Smarties, this week we’re stirring it up a bit and we’re introducing you to a Smarty D-A-D! I couldn’t think of a better dad to introduce you to than Grant Coleman. Grant is a good bud of mine but most importantly an excellent orthodontist at Hull & Coleman Orthodontics.
I met Grant eight years ago when his wife was flying an orange and blue Gator flag high with pride in our neighborhood. I quickly learned that this was a mixed house – Grant a die-hard Alabama fan and Katie (his wife) a die-hard Gator fan. I knew we’d be fast friends and we’ve enjoyed that rivalry since day 1. Unfortunately, the stats have not gone in my orange and blue favor lately!
Grant did my Invisalign recently and I am so excited with the outcome. I can’t believe that I waited my whole life to get braces. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. My kids watched me go through the process and I taught them by example that braces are a privilege and when their time comes, they will hopefully take good care of their braces. Grant is passionate about his work, he loves working with kids (he’s a big kid himself:-) and treats his patients as part of his family. I say with conviction that all four of my children are in line to have Grant as their orthodontist and I’m looking forward to the experience. I know they will be in great hands!
Smarties, meet Grant Coleman, our Smarty Dad this week!
Grant’s Smarty Dad Stats:
Dad of: Thomas (7), James (5) & Caroline (2)
Years married: 11 1/2 (Dec 2001) to Katie
Years in Charlotte: 10
Hood: South Charlotte
Hometown: Elba, AL
Occupation: Orthodontist at Hull & Coleman Orthodontics
Tell us how you chose orthodontics as a career.
When I was in college, I had originally planned on a career in medicine. I thought I wanted to be a surgeon, but after working one summer in an outpatient surgical center I realized that medicine was not supposed to be my profession. I went into limbo for several months, and I asked God to help me know what I was supposed to do with my life. I knew I wanted to have a job that would allow me time to be with my family, but I had no idea what that might be. Then one night over Christmas break I was getting ready for bed, and all of a sudden my childhood orthodontist popped into my head. I said, “That’s it!” and never looked back. I came to realize that orthodontics is a beautiful blend of art and science, which is right up my alley.
What is your favorite thing about working with children?
I love that I get to meet so many great kids that are tons of fun and have awesome personalities. I get to meet so many nice, interesting young people, and because of the age at which they go through orthodontic treatment, I really get to watch them grow up and mature. It’s really rewarding to be a part of my patients’ growing up experience.
H&C does the coolest contests in town? Tell us your latest and greatest!
We’re just finishing up our summer “Postcard Palooza” contest, where we ask our patients to send us postcards from their summer vacation. We have categories for Farthest Away, Funniest, Most Unique, and then a randomly drawn winner. We’re giving away 4 iPad Minis as prizes, so it’s gotten pretty competitive. So far we’ve been mailed some interesting entries–a painted coconut, a miniature surfboard, a box of saltwater taffy…people are going all out to try to win!
We usually try to mix it up, so every other summer we do our “Take Your Doctor on Vacation” contest, where our patients all get life-sized cutouts of our heads and take them with them on their summer travels. Then they send us pictures of everything they’ve taken us with them to do, and it’s absolutely hillarious! Our head cutouts have been in weddings, water sports, hang gliding, you name it. It’s a blast.
Tell us how you fold your community into your practice?
First, we’re so blessed to be a part of the lives of so many young people in the communities around our office. We literally have patients all over south Charlotte and northern Union County, and as we learn from our patients everything they’re involved in, it makes us feel like we’re a part of everything that’s going on in the areas around us. Second, we’re fortunate to have to opportunity to support local schools as a way to give back. We currently support almost 20 different schools, both public and private, as a way to show our support for our patients that are kind enought to let us care for them.
When should we take our child to the orthodontist for the first time?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids have their first orthodontic screening exam at age 7. That’s when the first front and back permanent teeth are usually coming in, and you can get a ton of information about a child’s developing mouth at that age just from a few digital photographs and a simple panoramic x-ray. A lot of people think that seems too young, but we’re not screening kids then because we want to get them started on treatment right away–I actually tell parents that I’m trying to help them avoid us for as long as possible. We screen that young to check for normal–are all the teeth present? Any missing? Extra teeth (it happens!)? Are they coming in in the right order and at the right time? Every once in a while we catch something that actually needs to be fixed at that age, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Usually, early screening and monitoring of growth and development helps us make future treatment easier, and it helps us time the start of treatment at exactly the right time for each patient.
How important is it to wear a retainer and for how long?
Unfortunately, one of the frustrating things about teeth is that they always have a tendency to move, whether a person is treated orthodontically or not. So, after completing orthodontic treatment, it’s extremely important for patients to wear retainers in order to maintain their result. People are often surprised when we tell them that retainer wear is for life, but without it normal aging takes over and teeth shift. Years after treatment, though, wearing a retainer 2-4 nights a week is usually enough to keep your teeth straight.
How do you feel about Teen Invisalign?
Invisalign Teen is a good product that can definitely help straighten teeth in certain situations, but braces are still the gold standard for orthodontic alignment. People are interested in Invisalign because it’s clear and removable, which are nice advantages, but unfortunately certain tooth movements are much more difficult with Invisalign than with traditional braces. Invisalign also requires amazing cooperation from the patient, because if the aligners aren’t in your mouth, your teeth aren’t moving. When considering cost of treatment, Invisalign charges the orthodontist a significant lab fee for the use and manufacture of their product, so it is usually more expensive than traditional braces.
Now for the Dad questions …
What is your favorite thing about being a dad?
I’m constantly amazed at how crazy I am about my kids, and how they have absolutely no idea just how much I love them. I really enjoy that I have the opportunity to try to communicate that love to them, to let them know that they are valued, cherished, and delighted in. I love that I get the chance to help build them up by telling them that they are unconditionally loved just for who they are.
First thing that pops into your head when I say “dad”?
The man that is supposed to support, love, build up, and train his children and help them become adults. My dad used to say to me that his hope was that he would get my brother and I to the point that we could take care of ourselves if he weren’t around any more, so I guess that I hope I can do the same for my children.
Behavioral trait you hope your children don’t inherit from you?
I hope they are able to have great balance during their school years between serious studies and fun. I was a bit too serious when I was in school and think I probably missed out on some fun stuff, so I hope I can help them strike the right balance between the two.
Describe the perfect date night with you and Katie.
Nothing fancy–just having the chance to go out to dinner and have some uninterrupted conversation with each other. It’s so hard to just have time to talk sometimes in a busy house, so just a nice meal and the chance to talk is a treat.
Favorite thing to do with your family.
We’ve started a family tradition of going to the NC mountains every year on the first weekend after Thanksgiving to cut down our own Christmas tree at Big Ridge Tree Farm. We usually go with some extended family and rent a house for the weekend. On Saturday we all go to a tree farm, pick out a nice frasier fir, and cut it down ourselves with a hand saw. Tie it to the car, and then it’s off to the Candy Barrel in Valle Crucis to grab some good candy!
Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
I love that there is so much to do right here, and that we can quickly get to the mountains or the beach for a weekend away if we want to. We’ve got all the perks of a big city without it feeling like a congested nightmare…I love the “neighborhoody” feel of Charlotte.
Golf, whenever I get the chance to play. It takes my mind off of any troubles and give me a few hours to just relax.
Grant G. Coleman, DMD, MS
Diplomate, American Board of Orthodontics
Drs. Hull & Coleman, P.A.
Excellent Results from Expert Orthodontists