my dream job but very few professional friends in the area.  Getting involved in organized dentistry gave me the opportunity to meet other orthodontists and create a network of friends. I first started on the Communications Committee and then chaired the New and Younger Members Committee for the 2015 NESO Annual Meeting in Providence.  After that, I was asked to be the Scientific Chair for the 2016 NESO Annual Meeting in New York and in 2017, was thrilled to be selected as a Delegate for NESO.   

I keep saying yes to these volunteer opportunities because I’m having fun!  I get the chance to work with incredibly smart and dedicated colleagues and am able learn more about the work the AAO is doing to help both individual orthodontists and our profession.  I like being able to influence the future of our organization, and appreciate feeling that my voice representing NESO is heard at all levels of leadership.  I believe that it is critical that as orthodontists we collaboratively work together for the betterment of our field, and volunteering in leadership is a tangible way to give back to the profession that I love.

Tell me about your family and interests outside of work?

My husband and I met when I was a 2nd year dental student at Penn, and we have been happily married for the past 13 years.  We have three beautiful, energetic and happy children.  We just need to teach them to sleep past 7 am!  Mike and I love spending time with our children and especially enjoy skiing, beach/lake days and family adventures exploring New England.  I have the bad habit of staying up too late to read if a book is good, and love socializing with friends.  I just started to play tennis, and it has been fun and totally humbling!

Katherine P. Klein, DMD, MS is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and a faculty member in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM), Boston.  Dr. Klein is the Co-Director of the Orthognathic Surgical Team at MGH as well as a member of the Cleft Lip and Palate Team at MGH and Shriners Hospital for Children. She is the Course Director of the Surgical Orthodontics Course for 2nd year orthodontic residents at HSDM.  Dr. Klein is a Board Member of the Massachusetts Association of Orthodontists, and serves on the Executive Board of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Orthodontic Alumni Association.  She was appointed as a Delegate to the AAO representing the Northeastern Society of Orthodontists (NESO) and serves on the AAO Task Force for Women in Orthodontics.  Dr. Klein was recently honored by the Massachusetts Dental Society as a recipient of the “Ten Under 10” award; and in 2017 and 2018 was voted by colleagues to be a “Best of Boston” orthodontist.