No smile left behind

Christmas decorations and the smell of fresh cookies and hot cocoa travel through the office of Hudson Orthodontics on Arden Avenue. Before-and-after photos of young kids wearing smiles hang on the walls.

The office namesake, Dr. Skip Hudson, has been working with Glendale Healthy Kids since 1993 to provide orthodontia to low-income families in the city of Glendale. Work facilitated through Glendale Healthy Kids is done at no cost to patients.

“He is a quiet soldier,” said Sharon Townsend, the executive director of the nonprofit. “He’s a wonderful human being as well as a great doctor.”

In 1993, the Glendale Memorial Hospital Foundation forged a committee to judge the quality of care for kids from low-income families. The results led to the creation of Glendale Healthy Kids by three local hospitals, Glendale Memorial, Verdugo Hills and Glendale Adventist, as well as the city of Glendale and the Glendale Unified School District.

The foundation has over 250 volunteer doctors from general care to specialized fields including orthodontics. Every year, Glendale Healthy Kids facilitates services for hundreds of local children for dental care and other types of healthcare at little to no cost.

Hudson’s father opened up an orthodontist business in 1931. When he was 12-years-old, a young Skip Hudson would help his father bend retainer wire in the office. That’s when he knew he wanted to work on teeth for a living.

“We create beautiful smiles and build relationships. That’s why I love orthodontics so much,” said Hudson.

Jerome Javier goes to school after his shifts at a Auntie Em's pretzel shop, and helps to support his 15-year-old daughter. After waiting about a year to get the work through Glendale Healthy Kids, Jada got the work started shortly after she turned 14.

“The experience [at Dr. Hudson's office] will change my kid's life forever,” Javier said.

Although none of Hudson’s own seven children were interested in going into the orthodontics field, the office is family-oriented.

Kathy Dreher is Hudson’s office manager, and has been with the office since it opened She said employees tend to stay.

“There’s many of us that have been here for close to 30 years,” said Dreher.

After 50 years of business, Hudson Orthodontics moved to their current location. The office was originally downtown where the Unim building now sits. Hudson has worked on multiple generations including family and friends. Patients keep returning, even after their care is finished.

“Dr. Hudson goes the extra mile,” said Dreher. “He really wants to see people through their lifetime.”


Jonathan Williams is a freelance writer.


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