The story of how Dr. Carrie Thangamani and her surgeon husband came to love living—and in her case working—in Hinsdale will likely bring a smile of recognition to many people in our community of family- and achievement-oriented professionals.
The two met while students at the University of Notre Dame. Both grew up in small towns and imagined someday settling back into the rhythms of a simple life after she completed her orthodontic residency at UIC and he completed surgical training at Northwestern.
Yet the longer they stayed in Chicago, the more they fell in love with the city. Through both residencies—a yearlong fellowship in Boston for him and four years as an associate in an orthodontics practice for her—the metro area became home and the western suburbs were calling.
“Everything aligned. My husband began speaking with a practice based in Downers Grove and a female orthodontist in Hinsdale was retiring, so her practice became available. I was seven-and-a-half months pregnant when I bought the practice, and we moved here 10 days before my daughter was born,” says Dr. Thangamani.
CHT Orthodontics opened in March 2011. Since then, they’ve welcomed a second child, remodeled the office, and settled into a different version of small-town life.
“We’re full-fledged Hinsdaleans now. I find it really rewarding to see patients and their families both in and out of the practice—it’s a fun attribute of living and working here.”
Dr. Thangamani and her team at CHT have an elevated approach to orthodontics that has helped the business grow and thrive. “We’ve been building the practice based on doing great work. We want to achieve great results in a boutique atmosphere, which means knowing everyone by name and providing great attention to detail.”
Dr. Thangamani seeks out team members who are engaged and bring a warm, friendly energy to the office. “We take what we do very seriously, but we do it in a fun way.” That includes offering different contests for the kids while they’re in treatment to keep them engaged. “They know that if they do well, there is a reward for that. It keeps the kids having fun,” she says.
For those who shudder when remembering their own trips to the orthodontist, Dr. Thangamani is happy to share the good news regarding advancements that have been made in recent years. “First and foremost, appliances are less bulky, there is new technology in the way wires are tightened, and the whole experience is more comfortable than it once was.”
She also speaks of new choices in appliances, such as Invisalign, which also have a strong appeal to adults who are looking to straighten their teeth. Twenty percent of orthodontics patients are adults, and the number of adult patients at CHT has been growing steadily since opening. Orthodontists are specifically trained in tooth movement and facial development. “We know the limits of movements in both children and adults and can formulate a plan accordingly,” says Dr. Thangamani.
This also makes them highly skilled in judging the best times to treat each patient.
As recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists, Dr. Thangamani encourages an initial orthodontic evaluation when a child is seven or eight, but reminds us that most children are not ready for treatment at that time.
The office takes a technology-savvy approach to scheduling and communication. “We’re a fully digital practice, everything we do is digital,” Dr. Thangamani says.
The advanced technology coexists with a traditional approach to community building. “We really enjoy supporting the local community—whether it’s a patient going on a mission trip or supporting a local sports team—we try to have the office involved in the local community and its organizations.”
The community is surely smiling in gratitude, and those smiles are newly straightened and truly happy.
CHT Orthodontics is located at 111 S. Lincoln Street, Suite 300, in Hinsdale. To learn more, visit chtortho.com or call 630-323-1201.
— Michelle Crowe // Photography by Joel Lerner