One Smile at a Time
For three decades, Pickering & Allen Orthodontics have become a household name for excellence in orthodontic care
Orthodontic care can provide a life changing outcome for children and adults of all ages. “Often people are embarrassed of their teeth, so much so that they rarely smile,” says Dr. Tyler Allen of Pickering & Allen Orthodontics. “Very few things are more rewarding than witnessing the transformation that occurs through orthodontic care.”
Dr. Jim Pickering opened the practice in 1995, joined by Dr. Allen in 2017 and Dr. Reem Hallal in 2021. The trio strives to set the standard in exceptional orthodontic care, but they do so in the hopes of bettering the community they serve.
Since its founding, this practice has discovered many ways to give back, whether that is lecturing to residents at the UT Medical Center in the Departments of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and General Dentistry, serving on the Knox County Children’s Special Services Team, or giving of their time to be on the Cleft Lip and Palate Team at ETCH.
Inside their practice, this trio holds dear the stories of the patients they’ve helped. Dr. Pickering remembers one young man who came to his orthodontics practice with the worst bite he had ever seen. “He was getting ridiculed at school and in his neighborhood to the point he didn’t want to leave his room,” he recalls. “Within the first six months his bite changed, his teeth started to take shape and something special start-ed happening to him inside.”
When finished, the patient had gone from a kid who wouldn’t make eye con-tact to one excited about conversation. “A couple years later, he sent us a picture of him as Homecoming King,” Dr. Pickering says. “The smile plastered across his face could not be wiped away.”
Dr. Hallal recalls working with a mom whose family couldn’t afford orthodontic care when she was a child. “She had come in for an evaluation for her child and stated that this had always been a dream of hers, but she financially couldn’t make it work,” she says. “I told her that I would be happy to treat her, and (we would work out the finances). When we completed her treatment, she seemed like a completely different person. Her confidence and demeanor were much improved. She thanked me profusely on the day we took her braces off and cried be-cause she felt this was the first time she had really done something for herself in so long.
In 2019, the practice began working with UT’s Department of Athletics to provide orthodontic care to student athletes, including providing custom mouth guards to protect their teeth on the gridiron and basketball court. Last year, the practice also pledged to provide free orthodontic care to several local children in a project they called the “Big Orange Smile Giveaway.”
Three local youth organizations provided a list of kids who could benefit from their services, and the practice enlisted the help of some UT Vols to select the winners. In the end, the children were not only given a personalized autographed UT football, but also free orthodontic care and the smile they had always dreamed of. It’s experiences like all of these that motivate Dr. Pickering, Dr. Allen and Dr. Hallal to provide the best orthodontic care possible.
“Changing the city, one smile at a time means more that just straight teeth,” Dr. Pickering says. “Of course we are in the business of creating beautiful smiles and great bites, but you can also find us walking in the Race Against Cancer, out at a Smokies game or in our local communities having fun, helping out, giving and receiving smiles from the heart.”