I chose to become a dentist because, for one, I knew I wanted to do something that was involved where I could help people. I grew up in a family and my dad was a dentist, two of his brothers were dentists, and so I felt like it was kind of a calling, like a family – “This is what I'm supposed to do.” I think when it all boiled down to it, it's the love of people that drew me into it. I didn't want to be stuck behind a computer, I wanted to be somewhere where I could actually do real good work.
I went to dental school in the University of Tennessee at Memphis. I was proud to go there because when I was there, it was ranked at one of highest-end, top dental schools in the nation for being prepared and giving graduates the best of the knowledge at the time. As with all things, you can only learn so much in the four years that we were there, and so I made a commitment to go above and beyond and really learn more and more and more each year that I've been practicing. And I have accomplished that by learning many different procedures, whether it was going to learn and get my license to help fearful patients by being able to sedate them, and get their work done in a very comfortable environment. Also, learning how to do Invisalign, which is great, because I can change people's smiles. I can give them the smile they've always wanted without having to put anything artificial in there.
I'm very active in achieving a strong level of continued education. The Tennessee dental society requires us to get 40 hours every two years, and I end up getting about 100 hours every year. And so, I go more than double what I'm supposed to, because I'm able to give that back to patients in the form of the newest, latest, and greatest of what dentistry has to offer.
So, the most rewarding thing about being a dentist is we get to change someone's potential path. So, if someone comes in and they don't know how to properly take care of their teeth and we can teach them how to do that, we know that as they grow older and their teeth age, we can make a massive impact on their quality of life in the future that might not have happened.
Dr. Robert J. Gallien is a native of Martin, a small town in west Tennessee. He has been around dentistry his whole life, since his father and two uncles are all dentists. He received a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Tennessee at Martin, then obtained his DDS degree from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry in Memphis. Upon graduation, he received a Dental Materials Award.
While living in Memphis, he met his wife, Beth, a native of southwest Virginia and also a dentist until the birth of their third child. The couple moved to Chattanooga because they were attracted to its small-town charm, scenic beauty, wonderful schools, and, most important, proximity to their families.
Before opening his own practice in 2005, Dr. Gallien worked at an office where he was trained in sedation dentistry and got the limited sedation license he’s maintained ever since. He also trained at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, with courses in full-mouth reconstruction, cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, and TMJ treatment. He has received extensive training in Invisalign, an orthodontic treatment he has been offering since 2005, and in CEREC, a technology used to create same-day dental restorations that he has been using since 2007.
His love of learning and staying up-to-date on the latest treatment techniques leads him to take about 80 hours of continuing education every year, four times more than the coursework required by the state of Tennessee. In 2014 he received his Fellowship the Academy of General Dentistry. He has completed a mini residency in implant dentistry and is a Fellow and Master in the International Academy of Dental Implantology. He will receive his Diplomate status, the highest level that can be obtained, in 2019. In addition, he has received training from Fortune Management, the Scheduling Institute, and the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT).
In addition to his own education, Dr. Gallien encourages members of his team to maintain the highest levels of training. His favorite part of the job is changing patients’ lives. He doesn’t just want to improve their smiles, but also to change their perspectives on oral health and create a desire to take care of their teeth and gums. This puts them on a different trajectory in life with their health!
Dr. Gallien and Beth have three children, Luke, Ava, and Grant. They also have a goldendoodle named Ace. In Dr. Gallien’s free time, he enjoys spending time at their cabin with his family, riding four-wheelers, fishing, and splitting wood, among other outdoor activities. The family also enjoys outdoorsy vacations, to the beach in the summer and snowboarding in the winter. He and Beth spend a lot of time at the ball field, the basketball court, and cross country races watching their children compete. His other hobbies include photography, mountain biking, golfing, lifting weights, and exercising.