Get to know Dr. Richard Raymond and why he's a GDA member
This column features members talking about their path to dentistry and the value they find in membership. This month, we hear from Dr. Richard Raymond in the Northern District, pictured with his wife, Andreina Izarra.
Don't forget to renew your GDA membership this year to participate in the benefits Dr. Raymond describes.
Q: Why did you decide to become a dentist?
I was strongly influenced by the example my dad set for me. He is a small-town dentist in rural northern Maine, right on the Canadian border. I admired his generosity with his time and service to the hardworking people there. Working in a small town, he knew everyone very well and was a respected member of his local community. I've always wanted to have that same type of relationship with the patients in my community. I can't imagine a more satisfying job!
Q: Without saying "I am an endodontist,” what would you say if someone asked what you do?
I help people by treating the infection deep inside their teeth in order to save them. Sometimes patients come to me in significant pain and being able to provide them with relief is very satisfying.
Q: Why did you join the Georgia Dental Association?
I was a member of the ADA/GDA in my first two years of practice, but left Georgia in 2014 to be with my family up in Maine for almost two years before returning to Georgia. I was an ADA member up in Maine as well, but renewed my membership once I got back to Atlanta.
Q: What was your first event?
Because I had expressed an interest in organized dentistry, Katherine Torbush, GDA’s Member Services Manager, put me in touch with then president Dr. Evis Babo, who invited me to attend an executive council meeting prior to the annual GDA meeting in Amelia Island. I was impressed with the great number of active members who attended the meeting and were involved in organized dentistry. It is an honor to practice dentistry in a community that cares so much about the well-being of its profession.
Q: What is your most memorable GDA experience?
I remember fondly the Georgia Mission of Mercy event in Norcross back in the summer of 2013. I did a bunch of root canals that weekend and they even brought in microscopes that I was able to use during treatment. The event was very well-coordinated and it was an impressive two days of volunteer dentistry for the region's underserved.
I also greatly enjoyed this summer's Northern District Gala at Park Tavern. I met a great number of wonderful people who all shared the same passion and enthusiasm for organized dentistry and serving their communities.
Q: Why should a dental student join GDA?
Joining GDA early in your career helps you to get involved in your local district. There are many things to be done and the personal satisfaction you will get from helping your profession and your community is priceless. You will also get a chance to meet a lot of really wonderful people and become a valued member of your local dental community.
Q: Why is organized dentistry important to you?
It is important for the health of our profession that as many dentists as possible, especially young dentists, are active in their local districts and the GDA. There are many issues facing dentistry today and being active in organized dentistry gives dentists a voice in the decisions affecting dentistry. Without strong advocates for our profession, it can be left prone to outside interests and changes that are detrimental to its honor and integrity as well as our core mission of caring for our patients.
Q: What advice would you give to people aspiring to go to dental school to become a dentist?
Shadow as many dentists or specialists in your community as you can, and spend a lot of time observing them work as well as and picking their brains. This will give you a better sense of the day-to-day routine of being a dentist and whether it's the right fit for you.