Black History Month: Longtime Georgia dentist shows it’s never too late to follow your dreams
A favorite quote of many is “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” Dr. Edward Green proved this, and then some. After working as a teacher, chemist and chemical engineer, Dr. Green decided he wanted to work with people as well as his hands and entered dental school in his mid-30s, despite having a stable career, a wife and two young children.
More than three decades later, Dr. Green said his only regret is not heading to dental school earlier in life.
“I enjoy this profession,” Dr. Green said. “It’s the perfect fit for me.”
Dr. Green was one of seven African-Americans in his dental school class at Medical College of Georgia (now the Dental College of Georgia – Augusta University). After graduating, Dr. Green returned to his hometown of Albany, Georgia, and built a practice from the ground up. Dr. Green said he didn’t feel like he experienced discrimination as an African-American dentist, but he is pleased to see that the complexion of dentistry is beginning to more closely resemble society’s complexion. He also takes pride in the fact that his diverse staff treats patients from all walks of life.
Since beginning his career in dentistry, Dr. Green has been an active member of the profession. He has served in the ADA House of Delegates, as chair of its Council on Communications, and currently serves on the Board of the ADA Foundation. Most notably, Dr. Green was the first African-American president of the Georgia Dental Association (GDA). In recognition of a lifetime of contributions to the GDA, Dr. Green received its Award of Merit, the association’s highest honor, in 2017.
When talking with Dr. Green, one does get the impression that everything he’s accomplished pales in comparison to what he’s most proud of: his marriage of 51 years to his wife Lorraine, who has managed the practice since its inception, and his daughter, Erica, who is also a dentist. They have practiced together for the past 12 years.
“We work together every day,” Dr. Green said. “It’s nice to have another dentist to practice with, and it being Erica makes it all the more rewarding. And having Lorraine at the business helm of the practice with her incredible practice management skills is like icing on the cake.”
So how much longer will Dr. Green practice? He said dentistry is what he loves and he has no plans to step away anytime soon, before joking, “Unless my daughter fires me!” In the meantime, he’s someone dentists of all backgrounds can emulate.