When showing off their sparkling smiles, many of those living in and around Chickamauga have one person to thank: Doug Graydon, DDS.
For 42 years, Dr. Graydon has been a family dentist in this northwest Georgia town with a population of about 3,000.
Dentistry is a practice that “starts as a science and transitions into an art,” according to Graydon, and is something he describes as “ a perfect fit for me, as everything we do is focused on making things better for people.”
Born in 1947, Graydon grew up in Little Rock, Ark., and earned an undergraduate degree from nearby Hendrix College. From there he went on to graduate in 1972 from the University of Tennessee dental school.
Upon moving to Chickamauga, an historic town that prides itself on resembling “Mayberry,” he practiced dentistry with Tony Scott for five years. After another five years partnered with Jim Bolton, he decided to go it alone.
Since making that decision, Graydon’s office — located in a building marked with a large trade sign depicting a tooth that extends over the main street’s sidewalk — has served Chickamaugans. In some cases, the dentist said that has meant his seeing three generations of the same family.
“I’ve been here for about 30 years as a sole practice,” he said. “Every day I’ve awakened has been rewarding and challenging.”
A reception to celebrate Doug Graydon DDS’s retirement will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, at the Chickamauga Public Library which is located at 306 Cove Road (directly across the street from Gordon Lee High School).
During his career, Graydon said he has reimplanted teeth that have been knocked out and assisted in forensic investigations. But preventive care perhaps is perhaps the most important part of his practice, not just for dental but for the overall health of his patients.
Visiting students in schools — rather than only seeing them in an emergency situation — makes visiting the dentist less frightening and familiarizes youngsters with the benefits of preventive care.
“Early preventive care leads to fewer problems in their future,” he said. “My mature patients are a pleasure. Later in life, people can appreciate having good teeth.”
Now that he — and his practice — have matured, Graydon has retired and handed over his practice to Dr. Caroline Brown.
This Sunday afternoon, Jan. 31, a reception to recognize Graydon for his 42 years of making children and adults smile, and to introduce Brown to the community, will be held at the Chickamauga Public Library.
Brown, a native of Vermilion, Ohio, and 2005 graduate of the Ohio State University dental school, and her family recently relocated to the region.
“We were looking toward the South,” said Brown, whose husband Dusty, a behavioral specialist, is originally from Trion.
Following about a two-year search, the couple brought their 8- and 10-year-old sons from Williamsburg, Ky., to an area they already were familiar with and wanted to call home.
“This was a good opportunity,” she said.
With his patients in capable hands, Graydon said he now can devote more time to what he enjoys outside of work — hiking, riding motorcycles off-road and entertaining his grandson.
Already he has gone backpacking, hiking with his dogs and plans on becoming a regular at the Chattanooga Hiking Club’s weekly outings.
But Graydon does not plan to spend every hour of his retirement enjoying the area’s many outdoor recreational opportunities.
Rather than maintaining a private practice and keeping regular hours, Graydon said he can devote more energy to working with Remote Area Medical, an all-volunteer organization that provides medical care through mobile clinic events in underserved, isolated, or impoverished communities.
“I will still do some dentistry,” he said.