Dr Nelson Oral Surgeon MidlothianDr. Nelson, respected COFS Senior Partner who is held in the highest regard by the RVA dental community, is also the husband of high school sweetheart, Kaki, “Dad” to his three grown children and their spouses, and proud “Gramps” to his five young grandchildren. Dr. Nelson grew up in Denver, CO but a job change for his father during his high school years brought his family to Virginia. He went on to attend Hampden Sydney College where he played quarterback for their football team.

Sports are still something Dr. Nelson enjoys: he has accompanied a group of golfing friends to a number of iconic links in Scotland, Ireland, and England over the years; he has been involved in a local golf competition called the “River Cup” for 25 years and is now captain of one of the two teams; he and Kaki, are avid recreational bicyclists and have special memories of their bike tours through Europe, most recently in the Burgundy, France region. And although you can take the boy out of Colorado, it’s more difficult to take the ski slopes out of the boy! If he had to choose another vocation, he says with a smile that he would love to be on the ski patrol at Alta, Utah! In his spare time, if he’s not out actively pursuing the outdoor activities he loves, you may find him enjoying golf or football on TV.

Dr. James F. Nelson is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, certified since 1982.

Education and Credentials

Dr. Nelson’s undergraduate degree is from Hampden Sydney in 1973 where he majored in chemistry and graduated Cum Laude. He was awarded his D.D.S. degree from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College of Virginia in 1977 and subsequently his Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery certification in 1981. Later that same year he joined RVA’s first oral surgery practice (whose roots date back to 1956), now known as Commonwealth Oral & Facial Surgery. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, certified since 1982.

Professional Affiliations

Dr Nelson Oral Surgeon MidlothianDr. Nelson is a member of numerous professional organizations. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Richmond Dental Society, has been an Alternate Delegate of the Virginia Dental Association, Delegate from Virginia to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the President of the Richmond Dental Study Club, and the President of the Virginia Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. He is also a member of the American Dental Association and the International Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Community/Volunteer Work

He is a long-time member of Reveille United Methodist Church. He donates his professional services through the Virginia Dental Association’s Donated Dental Service.


Dr. Nelson has been honored with a fellowship from The Pierre Fauchard Academy, an international dentistry society that recognizes outstanding accomplishments in the field of dentistry as well as service to the community. He has also been recognized as one of Richmond’s Top Oral Surgeons by both Richmond Magazine and Virginia Living Magazine.

Fun Facts

Favorite food: Dr. Nelson is a pescatarian, “one who eats all kinds of foods, including seafood, but no meat.” His favorite dish is cioppino, a stew of fish, shellfish, tomatoes and seasonings—preferably one he makes himself! His wife, Kaki, tells us he is a great cook, who especially likes to tackle a challenging recipe. She continues to explain that he enjoys shopping for unusual ingredients at ethnic grocery stores, particularly Asian and Mexican. Kaki describes cooking as her husband’s way of relieving stress…”he does lots of chopping!” she jokes. He’s also renowned for his homemade smoked salmon; always a hit!

Favorite app: Navigation apps, especially Waze

Reading: Dr. Nelson particularly enjoys nonfiction and his favorite genre is history. However, currently, his favorite book is The Rose Pistola Cookbook by Reed Hearon & Peggy Knickerbocker.

Favorite quote: “As you walk down the fairway of life, you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.”
– Ben Hogan

His staff describes him: Patient, compassionate, sweet, kind, gentle, soft spoken. Not easily frustrated. Quiet demeanor, willing to help staff members. One of the most genuine people I have ever met. Likes his day to be planned out and organized in order to give the best possible care.