2711 N. Duke Street   Durham, NC 27704


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Duke Oral Health

Dr. Martha Ann Keels grew up in the foothills of North Carolina in Morganton. Every time she goes home to visit family, she gets sentimental about the view of Grandfather Mountain and Blowing Rock.  She graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Chemistry. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry with a DDS, she continued on to complete specialty training at UNC with a certificate in Pediatric Dentistry.  During her residency, Dr. Keels received the prestigious Dentist-Scientist Award from the NIH, which allowed her to complete a PhD in epidemiology – with a focus on the causes of craniofacial birth defects.


One of her professional dreams in dental school was to start a pediatric dental program at Duke Children’s Hospital.  After volunteering in hospital for 4 years, she was the first pediatric dentist to get privileges at Duke in 1986.  Over the past 30 years, her clinical practice has been affiliated with Duke Children’s Hospital through a variety of different business models.  As of 2016, Duke Street Pediatric Dentistry is affiliated with Duke Health System via a new entity Duke Oral Health, bringing together Duke Affiliated Specialists in Pediatric Dentistry, Orthodontics, Oral Surgery, Prosthodontics and Endodontics to provide comprehensive dental care for our patients.


Academic Appointments:


• Associate Consulting Professor, Department of Surgery, Duke University

• Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Duke University

• Adjunct Associate Professor in Pediatric Dentistry, UNC-Chapel Hill, School of Dentistry


Clinical Privileges for patient care and OR cases:


• Duke Children’s Hospital

  -  Dr. Keels provides consults for children who have special medical needs ~ congenital heart disease, stem cell transplantation,

      blood disorders, autism, Down syndrome, seizure disorders

  -  Duke Craniofacial Team

• NC Specialty Hospital

• UNC-CH, Ambulatory Surgical Center


National Awards


• OKU Honor Dental Fraternity

• NIH, Dentist-Scientist Award

• Fellow, American College of Dentists

• Fellow, International College of Dentists

• American Academy of Pediatrics, Oral Health Award


Special Creations


• Keels-Coffield Dental Acid Erosion Scale

  -  to  help dentist across the country to document erosion of tooth structure by acids in the diet or stomach acids

• Keels-Quinonez Pediatric Periodontal Matrix

  -  to help dentists across the country to identify the medical diseases associated with gingival bleeding or tooth mobility


Funded Research


• NIH/NIDCR Multi-center Study of Childhood Dental Caries ~ co-investigator

  -  Hoping to identify factors that predict which children may develop tooth decay

• NIH Undiagnosed Disease Network ~ team member

  -  Hoping to help find a definitive diagnosis for children with findings that do not fit a known disease




• Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry

• Fellow, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

• Member, American Association of Dental Research

• Member, ORCA, European Organization for Caries Research

• Member, North Carolina Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

• Member, North Carolina Dental Society

• Member, Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry

• Member, American Dental Association

• Associate Member, American Academy of Pediatrics

• Member, Special Care Dentistry Association


Previous Leadership Roles:


• Chair, Section on Oral Health, American Academy of Pediatrics

• Member, Examination Committee for American Board of Pediatric Dentistry

• President, North Carolina Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

• Board of Directors, Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry

• Member, Council of Clinical Affairs, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

• Chair, Council of Scientific Affairs, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

• Member, Editorial Board, Pediatric Dentistry

• President, Durham-Orange Dental Society

• Chair, Teddy Bear Ball, Duke Children’s Hospital


Organizations and Events Duke Street Pediatric Dentistry Supports


• Founder, Kappa 5K for Camp Kaleidoscope, Duke Children’s Summer Camp for children with special needs

• Corporate Sponsor, Museum of Life and Science

• Sponsor, Great Strides for Cystic Fibrosis

• Sponsor, Amelia’s Penguins for Brain Tumor Research

• Sponsor, Florence Forth for Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance

• Sponsor, Dream Big ~ Martin Luther King Book Harvest

• Sponsor, Exploring Medicine in Honduras

• Sponsor, Pediatric Surgery for Nicaraguan Children

• Sponsor, Nina’s Dance School Fundraiser for Duke Children’s

• Sponsor, Durham Public Schools

• Donor and Volunteer, Lemur Center, Duke University


Academic Hobbies


• Pre-Dental Health Advisor for Duke University Undergraduates

• Faculty Advisor, UNC Pediatric Dental Residents Master Research Projects

• Teaching Faculty, UNC Graduate Pediatric Dental Residency


Personal Stuff


Dr. Keels loves living in the triangle area, especially with the transformation of Durham into an awesome town for yummy food, Durham Bulls, DPAC, Museum of Life and Science and Durham Farmers Market.


In her free time, she enjoys being with her family. Her husband, Dr. Dennis Clements is a pediatrician and a professor in global health.  Dr. Keels and Dr. Clements love helping Nurse Peggy’s Clinica Esperanza provide medical and dental care for the children in Roatan, Honduras.  They have also help the Roatan Marine Park preserve the coral reef and marine life off the coast of Roatan for future generations to enjoy.


They have a passion for watching ACC sports.  In college, they both played sports ~ Dr. Clements played tennis for Johns Hopkins and Dr. Keels played Club Lacrosse and Golf at Duke. When they aren’t busy with patients and family (4 grandchildren and counting), they love weekend walks in Duke Forest with their chocolate lab. They also enjoy gardening, golfing, swimming, snow skiing (if knees are working) and scuba diving, In the evenings, they can be found on their computers reading journals trying to keep up with the best science in the care of children or reading the latest best seller for fun.


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