For more than 50 years, Dr. Glenn Jones has practiced dentistry at 528 Hartsville Pike in Gallatin. He opened his practice in February 1965 in the building behind Perkins Drug Store.
Glenn, 82, who grew up in the Long Hollow Pike area just outside of Gallatin, said that he has always had the desire to help people.
He attended Tennessee Tech for his pre-dental schooling, and then went to the dental college at the University of Tennessee in Memphis.
“When I was getting ready to get out of the service, I talked to Tommy Perkins and he was willing to build an office for my practice for me to rent from him,” he said.
He would later purchase the office with partners in 1975, but six years ago the building was sold, and he now pays rent.
Glenn has been both delighted and inspired by the interest in dentistry expressed by his granddaughter - now Dr. Lacy Jones, 28.
Lacy graduated from UT-Memphis in 2018 and is now a partner in the practice.
“I’d ask questions about dentistry, but he never pushed me,” Lacy said. “In high school, I had the chance to shadow him to see if I liked it, and I loved it. I knew there was nothing else I wanted to do.”
She said that her grandfather has always been a prominent figure in her life, and she is grateful for all he has taught her.
“You must have patience with patients,” Glenn said, with Lacy nodding to affirm.
There have been many differences in the walk of dentistry for him and his granddaughter.
“The biggest changes have been equipment, technology, and new techniques,” Glenn said.
Both appreciate the skills they see in each other and the support they give one another as a resource.
“He is really good at taking impressions, and he’s a wonderful resource for problem solving,” Lacy said.
They both feel blessed to be working together.
“What is most important is building trust and relationships with patience,” Glenn said. “You go the extra mile to help bring down any stigma associated with dentistry. One of the ways you do that is by getting to know your patients.”
Lacy agrees that going the extra mile and taking your time with a patient is critical to building trust.
“I feel comfortable with her interacting with patients,” Glenn said. “She is a tremendous operator and does such beautiful work.”
Lacy credits her assistant Monica Reynolds with helping her remember details about her patients.
“It really is a group effort,” she said “You want patients and everyone you work with to feel welcome and at home.”
That group effort includes support staff.
Marcia Ring of Gallatin is a third generation support member for the practice.
“I know a lot of the patients, and I’ve lived here all my life,” she said. “I love my job. It’s small-town, family-oriented. I work a four-day week with Fridays off, which gives me time with my grandbaby.”
Susan Brawner, mother of two, has worked as an assistant since Jan. 3 of this year.
“The employees and patients here are very easy-going,” she said.
Monica Reynolds, mother of two, has been with the practice for four years and works with Lacy.
“I love it when I see the patients looking in the mirror and their face lights up after the work is done,” she said.
The bottom line for Glenn is the confidence he feels in passing the practice along to his granddaughter, Lacy.
“I knew that from the day she first started,” he said.
Lacy said that her opportunity for shadowing her grandfather made a huge difference in affirming her passion for dentistry.
“You need to love it, and you need to know what you’re getting into. If you don’t love it, you might take short cuts,” he said.
Lacy is impressed by her grandfather’s integrity and energy.
“He is such a workhorse at age 82,” she said.
Glenn noted that there have been many changes in dentistry.
“For me the biggest change is technology,” he said. “Like going from an old slow drill to air-motor drills makes the process faster and more comfortable for patients. In the Marines there was a pedal drill that someone pumped while you’re working.”
Lacy cited the new electric hand-piece drills as being much quieter than the rotor drills.
The two shared some of the challenges they see for dental health.
“The roughest for me to work with is cancer,” Glenn said, citing the practice of dipping snuff as especially dangerous as a source for cancer of the mouth.
Lacy also cited coffee, tea, sodas, and acidic drinks as being counterproductive in maintaining good oral health.
Both noted that bacteria building up in the mouth can travel to the heart, creating cardiovascular dental infections that can become fatal.
“The best thing a person can do is to use dental floss,” Glenn said. “If you had to give up flossing or your toothbrush, give up the toothbrush.”
One of the advances both said is the use of implants for those who have loss a tooth or more.
As for additional piece of advice on improving dental health, Glenn offered a common sense approach that many ignore.
“See your dentist twice a year,” he said. “You can get in big trouble if you don’t go to get your teeth checked and cleaned.”
Lacy quickly added the need for patients to stay away from sugar as much as possible.
“Use sugarless lozenges,” she said.
In comparing notes on each other’s practice and patient care, both were complimentary.
“She is a great operator,” Glenn said. “I was never that good.”
His granddaughter quickly begged to differ.
“I am fortunate to have such a good role model,” she said.
There is no official date for any hand-off, and staff members have noted that Glenn Jones will always be a part of the practice.
Dental practice for Dr. Lacy Jones and Dr. H. Glenn Jones is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday. To make an appointment, call 615-452-6765.