Patients are honored with a day of fun and treats each year at Damron Dental Care, and this year’s Patient Appreciation Picnic will be more special than ever. The Bartlett family dentistry practice is celebrating its 15th anniversary from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, April 6.
Guests will be treated to ice cream sundaes, banana splits, more food, giveaways and door prizes. The event is expected to attract about 200 patients and will be at his office, which is at 2798 Bartlett Blvd. Special picnic attractions vary by year, from air-brushed hats to a popular dunk booth.
Dr. Giles Damron graduated from The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Dentistry on a Navy scholarship and then served in the U.S. Navy for three years – one year in a general-practice residency at the Naval Station Great Lakes Hospital and two years on an aircraft carrier. He originally planned to go into practice in middle Tennessee but decided on Bartlett instead. He opened his Bartlett practice on Jan. 4, 2004.
The term “family dentistry” indicates that Damron provides comprehensive care for the whole family, including more specialized procedures such as cosmetic dentistry, implants, orthodontics, Invisalign and bridges. (The one exception is impacted wisdom teeth, which he refers to oral surgeons, who can provide sedation.)
He said he’s a continual student, and he usually exceeds 100 hours of continuing education credits each year, bringing the latest knowledge to his practice. But Damron also said he knows his own limitations and refers patients if they need more specialized care.
He said his patients range from wiggly four-year-olds to locals in their late 90s, and their needs for dental care and dental education vary. He serves his varied patient base with the help of three full-time and two part-time employees.
“You see all aspects of dentistry here,” he said. “I treat everything.”
It pleases him to develop long-term professional relationships with his patients, such as a recent high-school graduate he’s been treating since kindergarten. He calls his patients after they have a procedure to check on them and also rings them on their birthdays.
“They’re not just a patient,” he said. “They’re part of our family.”
He is constantly accepting new patients and will make same-day appointments for patients who are in pain. Damron takes time with each patient, he said, and if someone’s dental care is taking more time than usual he makes a point of stepping into the waiting room to notify anyone waiting about the delay.
For patients who are afraid of dental work, Damon works to help them feel more comfortable, telling them they’re not alone and that treatment is worth continuing despite their uneasiness.
“They’re like everybody else who comes through the door,” he said. “Nobody likes to have work done.”
He recalled getting a filling from a colleague a couple of months ago, and he was reminded that even a dentist can feel anxious.
“It was fine at the end, but nobody likes to come see us,” Damron said.
He also offers headphones for music, access to Netflix for patients who want a distraction and traditional options like the relaxing effects of nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) to make treatment less stressful.
“God’s blessed me with gentle hands, so they rarely have any issues,” he said. “With the kids I make a joke with them that if they feel more than a pinch they get to slug me in the arm. And in 20 years, nobody’s had to slug me in the arm, so it’s been a good 15 years here in Bartlett.”
He advises reluctant patients that it’s never too late to start and to take it one step at a time. “If it’s been a while it may take a little while to get you back where you need to be. But our goal is to basically give you good oral health as well as where you not hurting, where you can chew efficiently. And so it’s the overall health.”
Damron noted that periodontal disease has been linked to cardiovascular problems and other systemic health issues.
When asked if there are any current dental trends patients should be aware of, he mentioned charcoal toothpastes. Touted as powerful tooth whiteners, these products are very abrasive and can damage both gums and teeth. He advises that people ask their dentist before trying this option. Also look for titanium dioxide or silica (sand) as other abrasives to avoid, especially when brushing back-and-forth.
“If you use it a lot, it’s just like brushing with sandpaper,” Damron said.