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Patterson discusses why she went into dentistry

The Daily News’ weekly Neighbors series features one person from LaGrange and the surrounding area.

This week we spoke with Dr. Angela Patterson from Children’s Dentistry of West Georgia. When Patterson isn’t playing the “Sugarbug Sheriff” at her practice, she enjoys spending time with her family.

LaGrange Daily News: Where are you from originally?

Patterson: I am from over toward Warm Springs, and I went to Woodberry High School. I had a family, and then divorced and such, and I decided that I had to go back to school to support me and my girls. At first I was going to be a dental hygienist, and so I started shadowing a friend of mine who was a dental hygienist. Then I went and was a dental assistant for the dentist that was my dentist, and I really liked what he was doing. I decided that I wanted to be the dentist. … [After college] I came back to LaGrange. I had gotten married during that time, and my husband was here. My kids had all ended up back here, while I was finishing up out there, and I had a new granddaughter while I was finishing up residency, so this is where I was going to be at.

LDN: What do you do in your spare time?

Patterson: I like to float the river, or whatever my kids like doing. We’ll sometimes go to Florida or — have you ever been to Daufuskie Island? One of my daughters went to school at Armstrong in Savannah.

She went there, and she had an externship with sea turtles. So, sometimes we’ll go to Daufuskie Island, and the grandkids have gotten to see the sea turtles there. My time away from work is family and working in my yard and that kind of thing. I love taking care of the kids here.

LDN: What do you enjoy about working in LaGrange?

Patterson: The people I work with, I love. I love the pediatricians and dentists and the kids.

The kids are it. My favorite thing about my job is even if a kid is upset, some of them when they are done, they will get up and hug your neck, and they’ll say thank you anyway. You know they were scared, and I understand that. … Low, slow and calm.

Just keeping the person calm and helping them through something that is difficult for them, and then not hating going to the dentist, so that they can get things fixed while they are small, so that it is not hard later for them as they grow to be adults. Teaching them not to have sticky things. Just good diet habits that will help them not get cavities and not need crowns and everything else. A lot of my job is education.

LDN: Where is the most beautiful place in Troup County?

Patterson: I like downtown. When I drive through there, I like the way the statue is there and the water fountain and sometimes they change the colors. The downtown area is one of the prettiest places. … And West Point Lake, I love going out there.

I used to drive out there before I went to school. I worked on the other side of town, and my practice was over there for a while too, and I would — sometimes at lunch — drive out to the lake to just look out at the water. It was just calming. I would carry just a sack lunch.

LDN: Is there any business that you would like to see come to Troup County?

Patterson: I would love an Academy [Sports and Outdoors] because I like outdoor stuff.

When it is time to go buy clothes, I always tend to go to the activity things instead of going to nicer clothes, so having an Academy in town would be awesome. We do have one in Newnan, so that might be kind of close for them.

‘Neighbors’ is a weekly series by the Daily News that highlights community members. To nominate a person to be featured, call 706-884-7311.