For Dr. Keith Gilmore of the Creekside Dental Center in Dickson, practice makes perfect smiles.
The Tennessee Academy of General Dentistry recently selected Gilmore as its 2020 Dentist Of The Year.
Born and raised in Vanleer, Gilmore, 59, is a graduate of Dickson High School and the University of Tennessee at Martin.
Since 1986 when he opened his dental practice in Dickson, Gilmore has served the dentistry industry in many areas as Tennessee AGD board member, and as the organization’s legislative liaison and MasterTrack program director. He recently completed his term as Tennessee AGD vice president and started his duties as president-elect of the Tennessee AGD.
Gilmore said that the trophy goes back to the organization after one year, but he keeps the honorary plaque.
“I recognized a lot of names of previous winners on the trophy, many I’ve learned from.” he said. “The trophy is a bit like the Stanley Cup for hockey.”
Gilmore said that his office was closed from March until early May because of COVID-19 precautions.
“There were no trace backs to dental offices,” he said. “We were prepared. We had learned from the past with AIDS about universal practices and precautions to put into place.”
Gilmore said that one of the reasons for becoming a member of the state association is its core value of continuing education.
“My dad was a teacher, and his grandmother was a teacher A great-great-grandfather was a teacher as well as my great-aunt. So, education is part of the family. I wanted to keep it up. The organization does the legislative part,” he said.
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of more than 40,000 general dentists dedicated to providing quality dental care and oral health education to the public.
“I knew I wanted to go into healthcare of some kind,” he said. “When I got to college I never really thought about dentistry; then I got to talking with friends and I thought, yeah, that might be something that I want to do. I had a great-aunt that was a dental assistant back in the 1950s and on up until when I was a kid. And I’d also had an injury and spent a great deal of time in the dental chair with I was 12 or 13 years old.”
He said that many of the challenges facing his patients now have not changed over the years.
“You still have regular decay but not as much as there used to be,” he said. “With kids, you try to do the education and get them to do basic hygiene and do prevention. In fact, dentistry is one of the few professions that works to try to put itself out of business because we try to do stuff so that people don’t have to have stuff repaired. We try to get them to do the fluoride, brush the teeth, use the floss and take care of everything.”
“Obviously, it’s never going to be 100 percent. You’re still going to have accidents. Things will happen. That part has been consistent.”
Knoxville dentist and President of the national AGD Gary Woodall said he is impressed by Gilmore’s commitment.
“He’s got a great passion for dentistry and protecting the public and the profession,” said Woodall. “He’s very active with the board of dentistry and making sure things are done right and the public’s protected. He’s a good dentist and a great guy. He’s helped a lot of dentists achieve higher levels of education of dentistry through the Master Track program that he’s been the director of for a long time.”